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Preparing your car for its MOT - advice from Hazlemere MOTs

23rd June 2014

You don't have to be a good DIY car mechanic to prepare your vehicle for its MOT test. We asked our staff at the Merityre Specialists branch Hazlemere MOTs in Buckinghamshire, to give us some simple advice on at home car preparation.

The most important MOT factor to consider is when is your MOT due? If you're unsure dig out your paperwork and give yourself plenty of time to prepare. An MOT test can be completed up to 1 month before the due date meaning you can avoid last minute panics. Around one third of cars tested each year fail their MOT test. The majority of these are due to small defects, some of which can be fixed simply at home, others can be addressed by your Merityre mechanic before the MOT test is carried out.

Testers are not allowed to correct any faults whilst testing the car, so picking up on these vital flaws in good time before the test is started, could be a major factor in whether the car passes or not...


Check your wipers are working properly. They should not be damaged or worn and should clear the screen efficiently. Wipers can be easily and cheaply replaced at home, or fitted by your Merityre mechanic if agreed before your MOT test is started. Along with the wipers, make sure your screen wash container is topped up adequately.

Also check your windscreen for chips or cracks. Cracks or chips should not be larger than 1cm in the area in front of the driver, or the area that the wipers will clear. In the area outside of the wipers the damage cannot be over 4cm. If you notice any damage to your windscreen it’s always best to get it sorted immediately before the damage gets worse and impairs your vision. Many insurance policies allow windscreen replacement without affecting your policy.


Check the tyre pressure of all four tyres. This can be done very cheaply and quickly at most fuel stations. You can find the right pressure in your car manual or on a sticker which is usually placed on the inside of the driver's door, or on the inside of the fuel cap. Over or under inflated tyres can drastically affect handling and fuel consumption of your vehicle.

Along with the pressure check the tread. There should be at least 1.6mm of tread across three quarters of the tyre for them to be deemed legal. Check for any cuts, lumps or bulges in the tyre, if you do find damage; arrange to have your tyres checked by a Merityre Specialist before the MOT test is carried out. If you have alloy wheels which expose the wheel nuts, ensure none are missing as this could result in a fail. This image (right) from TyreSafe shows centre wear on a tyre - although the edges might have adequate tread depth it's clear by closer inspection that the centre tread on the tyre is seriously worn.

Use this helpful video from TyreSafe to check the tread depth on your tyres


Make sure all the lights on the car are working. Remember to check the rear registration light too. If some of the lights are dim or not working have them replaced before the MOT test is started. Bulbs can be purchased and replaced very cheaply and quickly.

Seatbelts and Doors

Check that the front doors open from both outside and inside the vehicle. Both front doors will be checked and they must both be fully secure when closed.

All seatbelts in the car must be in good condition and working correctly. Pull each seatbelt out the full length, just to check there is no hidden damage to them. Then check the plugs themselves, ensure none of the casings have come off and if you find any are loose, secure them before the MOT test has begun.

Number Plates

The number plates on your car should be securely fastened and clearly readable. No letters or numbers should be obscured and they should all be the correct size and spaced correctly. If you have a personalised number plate check DVLA standards as to what is acceptable and what is not.


Take a good look around your car for any jagged or broken exposed edges. Any potential hazards which could pose a threat to other road users or pedestrians can result in a test fail. If you have any concerns, let your Merityre Specialist mechanic know before your MOT test, just to be safe. Any damage can then be inspected and potentially repaired before the test is undertaken.


Make sure you have checked the oil level in the car and there is fuel in your vehicle too. The fuel cap must lock, if yours doesn't you can purchase one from most fuel stations very cheaply. Do you have all the keys [doors, boot, ignition, fuel cap] and does the horn work?

Merityre MOTs and Exhaust specialists offer a complete MOT testing service at our branch in Hazlemere. Merityre Hazlemere MOTs is ideally situated to serve High Wycombe, Beaconsfield, Tylers Green, Great Missenden, Penn and Naphill. Contact the centre with any MOT queries you have here or click here to book your MOT online now.