How to prepare your car for MOT

by | Jan 26, 2023 | MOT

Almost every vehicle in the UK over three years of age is required by law to have an annual MOT test carried out to ensure it is safe to be driven on the roads. Your MOT test is a comprehensive check of all the key safety features, you can read more about what an MOT test involves in our previous blog; What is an MOT? Everything you need to know about your car’s MOT test.

Nobody wants the dreaded phone call from their local garage telling them that their car has failed its MOT so why not prepare your car for its MOT beforehand? There are a few easy but crucial things you can do yourself to help your car pass it’s MOT with flying colours. These can be carried out in a simple pre-MOT test to help you avoid MOT failure and the additional costs associated.

Your Pre-MOT checklist

Know your MOT date and get your car booked in just before or on this date every year.

An MOT fail or invalid MOT certificate will result in your car insurance being invalidated as well as being a fineable offence by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. You cannot book your car in more than a month in advance of its MOT test date, this is to ensure the MOT test date is preserved. Find out more about driving after your MOT has expired in our previous blog.

Filling Up Her Car

Top up your fuel

Your car will need to be run for a short while in order to test the exhaust emissions, ensure there is adequate fuel in the tank for your garage to carry out this essential test.

Check the levels of all fluids under your bonnet

Did you know your car can fail its MOT if there is no screen wash? Having a clear windscreen is essential for keeping you and other drivers safe on the road so ensure you have a full reservoir of screen wash, and your windscreen wipers are in good condition too.

Your car will also fail if the fluid levels under the bonnet (Engine oil, engine coolant and power steering solution, brake fluid) are not at least at the minimum level on their respective reservoirs. If you are unsure of what you need to top up each of these then do speak to one of our specialist team here at Peverell Garage.

Check your tyres

Your tyres need to have adequate tyre tread depth, tyre pressure and be free of cracks and bulges in order for your car to gain a valid MOT certificate. Our recent blog on how to check the tyres on the car can help you with this aspect of your pre MOT checks.

Check all your lights

Check all your lights

Your brake lights, dipped and main beam headlights, side lights, driving lights (if present), rear fog lights, reversing light(s) and indicator/ hazard lights all need to be in good working order for your car to pass its MOT test.

These are easy to check on your own or with a little help from a reflective surface or a friend or family member. Most bulbs are cheap and relatively easy to replace but do contact us at Peverell Garage if you need help getting a bulb replaced before your MOT so that we can get the correct part ordered in and ready for you. We might even be able to schedule this in alongside your MOT test to avoid multiple trips.

Check that there are no warning lights on your dashboard

Warning lights on your car dashboard are a sign of dangerous faults, so be sure to get any looked at as soon as possible – a car fails its MOT if it is brought in with warning lights on. You can also check your vehicle displays are working well at the same time as checking for warning lights.

Check your mirrors

All mirrors need to be securely fastened and show good visibility (free from cracks or other damage) or it will lead to a failed MOT.

Check the horn works properly

Many people will use their horn regularly, but do check that it is working, particularly if you don’t use it often.

Seatbelt Buckle

Check your seatbelts

Give your seat belts the once over; plugging them in and releasing them to ensure everything is working and remove anything that is in the way of these being checked by your MOT tester.

Keep an eye on your exhaust system

Particularly in diesel cars. Diesel cars with any signs of smoke coming from the exhaust system will fail their MOT and there will be higher scrutiny of diesel vehicles fitted with particulate filters. Any vehicle with continual smoke coming from the exhaust whilst it is idle will also automatically fail and require further investigation. Issues causing excessive smoke from the exhaust can be a major fault and therefore require investigation and fixing as soon as possible.

Does your car need to be clean for an MOT test?

Your car being clean is not a requirement for MOT in the same way that adequate levels of fuel and engine oil are but you need to make sure your number plate and lights are clear of any dirt to ensure good visibility.

Your local MOT test centre can also refuse to MOT your car if it is really dirty and full of rubbish inside, so although that’s not an MOT failure it is still an avoidable nuisance.

You can also check over the car’s bodywork better with a clean car, looking out for corrosion or rust or any sharp edges that could cause injury or further problems to vehicle safety.

What documents do you need to take to your MOT test?

Unless it is your car’s first MOT then you do not need to take anything with you to the MOT besides the car itself.

If it is your car’s first MOT, or your car has a new registration plate, then you will need to take the log book (also known as your VC5) with you.

Mechanic Under a Car

Peverell Garage – an MOT testing garage you can trust

If your car’s MOT is due to run out then book in with us, your local family run garage in Plymouth where our team of approved MOT testers can get to work on your car. You can use our online booking system or contact the garage if there is additional work that needs doing alongside your MOT test as we undertake all kinds of repairs as well as servicing too. Please note that our MOT bay has a height restriction of 7.5ft.

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