5 checks to help you pass your MOT the first time

If you’ve ever failed an MOT test you’re not alone – around 40% of cars fail their MOT test the first time round.  

The test is designed to keep people safe and make sure they’re roadworthy, but when you’re facing a bill of several hundred pounds they can feel more like an administrative nightmare.

While some major problems can’t be helped, nearly half of all MOT failures are small, straightforward issues that can be avoided by regular maintenance and a few simple checks.  Here’s 5 of the most common:

Headlights and indicators

A broken bulb is one of the most common and easily avoided reasons for failing an MOT test. Check all your lights function properly before your test. You can replace bulbs quickly and cheaply from your local auto shop – chains like Halfords offer to change them for a modest fee.

Brake light

Brake light is another simple fix that can be done ahead of time to help pass your MOT. Ask someone to check the rear brake lights come on when you press the brake pedal. Again, your local auto shop should be able to fit these on the spot for a small fee.

Windscreen wipers

Ensure your windscreen wipers are in good working order and are able to keep your windscreen clean. Pay close attention for any tearing or holes in the rubber, as this can be problematic during your MOT test. If you do need new wipers, get them replaced beforehand – you can purchase a new set and install them yourself very easily.


Tyres are another easily avoidable factor that cause people to fail their MOT test. Check your wheels and tyres to make sure they’re undamaged. The minimum legal tyre tread depth is 1.6mm – if your tyres are less than this they will need to be replaced before your car will be considered road safe. Keep an eye on your tyres and look after them regularly. You can typically get 20,000 miles out of your front tyres on a front-wheel-drive car before they ned replaced. If you’re nearing the time when tyres will need to be replaced, shop around and look for a good deal to help save you some money before your MOT, rather than paying the full cost on the spot. Throughout the year there are also things you can do to maximise your tyre life – keep them properly inflated, drive at the speed limit and avoid aggressive cornering and braking. 

Fuel and engine oil

If your car doesn’t have enough fuel or engine oil to be safely run you’ll be turned away from your MOT test on the spot. Check your oil levels and top up if necessary before your test date – you can easily check what oil is best by searching your car’s make and model or contacting your dealership.



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