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5 pre-MOT checks you can do at home

For many people their car’s annual MOT is a time to dread. They pace the waiting area in the test centre waiting with baited breath to hear if their car has passed.

However, if you take good care of your car and it’s regularly serviced, your car’s MOT should be a much less stressful occasion.

According to This is Money, the most common reasons for cars and vans failing their first MOT are:

Lighting and signalling faults
Driver’s view of the road

The Chief Executive of TootCompare, the company who conducted the study, said: “The majority of items in the top three failure categories are relatively basic maintenance items (worn tyres, failed bulbs, defective wipers). All should be picked up by regular maintenance, and many could be detected by the owner by a very simple walk-around inspection of the car.”

Here are five simple checks you can do at home before your car’s MOT, to hopefully prevent a failure because of something which could have been easily rectified.

1 – Lights

According to the TootCompare study, 38% of vehicles failed their MOT due to lighting and signalling faults, including failed bulbs and misaligned headlights. There’s no reason to turn up to your MOT with a bulb out. Have someone walk around the car making sure that all your lights are working while you operate them from within the car. Check the front, rear, brake, fog, indicator and registration plate lights, as well as the rear reflectors. If any bulbs are out, you can change them before the MOT.

2 – Horn

Check that the horn is working. It must be loud enough to be heard by another driver and by pedestrians.

3 – Fluid levels

It’s possible for a car to fail its MOT because it doesn’t have any washer fluid. So, before the MOT check all the fluid levels, including screen wash, brake fluid and oil, and top them up if necessary. Your car’s manual should give you instructions on how to do this.

4 – Windscreen and wipers

Give your car’s wiper blades a once over to make sure they are in good condition. Check your washer jets are not blocked by operating the windscreen washer from inside the car. If they are blocked, it’s quite an easy task to to clear them out. Take a look at this article from The Telegraph. Also make sure there’s no major damage to the windscreen.

5 – Tyres

Before the MOT, check the tyres’ tread depth and pressure. The tread depth must not be below the legal limit of 1.6mm and the MOT tester will look for any large cuts, lumps, bulges, tears, and other signs of excessive wear and tear. Ensure the tyre pressures meet the manufacturer’s guidelines. According to, one in 10 MOT fails is due to tyre problems.

When your car fails its MOT it is a real inconvenience, as you’ll need to arrange for repairs to be carried out and for a retest. Doing some quick and simple checks at home could prevent an MOT failure, and save you plenty of time and money.

Book an MOT online today