Pre MOT Check: Things to Check Before an MOT Test

25th Nov 2019

According to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), 'nearly 50% of all faults found on MOT tests could be avoided'. In this blog we list several things to check before your Ministry of Transport (MOT) test to increase your chance of passing. If you would like to find out what parts of the car are checked during an MOT test we have covered that in our How Long Does an MOT Test Take? blog.

Washer Fluid Level

The easiest thing to check and resolve on your vehicle at home is your screenwash level. You should make sure it is topped up before your MOT test. Despite being a simple check, so many people fail an MOT test for having no washer fluid. 

You should regularly check your screenwash level whether your MOT test is due or not as, especially in poor driving conditions, your windscreen can soon become covered and restrict your view of the road.

Screenwash is cheap and easy to find in local shops and garages. If you're unsure how to full up your washer fluid, we have created a video explaining how to use ready-to-use and concentrated screenwash.

Windscreen and Wipers

Car Windscreen Wipers

Prior to your MOT test, check your windscreen for damage to the glass. A chip or crack bigger than 40mm, or wider than 10mm in the area where the wipers sweep, will lead to a failed MOT test.

In addition to checking the windscreen, you should also check your wipers are fully functioning. If the blades are damaged and don't clear the windscreen effectively they could cause scratch damage to the windscreen and may result in an MOT test failure too. Wipers are cheap and simple enough to replace yourself before you schedule your MOT test.

It may be worth checking your rear windscreen and wiper too for any damage, even though your vehicle can't fail its MOT test for this. 


Car Brake Lights

A thorough check of all your vehicle's lights could be the difference between a pass and a fail on your MOT test. Headlights, sidelights, indicators, fog lights, brake lights and even your vehicle registration plate lights all need to be in full working condition. A simple change of a bulb could save you the hassle of a failed MOT test. 

Although it's easier to check your brake  lights with assistance from another person, you can still check your brake lights by reversing up to a reflective service. Other lights can easily be checked by walking around the car with the lights turned on.


Tyre tread depth is one of the most important checks on your car in terms of safety. Not only is a tyre tread depth less than 1.6mm illegal in the UK it is also dangerous and according to the RAC, 'the difference in wet braking distance between a tyre worn to 3mm and one worn to 1.6mm can be as much as  44%'.

Furthermore, drivers are at risk of a £2,500 fine and three penalty points per worn tyre. If all four tyres are below the legal tyre tread depth, driver's can face an astronomical £10,000 fine and they could potentially lose their licence too. 

Worn tyres also result in a failed MOT test. Whilst checking the tyre tread depth it's also important to check tyre pressures to ensure the tyres are inflated in accordance to the recommended tyre pressures in the vehicle handbook. Under-inflated tyres can also cause MOT test failure.

Warning Lights

Engine Management Light

If your dashboard is a constant display of illuminated warning lights, it is unlikely your car is going to pass its MOT test. Dashboard warning lights signal an issue with your vehicle and several lights including ABS light, engine management light, brake fluid light and airbag warning light will result in a failed MOT test.

You're best getting any dashboard warning lights checked out by a professional at your nearest Evans Halshaw retailer immediately to ensure you're not putting yourself or other road users in danger when driving the vehicle. 
If you would like real piece of mind before your MOT test, Evans Halshaw offer a free vehicle health check covering engine components, tyres, brakes, the exterior, steering, electrics, fluids and suspension.

Alternatively, if you're confident that your vehicle is checked and ready for its MOT test you can book in with our simple online booking process. All you need to do is select from our network of dealers and choose a date and time that's convenient for you.