How To Get Your Car MOT Test Ready

I always dread when it comes around to MOT time. Worrying about what could be potentially wrong with my car always sets in the week running up to it, not forgetting the dreaded cost.

After having a mixture of good MOT’s and bad MOT’s, I decided to put an article together with some tips I’ve picked up along the way. Is your car due its MOT check? If so, read on…

Apparently around 40% of cars submitted for MOT testing end up failing. Give your car a better chance of passing the test first time, with these helpful tips to getting your car in shape.

Check Tyres and Wheels

Car tyres must be the right type and size to succesfully pass. If you’ve fitted a space-saver spare tyre onto one of your wheels, replace it with a standard wheel and tyre before the test.

When it comes to measurements, check that all tyres have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm right the way around and across the central three-quarters of the pattern. Also look for significant lumps or cuts in the sidewall that could render it unfit for purpose. Tyres must not be obviously underinflated, either. Spare tyres aren’t checked as part of the MOT test, but those stored externally will need to be fastened securely.

When tyres get low, it can be incredibly dangerous. If you live in London, and do a lot of city driving, make sure to schedule your car’s MOT in London from Iverson Tyres website.

Car Lights

All of your lights (including headlamps, parking lights, reversing lights, indicators and registration plate bulbs) need to be the correct colour and in good working order for your car to pass the MOT test. Daytime running lights will also be checked on vehicles first used from March 2018, which will be having their first MOT checks in 2021.

Clean your lights and then get someone to try them while you walk around the car. If they flicker when tapped lightly with your hand, they probably need tightening into position or replacing altogether. If you find that a bulb has blown, it’s a good idea to change it before the MOT test.

Under The Bonnet

Pop up the bonnet and make sure the brake fluid reservoir and oil are topped up. Sufficient levels of both oil and fuel are required for the garage to conduct an emissions test, so you may want to do this beforehand.

Your car may be turned away if not properly topped-up, or if the brake fluid is contaminated. The test now also checks for fluid leaks that pose an environmental risk.


Suspension is a difficult component to check yourself, but you can do a quick test by applying your weight to each corner of the car and then releasing.

If the suspension is OK, any body movements should settle down quickly. You may also be able to hear suspension problems in the form of creaks or knocks when you drive or manoeuvre the car, particularly over an obstacle such as a speed bump, or as you drive up a kerb or onto a driveway.

Exhaust emissions

Your car must meet the legal requirements for exhaust emissions to pass its MOT test. These depend on the age of your car and the type of fuel you use. You can’t check this yourself, but if there’s lots of smoke of any colour coming from the tailpipe, it’s more likely there’s a fault.

You will also fail with a diesel car that has a diesel particulate filter (DPF) if this has been tampered with.


Check that the footbrake and handbrake function properly. There shouldn’t be any visible leaks from the brake pipes. Wheels aren’t removed during the test, and the tester will only look at what is visible and easily accessible. You can also quickly examine the brake discs for any signs of warping or scoring.

If you have ABS, make sure that the warning light works.

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1 Comment

  1. Isla
    February 19, 2019 / 8:11 am

    Great post! I’m buying my first car this month and my god I feel so stressed out about it haha I’m so afraid things will go wrong lol These are great tips I will definitely keep aside 🙂

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