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How to Pass your MOT Guide + Video

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MOT looming? Run through these quick checks to give your car a helping hand before its test.

Pass Your MOT

Obviously you can't examine your car to the same standard as an actual garage, but working through the following checks will help you to identify some of the possible problem areas before taking your car for its MOT.


Car cleaning products
Brake fluid (if required)
New wiper blades (if required)
Top up your screenwash (if it's getting a bit low)
Bulbs (if required)
Tyre tread depth gauge

Step 1 - Cleaning & Handbrake

Clean the car thoroughly inside and out. If it looks well cared-for, the tester may be more likely to pass a borderline component. Check that the handbrake works correctly. If you have to pull the lever a long way up (too many clicks), the cable may need adjustment.

Step 2 - Check Brake Fluid

Check the brake fluid level. Press the brake pedal and make sure that it doesn't feel spongy. If it does, there may be air in the hydraulic system which must be removed by bleeding.

Step 3 - Shocks & Screen

'Bounce' each corner of the car in turn. If the car doesn't settle after 1 or 2 bounces, the shock absorbers are worn out. Check for excessive play at the steering wheel, indicating wear in the linkage. There must be no cracks or chips in the windscreen within the driver's field of view.

Step 4 - Check Mirrors

Check that your wing mirror and rear-view mirror are in good condition, and that it is possible to adjust them. If they are broken or cracked, replace the mirror glass or the entire mirror.

Step 5 - Things Not To Miss

Check the horn, the windscreen washers and wiper blades. Renew worn wiper blades and top up your screenwash if necessary.

Step 6 - External Lights

Check the operation of all external lights. Your number plates and all lights must be clean and undamaged. If any of your lights are not working, replace the bulbs or check the wiring for loose connections.

Step 7 - Checking Your Tyres

Check your car tyres for damage. Use a tread depth gauge to check the amount of tread remaining. The legal minimum is 1.6mm, although it's better to fit new tyres well before that.

Step 8 - Final Checks

Check the exhaust by starting the engine and holding a clean cloth over the tailpipe. You will be able to hear if the system is leaking. Repair or renew as necessary.
Check the seat belts for fraying, cuts or other signs of damage. The front seats must be securely attached and the back-rests must lock in the upright position.

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