Preparing Your Car For Its MOT Test

Sam Bisby

By: Sam Bisby

So your car’s over three years old and it’s time to book your MOT, you probably already know its a legal requirement if your using your car on public roads but have you ever thought about the pre-test checks and preparation you should do before your car goes to the garage?

So what is a MOT test?

A Ministry Of Transport test (MOT) is a legal requirement for all cars over three years old, it’s designed to ensure your cars kept in a safe and roadworthy condition and must be carried out every 12 months in order to use your car on public roads. You can put your car in for it’s MOT up to 30 days before it’s due to expire which would effectively mean you’d be covered for 13 months. Between October 2010 and September 2011 a staggering 24.5 million MOT’s we’re carried out in the UK, with 1 in 5 failing their first test.

Here’s some more interesting MOT facts

  • Around 24.5 million MOT’s we’re carried out
  • One in 5 cars failed their first test
  • 1 in 38 Cars MOT’d had been clocked
  • Faulty lights accounted for 164,837 fails making it the most common cause of failure
  • The Suzuki Splash had the highest pass rate for a family car

Preparing your car for the test

Even if your a novice when it comes to car maintenance there are lots of things you can do yourself in order to ensure your cars ready for it’s MOT test and it could save you a small fortune in repairs and ensure your cars not off the road for unnecessary periods of time.

Most MOT failures are down to the simplest things such as blow bulbs and faulty windscreen wipers which can easily be fixed or replaced pre-test. Here’s some of the most common failures and how to ensure your car passes with flying colours.


Windscreen wipers are relatively inexpensive yet there one of the most common reasons for MOT test failure, they must be in working order with no signs of damage or wear and tear. If damaged you’d be wise to buy new ones prior to your MOT test, you can buy and fit new ones yourself or have them fitted at most garages. You should also ensure the water container is full and check the windscreen for chips and cracks, if you have a crack on the drivers side of the windscreen it cannot be bigger than 1cm, in all other areas covered by the wipers the crack cannot be over 4cm.


You should make sure all tyres are inflated to the correct pressure which should be documented in your manual, if not you can always contact your cars manufacturer. Your tyres should also be in good condition with a tread of at least 1.6mm across three-quarters of the tyre. Make sure there are no slits, bulges or chunks of tyre missing.


Making sure your cars lights are working is probably an obvious check but be shore to check them all including the headlights, brake lights, fog lights, indicators and rear number plate lights and make shore there are no chips or cracks in the lens and/or casing.


Ensure all seatbelts are in good working condition, any tear’s or rips may cause an MOT fail.

Number Plates

Number plates must be securely fastened to the car with all letters and numbers clearly readable, they should be in the correct font with the correct size and spacing.

In conclusion

If you pick up on any issues whilst carrying out the above checks you should ensure these are fixed prior to putting your car in for it’s test as the MOT inspector cannot replace any parts or correct any faults during the test and if your car fails you may have to pay for a re-test.

So if your MOT’s due we’d highly recommend following the suggestions provided in order to ensure your car’s fully prepared for the test. To cut out the hassle and save time you can book an MOT online at

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