A Complete Guide for Everything You Need to Know About MOTs

If you have a car that is already three years old, then an MOT test becomes a legal requirement every year to ensure that the vehicle is safe and roadworthy. But what happens during an MOT and how can car owners prepare for it? Here’s a guide with lots of useful information about the process and what steps you can take if your car fails the MOT. 

How to Prepare for the MOT

Before you take your car to the MOT, make sure that you’ve done all you can so that it can pass the test. To help make this step easier for you, here are a number of the things you can do to prepare your vehicle for the MOT. 

Clean Your Car

Your car should be clean, both inside and out. Don’t forget to check the boot as well. You wouldn’t want the examiner to refuse to assess your vehicle because of how dirty it is. When cleaning your car, make sure that the number plates are also clean. To pass the MOT, they need to be readable. 

Check the Windscreen and Wipers

Does your windscreen have any cracks? If there are, get them repaired first or if they’re beyond repair, get your windscreen replaced or else your car might fail the MOT. The wipers should also be in good condition. Check that your windscreen wipers don’t have any tears. 

All Lights Should be Working

For this step, you’re going to need another person to stand outside the vehicle to check if all your lights are working properly. Lights are important in keeping your car roadworthy. Bear in mind that the point of the MOT is to make sure that your car is safe to drive. 

Tyre Pressure and Tread Depth

Depending on your vehicle, there is a certain tyre pressure to maintain. If you’re not sure, check your owner’s manual or go online to know what should be the tyre pressure of cars of the same make and model. As for the tyre tread depth, the legal minimum is 1.6mm. If your tyres are already below that, get replacements before you take your can to the MOT.

Change or Top Up All Fluids

There are a number of fluids for conventional vehicles such as engine oil, brake fluid, and even screenwash. See to it that you’ve changed them if they’re dirty, as with the case of engine oil, or top them up at the right levels. This may seem like a tiny detail but they matter when your car is undergoing the MOT. 

Check if the Horn Works

Your horn, like your lights, allows you to communicate with other road users. Don’t forget to check if the horn works before the MOT. If you’re using a novelty car horn that plays tunes or multiple notes, then know that those are not allowed. 

Brakes and Related Components

Your brakes are crucial in ensuring that your car is safe to drive. The brakes, along with the parking or handbrake should work properly, hold the car firmly, and are correctly balanced. The examiners will assess the discs, pads and callipers, as well as cables and pipes related to the brakes. 


Steering can be challenging to check so you might not be able to do this yourself. If you think there’s a problem with the steering, it’s best to take your car to an auto mechanic before the MOT. The examiners will assess if the steering wheel and column work well and are in good condition. Steering bearings are also checked, along with all gaiters, universal joints, clamps, and bolts. 

Exhaust and Emissions

If you have a petrol or diesel car, then the emissions will be tested by connecting equipment to your vehicle’s exhaust. Depending on your car’s age, the legal limit may vary. However, for newer cars, expect that the standards are much stricter. Does your car emit visible smoke or is there excessive noise? If so, get it checked first because your car might fail the MOT. 

What to Do if My Car Fails the MOT?

MOTs categorise defects into minor, major, and dangerous. If the examiner finds that your car has a major or dangerous fault, then your vehicle will fail the MOT. You will then be given a VT30 form or a “refusal” of a certificate. 

Vehicles with dangerous defects, cannot go back on the road until the faults have been repaired thoroughly. For major faults, the car needs to be repaired immediately. If your car passed the MOT but the examiner found that there are minor faults, then those need to be taken care of as well. 


The MOT is important because it lets you know if your vehicle is still safe to drive. It’s also a good chance to know if your car has any issues. Of course, it would be great to know if your car has problems before the MOT so you can get them fixed first and pass the test. Proper care and regular maintenance for your car will go a long way and you don’t have to rush and do all the checks last minute before the MOT.  So take the time to get your car MOT-ready! 🚙