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Pre MOT Checklist

Before you take your vehicle for an MOT test, you can carry out some quick and easy checks to give your vehicle the best chance of passing first time. We’ve composed a basic pre MOT checklist, which will help you systematically check your vehicle for any faults which could potentially cause an MOT failure.

Checks to conduct before taking car for an MOT to make sure it passes:

Checking a car before MOT test


Test your handbrake and make sure it holds your car securely on an incline.
Our tip: An easy way to judge the efficiency of the cable is to listen to the number of clicks. As a rule, there should be about 6 audible clicks before the handbrake is fully engaged.


The most common faults are problems with air and fluid. Either a fluid leak, or an excess of air in the system.
Our tip: To check for a possible leak, press your foot on the brake and make sure that the pedal doesn’t travel all the way to the floor, or continue to creep down without you pushing.
To check for excess air, just ask yourself if the pedal feels spongey. If so, your system may need to be bled.

Windscreen & Mirrors

You might think this is super obvious, but so many cars fail because of simple cracks and fractures. The windscreen must be free of any potential visual impairment within the drivers field of vision. Small chips etc are acceptable – but save yourself time and money by getting them fixed before they become a larger problem! Your mirrors must be secure and intact, and must show a clear view of the rear.


A very quick and easy check – simply make sure that there is no fraying, tears or obvious deterioration in the belts, and that they both engage and disengage properly!


There’s a lot to go wrong here, so check ALL of your lights – and don’t forget your hazards and fog beam! Also your horn should work every time and be audible, your wipers should be in good condition, and your headlights should be aimed correctly.

Shock Absorbers

First, make sure that your springs are intact and solid with no obvious wear, including the top where they enter your engine compartment. You can also check your tyres for signs of wear caused by a non performing shock.
Our tip: Make sure your car is parked on a flat space and push down on each corner. Your car should sink slightly and return to its normal position without bouncing afterwards.

Wheels & Tyres

There are a few simple, quick and easy checks that should stop you ever failing an MOT because of your tyres! Check the side walls for damage including bulges, splits or lumps and make sure you can’t see any of the cord/ply through the rubber. Make sure the wheel isn’t buckled and is sitting straight, and that the tyre valve is in good order. Make sure you’ve got the right size, right pressure tyres for your vehicle, and finally, check your tread depth! It must be a minimum of 1.6mm for at LEAST 75% of the tyre.


Any load bearing area showing signs of corrosion or thinning will make your car fail its MOT. Check side sills, chassis, cross members and pillars for signs. Any protruding sharp edges from minor accidents etc also need to be addressed.


The important thing to check for here is leaks in the system.
Our tip: Have a friend place a rag over the exhaust when the car is running. NOT to block it, but just to impede the flow. This should help to make much more obvious any leaks which would need to be corrected.


Without specialist equipment or help, the best thing you can do at home is check to make sure that you’re not burning oil, and that you have no serious faults with your injection system or carburettor.
Our tip: Start your engine and hold the revs around 2500rpm for between 10 and 30 seconds before you let it idle and watch the smoke from your exhaust.
Blue smoke could indicate that you’re burning oil and could mean a worn seal is letting oil into your engine cylinders. Black smoke would probably mean that there’s unburnt fuel, meaning a problem with either your injection, carburettor, or possibly a dirty air filter.

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