MOT Coming Up Soon? Make Sure You Do These Checks First!

As you are probably aware, the MOT test is one that is carried out on cars in the United Kingdom that are more than three years old. These annual tests are to ensure that cars are roadworthy and safe to drive on our public roads.

In recent years, the Department for Transport has increased the number of items that MOT testers check on cars in a bid to free the roads of dodgy cars.


Photo Source (credit: anthony_lui)

If your car is due for an MOT test soon and you want to make sure that it passes with flying colours, this handy guide will tell you what you can check before you submit your car for testing.


In the UK, tyres are deemed to be illegal for road use if they have a tread depth of 1.6mm or less on the part that makes contact with the road. You can buy inexpensive gauges that will help you check the tread depth of your tyres.

Sometimes tyres can cause a car to fail its MOT test if they have physical damage to them, such as cuts in the sidewall or abnormal bulges or sagging. If in doubt, take your car to your local tyre fitting centre and get the technicians to check for you.


MOT testers are required to check that every single external light bulb, as well as the warning lamps on your dashboard, operate correctly.

Something as simple as a 50 pence light bulb could cause your car to fail its MOT test and you may be charged a partial retest fee of nearly £30 once the bulb has been replaced!

In reality, MOT testers will change the bulb for you during the MOT test so that it passes the first time, but some grumpy MOT testers may “work to rule.” Therefore, instead of playing MOT tester lottery, make sure that all of your bulbs and warning lights are operating as they should.


According to one of the mechanics at the Pentagon Group, MOT testers can fail your car on excessive smoke. I can confirm that this is correct because my own personal car failed its MOT for that very reason!

All cars might have a bit of light white smoke on a cold morning as this is simply condensation. But if you notice clouds of blue or black smoke whilst driving, especially under hard acceleration, this could indicate a serious engine problem.

Should this apply to your car, I recommend getting your car diagnosed by a mechanic first before submitting it for its MOT test.

Common causes of engine smoking include oil getting into the combustion chamber through a leaking valve or piston, over-fueling or even a clogged positive crankcase ventilation valve.

Wiper Blades

If any of your wiper blades are split or do little to clear your windscreen when it’s raining, you need to replace them before the MOT test.

A pair of branded front wiper blades will cost around £25, and if your car has a rear wiper blade you can expect to pay another £7 or so for it. They are easy to install, but if you’re unsure you could always check out some YouTube videos on the subject. Alternatively, get someone else to fit them for you!

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