4 things to check before having an MOT

Checking your vehicle over for faults that you can spot yourself is one way to raise the chances of your car passing its MOT.

For drivers, sending their car for an MOT is often tense. Sometimes the result can be that they have missed a problem that results in having to send their vehicle for a retest.

This expense, coupled with the cost of repairs to get the car to pass, is undesirable, which is why drivers ought to do as much as they can to ensure their vehicle is in good shape before they send it for its MOT. If your car is more than three years old then you must send it for an MOT by law.

Car Shop are an excellent choice when it comes to booking your car in for an MOT. Our technicians will be able to give your car a thorough inspection and ensure it is safe on the road. If your car fails, you will get an assessment of what is wrong with it and a quotation on how much it will cost to fix.

Even so, there are a handful of easy things you can check before putting your car in for a test.

Tyre pressure and tread depth

According to MOT test performance data from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA). One of the main reasons why cars fail is due to the fact that their tyre tread depth has fallen below the legal limit.

Across the central three-quarters of tyres, tread depth is required by law to be at least 1.6mm.

Drivers can have their tyres checked for free by Car Shop, where technicians can provide them with an expert evaluation of the condition of their tyres. Should there be any problems then Car Shop can also replace tyres for them, with prices starting at £26.


What Car? magazine recently noted a lack of screenwash as one of the silliest reasons why drivers fail their MOT tests. Indeed, according to statistics from VOSA, a total of 4,500 drivers failed their test between August 2012 and August 2013 for this reason.

Checking and replacing screenwash is something that is easy for drivers to do at home. Simply look into the windscreen washer fluid tank, located under the bonnet. Some tanks come with a fill level line, however many do not and the basic rule of thumb is just to fill it up as much as possible.

Should your fluid levels be low enough to warrant refilling, the best way to do this is to make sure the tank is filled half with water and half with screen washer fluid. Use a funnel to pour in your mixture of the two.

Once you have replaced your screenwash, test it by turning on the ignition and pressing the washer button. Should the water not come through, check your washer jets for any blockages and clear them with a pin.


As simple and seemingly irrelevant as it might sound initially, keeping your car clean and free of clutter is necessary for passing an MOT test. In fact, if a car is too dirty then a technician can legally refuse to test it.

Therefore, drivers should make sure they don't have any more than what they need in their car when they send it for a test. In particular, they should make sure that nothing is obscuring their windows and nothing is under their feet and pedals. Otherwise, this could be hazardous to their driving.

What Car? reported that 2,852 people failed their MOT in a year because their car was too full of clutter.


Before sending a car for its MOT, make sure fuel and oil levels are high enough. If either are too low then a mechanic can turn a driver away as they need these to test a vehicle's emissions levels.

To check oil levels, open the bonnet and take the dipstick out off the tank. Where the oil mark is should be an indicator of how much there is. Refilling oil is something that you can do yourself but, should there be any doubt as to what oil to use, ask your manufacturer.

Alternatively, you can get your oil levels topped up, as well as your screenwash and other fluids, by sending your car for its annual service at Car Shop prior to your test.

  • On: 15 April 2014
  • By: CarShop

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