Before you drop it off, it’s always a good idea to check your vehicle over quickly to avoid a re-test fee.
Headlights and indicators
Check that all of your car’s lights function properly – headlights, sidelights, rear lights, hazard lights and indicators.
Press the brake pedal and ask a friend to check that both rear brake lights come on – including any supplementary brake strip light. Alternatively, carefully reverse up to a reflective surface (window, wall or garage door) and look behind to see for yourself.
Make sure that the number plate is clean and legible – even a quick wipe with a cloth can make a difference. The font and spacing of letters must also comply with legal requirements to be passed by the MOT station.
Wheels and tyres
Check that wheels and tyres are undamaged. The minimum legal tyre tread depth is 1.6mm and any tyres with less than this will be marked as an MOT ‘fail’ (though it’s recommended that tyres are changed when tread reaches 3mm).
Seats and seatbelts
The driver’s seat should adjust forwards and backwards and all seatbelts should be in good, working order. Test movement of the seat and inspect the seatbelt’s full length for damage. Tug sharply on all seatbelts to check that they lock as they’re supposed to if you have to brake severely.
Check the view out of the front of the car– any windscreen glass damage larger than 40mm will cause a ‘fail’, as will any damage wider than 10mm in the ‘swept’ area of the screen in front of the driver.
Make sure your wipers are able to keep your windscreen clean – any tears or holes in the wiper rubber can be an MOT fail.
Top up the washer bottle before taking the car in for a test – something as simple as an empty container can cause an MOT fail.
Give a short blast of the horn. If it is not working that will bean MOT fail.
Fuel and engine oil
Make sure your car is filled with enough fuel and engine oil – you can be turned away from the MOT without suitable levels of either, both of which are required by the dealership when running the car to test its emissions levels.