A lot of MOT failures can be avoided by performing a few simple mot checks before coming to the test. Check out these helpful tips…

Close-Up Of Man Checking Tread On Car Tyre With Gauge
Close-Up Of Man Checking Tread On Car Tyre With Gauge


Tyres should have 1.6mm or more tread depth across 75% of their width.

Replace any tyres that are visibly damaged or deteriorated and check the tyre pressure is correct.

TIP: If you don’t have a tyre gauge to test the tread use the edge of a 20p coin – if the rim around the edge of the coin is smaller than the tread level you’re OK!

Next check the bulbs.

Front of a car with a blurred background. Metallic paint texture on car, not noise. Focus on lights.


Check that all of the lights are working, clean and the correct colour.

Headlights (white), rear lights (red), sidelights (white), brake lights (red), indicators (yellow), hazard lights (yellow) and lights for number plates (white).

TIP: If lights flicker when you tap them, the bulbs probably need tightening up or replacing.

Next check the wiper blades.

driving in rain
auto wipers wash windshield when driving in rain


Wiper blades must be clean, intact and no smears on the screen which will obscure the driver’s view.

TIP: If your wipers have picked up a lot of grease from the road that’s smearing the window, give them a wipe over with some white vinegar.

Next check the windscreen carefully.

Glazier removing windshield or windscreen on a car
Glazier removing windshield or windscreen on a car


The windscreen needs to allow the driver a clear view.

Any chips over 10mm in size in the area directly above the steering wheel (top to bottom of the window), this is likely to cause an MOT failure. Elsewhere on the windscreen, the limit is 40mm.
Screen wash should be be topped up and working properly.

TIP: If the washer jet is a bit weak (and the screen wash tank is not empty) wiggle a pin in the nozzle to see if that clears it.

Next asses the mirrors.

Sunset in a rear view mirror
Sunset in a rear view mirror. Modern car on a highway.


There must be at least two rear view mirrors or indirect vision devices (cameras) fitted with a clear view towards the rear of the vehicle. One of these must be fitted to the offside (driver’s side).

The last step of the pre-mot checks is to look at the doors and bonnet.

Doors and bonnet

Make sure all doors and the bonnet can be opened and closed properly. Front doors need to be opened from both inside and outside whilst rear doors only have to be opened from outside.

TIP: While you’re checking the bonnet, make sure that your oil and brake fluid are topped up.

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