Pre MOT Check: Things to Check Before an MOT Test

22nd Feb 2022

By Kenny Longdon


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 car's chance of passing. Alternatively, if you would like to find out what parts of the car are checked during an MOT test, take a look at 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's topped up before your MOT test. Despite being a simple check, many cars fail an MOT test for having no washer fluid.

Ensure you regularly check your screenwash level whether your MOT test is due or not as, especially in poor driving conditions, your windscreen can soon become dirty and restrict your view of the road. Many new cars will also let you know if your screenwash level is low, which is handy.

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

Windscreen and Wipers


Prior to your MOT test, check your windscreen for damage to the glass. A chip or crack bigger than 40mm will lead to an MOT fail. However, even a 10mm-sized crack or chip can result in a failure if it falls in line with the drivers view - a 290mm area centred via the steering wheel as a reference point.

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, then scratch damage may occur, leading to an MOT failure. Wipers are cheap and simple enough to replace yourself before you schedule your MOT test if needed.

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, as a rear wiper is not required by law, they're still useful in the winter months, especially when reversing.


Car Light

A thorough check of all your vehicle's lights could be the difference between a pass and a fail on your car's 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 on your own by reversing or driving up to a reflective surface, such as a window, and taking note of which lights may or may not be working. Other lights can easily be checked by walking around the car with the lights turned on.

Again, many modern cars will warn the driver via a warning light on the dashboard if an exterior light is defective.


Tyre Check

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's 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, drivers could potentially face a £10,000 fine and potentially lose their licence too.

Worn or under-inflated 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.

Warning Lights

EML Light

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

Not all engine warning lights will result in an MOT fail, but it's best practice to sort any warning light in a timely fashion, as any warning is usually an indication there is a problem.

You can get warning lights checked out by a professional technician at your nearest Evans Halshaw retailer.

Book your MOT with Evans Halshaw

If you would like real peace 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 MOT 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.