If your MOT is due this month, you can avoid unexpected repair bills and unwanted hassle by spending a few minutes checking different areas of the car before the test is due to take place. Apparently, we waste over £500,000 a year by failing our MOTs on easily fixable problems.

Here, we provide a checklist of what to check on the interior and exterior of your car to help you pass your MOT, and also to keep you safe on the road.

The Basics

If you don’t want to end up spending more time at the test centre than is necessary, make sure to cover all the basics before the test is due:

  • Make sure the vehicle identification number (VIN) can be clearly seen; normally where the dashboard meets the windscreen on the driver’s side.
  • Check that your oil level is between the min and max marker. If in doubt, top it up.
  • Check there’s plenty of screen wash; you’ll fail the test if the washer tank is empty. Prestone Ready to Use screen wash doesn’t need to be mixed – you can just pour it straight in so you can top up quickly before your test.
  • Top up your fuel tank — no one wants to fail their MOT through lack of petrol or diesel.
  • Has your car got plenty of coolant/antifreeze? You can easily check the coolant/antifreeze level by looking to see where the pinkish liquid is on the outside of the reservoir. You can also use a Coolant/Antifreeze tester available from Tesco. If it’s low, top it up with a quality product like Prestone Coolant/Antifreeze.

Inspektion - Gutachter berprft Fahrzeug in Autowerkstatt

Interior MOT Checks

Now that you’ve covered the basics, it’s time to start on the real checks. The first thing most mechanics check when carrying out an MOT inspection is that all essential features and pieces of safety equipment are working inside the cabin. Here’s a list of things you can check from the comfort of the driving seat:

  • Do all the doors open from the inside? All doors must open from the inside, so remember to remove child safety locks before taking the car for its test.
  • Do the seatbelts work, and are they free from damage? Inspectors will spend a few minutes checking the tension and release catch of all seatbelts in the car.
  • Is the driving seat secure, and does it move on its runners? The driving seat must be secure in a fixed position during the MOT test.
  • Do all the warning lights go out when starting the car? If your car is displaying a warning light, remember to get this sorted before the test.
  • Do the dashboard symbols for indicators, sidelights and main beam work? If not, you could fail your MOT.
  • Does the horn work? The horn is classed as a safety feature, and should work perfectly ahead of the MOT.
  • Is the windscreen free from cracks, chips or other imperfections? Any cracks above 10mm will likely result in a failure.
  • Do the windscreen washers and wipers work as they should?

Exterior MOT ChecksPortrait of a mechanic taking notes under a car

Once they’ve looked at all the interior safety features, the assessor will normally go over the outside of the car with a fine-tooth comb. Here are a few things to check on the outside of your car:

  • Do the doors, boot and bonnet catches operate as they should? We’d recommend opening and closing all doors, the boot and the bonnet to make sure they’re all fully operational.
  • Are the tyres in good condition, with a tread depth of no less than 1.6mm? Always check your tyres before an MOT, and consider buying new rubber before the test to save yourself from failure at the first attempt.
  • Are all lights — including headlights, taillights, brake lights, indicator lights and registration plate lights — working as they should? Replacing exterior bulbs is simple and affordable, and could mean the difference between a pass and a fail.
  • Does the petrol filler cap fit securely, and is its rubber seal intact? Open the petrol filler cap and check the condition of the rubber seal. If it’s damaged, it could lead to an MOT failure. New rubber seals are widely available from vehicle manufacturers.
  • Are the wing mirrors in place and free from dust, muck or cracks? The wing mirrors must be in good condition, with no visible cracks or imperfections.

Prestone Screen Wash and Coolant/Antifreeze are easy to use and keep your car protected in all extremes. To find out more visit the Prestone website.