Home / News / 10 Checks to Save You From An MOT Test Fail

10 checks to save you from an MOT test fail

28th March 2024

Reduce the chances of your car failing its annual MOT with our checklist. According to recent Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) statistics from October to December 2023, over 19% of vehicles had failed the MOT test with no dangerous items. Most of those MOT test failures are minor issues that can be checked yourself. Our checklist covers everything you need to look at to ensure your car has its best chance of passing its annual MOT with flying colours. 

1. Are all your vehicle’s lights working? 

Thoroughly checking all lights can increase your car’s chances of passing its MOT test. You could enlist the help of a friend to check if all your car’s lights work, which includes: 

  • Front and rear headlights 
  • Number plate lights 
  • Rear fog light 
  • Rear brake lights 
  • Parking lights 
  • Front and side indicators 

2. Ensure the tow bar is undamaged and secure 

Does your car have a tow bar fitted to a caravan or trailer? The tow bar must be undamaged and be free from corrosion.  

3. Make sure the number plates are clean 

Before you take your vehicle for an MOT, you should ensure your vehicle’s number plates are cleaned. If you’ve not cleaned the plates for some time, wipe the plates down with a damp cloth, removing any build-up of dirt and grime.  

4. Your wheels and tyres must be legal 

Check all tyres and wheels on your vehicle for any signs of damage such as tears or bulges on the tyres’ sidewalls. Finally, don’t forget to check that your tyres are at the legal tyre tread depth. Our tyre safety section covers everything you need to know about tyre requirements to help you pass your MOT on the first attempt. 

5. Seats and seat belts should be undamaged 

Ensuring all seats and seatbelts are functioning can decide whether your car fails or passes the MOT. Pull the length of each seatbelt out and assess them for any visible damage. When checking the seats, the driver’s seat must be able to adjust backwards and forwards. 

6. The windscreen must be undamaged, and wipers must be effective 

A damaged windscreen is a common reason your car may fail its MOT. Have a thorough look for any chips or cracks. If your car’s windscreen has a crack or chip bigger than a centimetre in the driver’s field of vision or four centimetres anywhere else, it’s an automatic failure. You should also check the front and rear wipers to ensure they’re in good condition. 

7. Is your screen wash topped up? 

Have you not topped up your car’s screen wash? Regularly check your screen wash level and don’t over dilute it in colder weather. Most new vehicles can tell you if your screen wash level is low, thus giving you a signal to fill it up. 

8. Is the horn working? 

Can you hear your horn when you press it on your steering wheel? If not, it must be repaired or replaced before your car’s MOT test.  

9. Do you have sufficient fuel and engine oil levels? 

You should ensure that you have plenty of fuel and have topped up your engine oil, as emissions will be inspected as part of your vehicle’s MOT. During the test, your car must run for the inspector to measure the emissions your car gives off. 

10. Are your dashboard instruments working? 

When turning the ignition on your vehicle, you notice several warning lights on your dashboard. This could signal a fault, which reduces the chances of your vehicle passing the MOT. We recommend booking a service with us, where one of our specialists will check the dashboard instruments to ensure any issues are immediately rectified. 

We hope these checks ensure that your vehicle passes its annual MOT. Keep on top of your MOT renewal by entering your car’s registration number into our registration checker. It will tell you when your MOT is up for renewal. Book your MOT online at your local Merityre branch today.