CHECKLIST: How to get your car through its MoT

All cars more than three years old must have an MOT annually. We've compiled a checklist of things to ensure your car passes first time.

Sunday, 13th November 2016, 6:51 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 4:51 pm

If you intend to keep your car on the road, making sure that it passes its MOT is essential.

In the UK, cars that are older than three years need to have an MOT annually. If it passes, great. However, if it fails, repairs must be made to ensure the vehicle is up to scratch legally.

With winter setting in quickly, and many people likely to have their MOT renewal date fast approaching, we’ve put together the following list of things you should check on your car to help ensure it passes its MOT first time round.

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Before heading to your MOT test, ensure that all exterior lights on your vehicle are working, replacing any that aren’t.

This includes your headlights, fog lights, all indicator lights, brake lights, reversing lights, side lights and number plate lights.

Additionally, you should also check the casing and lens to make sure they are free from cracks or other damage.


Substandard tyres are another thing that can easily catch people out when it comes to having their MOT renewed. To help minimise your chances of being one of them, double-check that all your tyres are inflated to the recommended pressure.

Something else that is of the utmost importance when it comes to checking your tyres is the tread depth. Legally, tyres must have at least 1.6mm of tread across three-quarters of the tyre. You can check this by inserting a 20p coin into the grooves that run round the tyre, measuring the tread against the rim that runs around the coin’s edge. If you can see the coin’s rim, that tyre will need replacing.

You should also give the tyres a look over to check that they are free from any lumps, bulges or cuts and if you have a spare wheel on board, you will need to make sure its tyre is road-legal, too.


Examine all of your vehicle’s exterior panels to make sure they are free from protruding sharp edges that could injure pedestrians, and that all bumpers are secured in place. While it might sound a little daft, you also need to check that all of your doors can be opened from both inside and outside the car.


It isn’t uncommon for a car to pass its MOT with a couple of small stone chips in its windscreen. However, if there are any large cracks or cracks in the area that is covered by the windscreen wipers, these could cause the car to fail its MOT.

It is also important that you take the time to inspect your vehicle’s wing mirrors. These should be fixed securely in place, with the mirror in a good condition.


A few other things that are always worth checking, but might get overlooked include your horn, screenwash levels, wiper blades and seatbelts. Check that your horn is working before you go in for your MOT - certainly an easy enough task to do.

You should also top up your screenwash, and ensure that your wiper blades aren’t missing any large chunks or falling from their bracket. These are easy to replace and fit should they be substandard, just pop in to your local motor retailer.

Seatbelts are arguably one of the most important things to check are working properly. These must be free from any cuts or fraying, and the mountings must be set in place securely. Check the inertia reels are all working by pulling down hard on all of the belts.