Secrets to passing you MOT Test...

March is one of the most common months for MOT tests, but the bad news is that around 40% of cars fail their MOT test first time round.*

However nearly half of all MOT failures could be avoided with a few simple checks that can be done at home, before taking your car to be tested. Take a look at the list below and discover the secrets to giving your car the best chance of passing first time.

Check your Tyres

Tread Depth: Tyre problems are responsible for about 1 in 10 MOT test fails*. Check the amount of tread depth remaining as the legal minimum is 1.6mm. It is recommended to fit new tyres well before that depth is reached. But as long as it’s not less your car will pass on tread depth.

Pressure: The tyre pressures should be correct in all tyres on your car. You can find details of the correct pressures in your vehicle handbook. Incorrect pressures over a long period of time will cause damage to your tyres which can be very dangerous. You can top up your tyre pressure at most filling stations for a small fee.

Damage: Visually inspect your tyres for any sign of damage. Make sure they don’t have cuts, bulges or other signs of serious damage. If you spot something – have the tyres checked before your MOT test.

Find out more about tyre safety and what makes tyres illegal in our helpful tyre safety section.

Seats and Seatbelts

Make sure all the seat belts in the car are in good working order. Pull them out to their full length to check for damage, and pull them sharply to test their function. The driver’s seat must move forwards and backwards and stay in a fixed position.


Check all bulbs are working before your MOT test. A blown or missing blub could be the difference between a pass and a fail. This is a simple task that is easy to do at home. Ask a friend or family member to check the brake lights for you as you press the brake pedal and remember to check the brake light strip if you have one. Replacement bulbs are cheap enough and you can change them yourself if you have your car handbook available.

The Driver’s View

The driver’s view of the road should be clear. This includes checks on windscreen wiper blades and mirrors.

If wiper blades are not working well or they show signs of damage, they should be replaced before the MOT test. It’s advised to replace wiper blades if they have been in use for over a year. Your screen wash reservoir should be topped up and working properly before going for your test too.

Take a good look at the windscreen and mirrors on your car. If the windscreen has any large chips in the driver’s field of view, this will result in failure. Any damage in this range should not be bigger than 40mm in size. Small stone chips are acceptable, but you should always have a chip filled in as soon as possible to prevent more damage. Check your mirror positioning and clarity.

Other Important Checks

Before taking your car for its MOT test, make sure the horn sounds loud and clear. If there are any problems you can then have this fixed before the test to avoid a failure.

You should tidy and clean your car inside and out before the test too as an MOT tester can refuse to accept a really dirty car. It makes their job much more difficult.

Don’t wait until the last minute to book your MOT test. You can submit your car for testing up to a month before the old certificate runs out. Make sure you give yourself enough time to resolve any problems before the test and remember the only exception for driving a car with no valid MOT is if you are on the way to the test centre and your car is already booked in for its test.

If you have any queries regarding the preparation of your car for its MOT test, call your nearest Setyres branch and our expert staff will be happy to help with any queries you have.

Alternatively book your MOT test now at your nearest Setyres branch.

*Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), the government body that oversees MOT testing.


Posted on: 24/02/2015

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