Five Tips to Pass Your MOT First Time

The MOT Is an annual test with which every motorist is intimately familiar – and of which many are somewhat fearful. The MOT is a legal requirement for every car between three and 40 years of age, and exists to ascertain the roadworthiness of cars used on UK roads according to a comprehensive array of criteria.

A vehicle can fail its MOT for as little as one major defect – and many of the reasons a car fails are easy to spot and fix before the MOT takes place. If your car is legally required to undergo a yearly MOT, you should book your MOT online ahead of your current MOT’s expiry; this will give you ample time to do some investigating, and ensure your car passes first time. This can save you money on servicing and on having to re-take your MOT. Here are five tips for passing that MOT!

Check All Warning Lights

A relatively recent addition to the MOT’s testing roster is the ‘Malfunction Indicator Lamp’ check, which stipulates that all warning lights on your dash must be fully operational – and that none must be indicating an issue at the time of testing. If even one warning light is activated during your MOT, you will fail. As such, checking your warning lights ahead of the test can save you money in re-testing and predatory garage fees, by allowing you to sort the issue before your MOT.

Check the Tyre Tread

A simple check, but one that could well save your skin: check your tyres’ tread depth. If your tyre treads measure below 1.6mm depth, they are illegal – and certain to fail your MOT. In a pinch, you can use a 20p piece to test for this; the outer band of the coin is 1.6mm, meaning your tyre is illegal if you can see the band poking above the tread wall.

Check the Lights

There are various tests relating to the operation and function of your car’s headlamps and indicator lamps, many of which include fail conditions. If a headlamp is less than 50% operational in terms of light emission, you will receive a major defect – and likewise if your headlamp levelling devices do not work. Missing indicators or defective indicator lenses are also a major defect.

Registration Plates

Your registration plates must be, so to speak, ‘registration’: that is, they must conform to a specific set of standards in order to be road legal. If your registration plate is illegible, delaminated or insecure enough to risk falling off, you could risk an automatic fail.

Windscreen and Wipers

A cracked windscreen can be a pricey thing to repair, especially if that crack is discreet and out of the way. But when it comes to your MOT, replacing it would be the cheaper option, as windscreens exhibiting cracks of 40mm in size or larger are always an MOT fail. Ideally, your windscreen would be completely free of any form of damage before testing – however, chips below 10mm in size do get a pass.

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Dan Dunn
Dan Dunn
Executive Managing editor

Editor and Admin at MarkMeets since Nov 2012. Columnist, reviewer and entertainment writer and oversees all of the section's news, features and interviews. During his career, he has written for numerous magazines.

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