Don’t fail your MOT with these simple errors! Here are the bits you can check yourself

Is your car’s MOT test coming up? Whether it’s your motor’s first time or it’s a seasoned pro, make sure you take a look at these simple checks you can carry out yourself to help avoid the inconvenience of a retest.

MOT check

Is your annual MOT test approaching? Image credit: Minerva Studio/Thinkstock

Pre-MOT checklist: the basics

These simple issues could cause your vehicle to fail its MOT, make sure you follow this simple checklist to help guide your car away from an avoidable fail:

  • Windscreen wipers – Check that your car’s windscreen wipers are in good working condition with no tears or brittle rubber.
  • Lights – Make sure that all your car’s lights are in good working order. You’ll need to check brake lights, headlights, reverse lights and indicators. You can do this by parking in front of a wall and check out reflections if you’re on your own.
  • Tyres – You’ll need to check tyre tread and tyre pressure. Make sure the tread across the three central-quarters of your tyres meets the legal depth of at least 1.6mm. Double-check your tyre pressure as well, if you’re unsure, you can check the PSI at most petrol stations.
  • Fluid levels – Ensure that all your car’s fluids are topped up, this includes; screenwash, brake fluid and oil.
  • Horn – Give your horn a quick beep to check it works.
  • Number plate – If your registration plate cannot be read correctly, because of dirt or damage, your car will fail its MOT.

What areas of my car are inspected on an MOT?

During an MOT test, the following areas are checked:

  • Electrical equipment
  • Steering
  • Tyres
  • Suspension
  • Brakes
  • Seat belts (including mounts) and seats
  • Exhaust and emissions
  • Mirrors, wipers and windscreen
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VPN)

The test does not cover the condition of the engine, clutch or gearbox.

How much should I pay for my MOT test?

MOT test prices vary, depending on where you are in the country and what garage you use. However, there is a maximum amount your MOT test should cost and what you pay is down to the type of vehicle you own.

  • For cars with up to eight passenger seats, the maximum price is £54.85.
  • For standard motorcycles , the maximum price is £29.65.

Can I get a cheaper MOT?

If you want to try and save money on your MOT, you can use a council test centre. They’re generally cheaper than a lot of other MOT test centres and will offer you a fairer test.

To find your closest council-run MOT test centre and the essential information, click here. 

What if my car fails it’s MOT?

If your motor fails its MOT you will be given a refusal of an MOT test certificate from the test centre – the fail will also be recorded in the MOT database.

You can appeal the result if you believe it to be wrong, or you’ll need to get the required repairs completed so you can have it retested.

Can I still drive my car if it failed its MOT?

If your car failed but your MOT certificate is still valid, you can drive your vehicle away.

However, your vehicle will need to meet the minimum standards of roadworthiness at all times or you could be fined up to £2500.

If your MOT has expired, then you can only drive your car to:

  • Have the failed issues repaired
  • Take it to a pre-arranged MOT test appointment


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