How To Make Sure You Pass Your MOT | Tips To Avoid Failing Your MOT | DIY Car Service Parts | Middlewich


March, 2019

How to Make Sure You Pass Your MOT

The MOT is a test of roadworthiness that must be carried out annually to meet legal requirements. You can maximise the chances of passing your MOT and saving car costs by running through our simple checklist and fixing minor faults.

Passing the MOT

Around 1.5 million vehicles fail the MOT each year, often due to minor faults such as faulty bulbs and lack of washer fluid. But when you know what to look for, you can rectify these issues yourself.

In May 2018, new MOT ratings were put into place to classify faults based on their severity. Faults are now categorised into the following groups:

  • Advisory
  • Minor
  • Major
  • Dangerous

Your car won’t fail its MOT for minor and advisory faults, though these will be detailed with advisory notes on your certificate. Major or dangerous faults will instantly fail your car.

What's Involved In A MOT? | How to Pass Your MOT | DIY Car Service Parts | Middlewich

What’s Involved in a MOT?

These are the checks that a MOT tester will work through:

  • Vehicle identification number: is it clearly displayed, and does it match your V5 registration certificate?
  • Registration plate: do the spacing, lettering, condition and stability meet current number plate regulations?
  • Lights: are they the correct colours? Are they safe and in good condition?
  • Steering and suspension: are they in good condition? Are they operating normally?
  • Wipers: do they clean the windscreen efficiently?
  • Windscreen: is it damaged?
  • Horn: does it function normally?
  • Seats and seat belts: are they safe and in good condition?
  • Doors: do the doors open and close correctly and securely?
  • Mirrors: are they in good working order?
  • Wheels and tyres: are they in good condition? Do the tyres have enough tread depth?
  • Brakes: are they functioning safely?
  • Fuel system and exhaust system: are there any leaks?
  • Vehicle emissions: do they fall within safety guidelines?

What's Involved in a MOT? | How to Pass Your MOT | DIY Car Service Parts | Middlewich

How to Improve Chances of Passing the MOT

    Exterior Checks
    • Repair any corrosion or sharp edges that could be dangerous.
    • Check that there is no damage to the fuel cap and that the seal works.
    • Ensure your number plate is legible and clean.
    • Check that the vehicle identification number (VIN) inside your car matches the number on your V5C registration certificate.


    • Replace any faulty bulbs before your MOT.

    • Remember to check your headlights, brake lights, fog lights, reverse lights, side lights, indicator lights and number plate light.

    • Check your brake fluid is filled to a point between the minimum and maximum markers.

    • Be especially sure to check your brake fluid if your brakes are noisy, feel spongy or if your car swerves to one side when you brake.

    • Note: if your handbrake releases too quickly or is difficult to secure, the cable may need adjusting.

    • The minimum tyre tread depth is 1.6mm. To check yours, insert a 20p coin into the grooves of your tyres. If the edge of the coin is completely concealed by the tyre, your tyres meet the required depth. If your tread is too low, you could be fined up to £2,500 (plus each tyre is worth three penalty points).

    • Check your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure. Details for your car will be listed in your vehicle handbook.

    • Check your wipers operate smoothly, efficiently cleaning the windscreen without excessive squeaking.

    • Note: windscreen cracks or chips with a diameter of 10mm or more can lead to MOT failure if they are in the driver’s line of vision.                            

    Under the Bonnet
    • Check you have enough engine oil and washer fluid.
    Interior Checks
    • Ensure all seatbelts are in working order. Pull on each seatbelt to check it retracts sharply as they should in the event of heavy braking.

    • Give your car a quick clean and tidy. Testers may refuse to inspect your vehicle if it is excessively cluttered or dirty.


    of cars fail the MOT because of faulty lights

    How To Improve Chances of Passing the MOT | How To Avoid Failing the MOT | DIY Car Service Parts | Middlewich

    Government MOT Statistics

    • % of MOT faults related to lights and signalling 30% 30%
    • % of MOT faults related to tyre condition 10% 10%
    • % of MOT faults related to mirrors, wipers and washers 8.5% 8.5%

    You don’t have to be one of these stats. 

    Reduce the chances of failing your MOT by making our recommended checks ahead of time.

    Need replacement parts? Whether you’ll be replacing your own car parts or providing them to your garage for MOT fixes, DIY Car Service Parts can recommend the best parts at the lowest prices. Simply enter your number plate into our car lookup tool, and we’ll find the parts you need.


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