Get your car ready for its MOT test

get your car ready for its MOT

10 ways to get your car ready for its MOT test

Get your car ready for its MOT test this year with PDL MOTs & Repairs Helpful hints & tips guide for the everyday car owner.

Are you aware that 40 to 50% of cars, fail their first attempt due to easily avoidable and minor defects?

Governed by EU Law, it is compulsory on the 3rd birthday of any car driven on the UK roads, from then on to have an annual MOT test every year, for the remainder of its days.

The DVSA (driving Vehicle Standards Agency) formally known as VOSA, are the government organisation that regulates this scheme, ensuring all affiliated garages, apply their test procedures to current environmental health and safety legislation.

Without an in date MOT certificate you will be unable to tax the vehicle and any insurance becomes invalid.

You dont need to be a mechanic to prepare your vehicle, follow our 10 easy hints and tips to see just how easy it can be to get a pass certificate first time around;



The lighting and signalling section of the MOT test, on average accounts for just under 24% of initial failures, that is almost a quarter of all MOTS carried out will fail on this criteria. Avoiding this is extremely simple and can be done very easily by anyone willing to spend 3 minutes maximum walking around their vehicle. This involves checking all the individual external lights, making sure not to forget the rear registration lights and side repeaters. It is worth baring in mind that bulbs can stop working at any time and just because it was working when it was checked does not necessarily mean it will be working at the time of test however this is unlikely and you significantly reduce the chances of this by simply checking them beforehand . Whilst operating the lights you are also ensuring the tell-tale indications on the dashboard are working and a tap on the horn to ensure that also is functional.



The legal requirement for tread depth on tyres in use on UK roads is 1.6mm. When it comes to an MOT test this is only measured around the centre 3 quarters of the tyre tread. Without a vehicle lift this is difficult to assess perfectly but usually a quick visual inspection is adequate to locate any bulges, cuts or exposed tyre chords and to also get an idea of the remaining tread on the tyre. If you are in any doubt, simply change the tyre or pop in to an MOT testing garage and ask the tester who should be happy to advise you.



Windscreen wipers are inexpensive and can save save you a lot of time by just replacing them. Before you take your vehicle for its MOT try them, if they leave smears on your screen, get them replaced or ask your MOT garage to change them for you as they can be very fiddly at times. Again with your screen-wash, just fill it up prior to the test, even if it is just with water that is adequate and again will save you time.


mot windscreen zones


When assessing a windscreen we are focusing on 2 key areas which are demonstrated in the image above, Zone A and Zone B (the rest of the wiper sweep area) any chip,crack or obstruction located in Zone A, which can be deemed an obstruction to the drivers view that is 10mm or greater in size can be seen as an MOT failure. Any chips, cracks or obstructions found in the remaining swept area that is 40mm or greater in size will aswell be seen as an MOT failure. Another tip for obstructions, is to remove any air fresheners you may have hanging from your centre mirror as this can also fail your MOT test.



Check the presence and condition of your mirrors. It is essential that your vehicle has 2 mirrors present and 1 of them MUST be at the drivers side. This means that you can do without either your passenger side mirror or your interior centre mirror. If the mirror glass is damaged this does not necessarily mean it will fail. If the view from the drivers seat is still adequate and not distorted then the mirror will still pass.



An MOT test can be carried out up to 1 month before its expiry date, the outcome of this test does not affect your current MOT, so if it fails your car will still have up to 1 month valid MOT remaining. This simply gives the owner the opportunity and time to get their vehicle to an MOT pass standard with plenty of time to spare. It can also mean when your vehicle is at an MOT pass standard, you could end up with a 13 month certificate.



The easiest way to assess this area is to try them. Sit in the seat and use the seatbelt, ensure it pulls out and retracts correctly, that it locks in as it should and that there are no rips or cuts in the material of the seatbelt. With regards to the seats grab the back and pull them forward ensuring they are locked in the upright position.



Take a walk around the outside, your looking out for any sharp edges sticking out that are caused by either damage or corrosion. If anything is found that could be suspicious, the best thing to do is to apply a strip of duct tape over it to dull the point of the protrusion making it safer.



All that is required here is really a visual check, ensure it is straight and secure, also that the numbers and letters appear in the correct and usual format.



The final Tip today to help get your car ready for its MOT, is probably the most important and best advice we can give you. Obviously things can change and deteriorate over a 12 month period which is exactly why MOT tests are required annually in the UK, however a quick look at your previous MOT advisory notices can give you an indication of what to expect. It is advisable to have advisory notices attended to at a convenient time, this helps to keep the vehicle road safe and gives you a better chance of a successful MOT test  first time around.


We hope that the advice given above can help to encourage the everyday car driver to get involved and assist the MOT garages in keeping the UK roads one of the safest in Europe, as well as saving them time and Money on their vehicle maintenance.

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