How to prepare for an MOT

On 30th March, as the UK went into lockdown, the announcement came that MOT expiry dates were to be extended by six months. With restrictions beginning to ease though, and garages throughout the country reopening, mandatory MOT tests will be reintroduced from 1st August. As a result, a great many motorists will soon be gearing up for a – potentially overdue – visit to the garage. 

MOTs can often be nerve-wracking, and there will be plenty of motorists looking to reassure themselves that their vehicle is in good shape. While there’s only so much that can be done without specialist equipment, there are checks that you can perform yourself so you’re as prepared as possible when the big day comes. 

With that in mind, here are some of the best pre-MOT checks that our experts at Goodyear suggest you consider. 

A few general checks 

There are plenty of things that you can check very easily before taking your car for its MOT. Making sure that the horn, wipers and windscreen washers are working properly, for example, are all quick wins. Be thorough in your preparation, though. Some of these simpler checks can seem so inconsequential that they’re actually quite easy to overlook. Your seatbelts, for one, must be in good condition, and your vehicle should also be clean. A dirty car won’t fail you automatically, but your registration plates need to be legible, and your lights mustn’t be blurred by smudged glass. 

Check your tyres 

Here at Goodyear, we’d always advise regularly ensuring that your tyres are in good condition. Checking them ahead of your MOT though could be the difference between passing or failing your test. Walk round your vehicle and inspect the tyres. Look out for bulges or cuts on the sidewalls, as well as for objects stuck in the tread. You should also use a tread depth gauge to ensure that the tread is at least 1.6mm across the breadth of the tyre. This is something that will definitely by tested, so it’s worth checking yourself ahead of time. Finally, any spare tyres that you might have must also be road legal. This can be easily be overlooked, so make sure to check your spare just as thoroughly as the tyres that are on your car. 

Try your lights 

Faulty lighting can easily scupper an MOT but is such a simple part of your car to check. The trick is to be comprehensive and make sure to test them all. So, ahead of your MOT, check that all of your exterior bulbs are working, and that the lenses are free of any cracks or damage. You’ll need to test your headlights (both dipped and main beam), front and rear side lights, stop lights, reversing lights, front and rear fog lights. Make sure to also check the indicators, your number plate lights and the warning lights on your dash. If any bulbs have blown, check the owner’s manual to see if you can replace them yourself. Alternatively, a high street autocentre such as HiQ, should easily be able to change them. 

Lift the bonnet 

Your vehicle’s fluid levels will certainly be checked during an MOT, so lifting the bonnet beforehand and making sure everything’s in order is a really easy way of getting prepared. Make sure the fluid level in the brake system’s reservoir is between the ‘min’ and ‘max’ indicators. Check that there’s plenty of screen wash and also that you have enough oil. It’s good practice to carry out these checks on a regular basis, but doing so before an MOT is essential. 

Screens and mirrors 

While a small chip in your windscreen won’t necessarily mean an automatic failure, it’s worth being aware that damage to the glass has the potential to cause issues during an MOT. Check that the entire area swept by the wipers has no cracks or chips. If there’s any damage outside this area, it should be no more than 10mm in diameter. Likewise, all mirrors should be securely fixed and the glass in good condition. 

There are specialist services that can be used to deal with a chip or a crack, and it’s well worth getting this sorted ahead of your MOT. If any of your screens or mirrors don’t meet these criteria though, be prepared for the garage to question it during your test. 

With lockdown moving gradually into the rear-view mirror, we’re all going to start spending more time on the road. While MOTs were probably one of the few aspects of daily life that many of us were actually glad to see put on hold, with the right preparation, there’s no reason that their return should be cause for concern. 

For information on preparing your car for the end of lockdown, and making sure that you’re ready to return to the road, visit https://news.goodyear.eu/en/preparing-your-car-for-the-end-of-lockdown-uk/