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Avoid These Simple MOT Fails

The fast-paced nature of the motor industry means that it’s imperative for drivers to keep up-to-date with the latest rules and regulations to ensure safety and compliance on the roads.

As it has recently been announced that the MOT failure ratings are due to change in the near future, there’s no better time than now to familiarise yourself with the new process and the most common checks you can carry out on your vehicle yourself to avoid a fail.

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Recent MOT rule changes

The aim of the new MOT failure ratings (May 2018) is to classify any faults or issues into three main categories based on their severity: Dangerous, Minor and Major.

With Minor faults, there is still the potential to pass the test, but they will be highlighted on the MOT certificate with advisory notes.

Any vehicles with faults which are deemed Major or Dangerous will automatically fail the test.

In these climate conscious times, more emphasis is being put on the green credentials of drivers. As such, the MOT test has been altered to help eliminate toxic emissions by carrying out meticulous checks on the diesel particulate filters. These checks determine whether the filters have been interfered with or removed entirely – if either of these are the case, the vehicle will fail the test.  


Exterior of the car

A couple of starting points to look for outside the car include:

  • Looking for any signs of corrosion or sharp edges that might be dangerous to passers by.
  • Doors should open from the inside and the outside of the car, as well as stay firmly shut.
  • Check your fuel cap has no damage to it and the seal works.




  • Inspect all the lights on your car – including the main headlights, brake, fog, reverse and indicator lights. Don’t forget the number plate lights either! If any bulbs are out, replacing them yourself could help your car pass first time.
  • Don’t forget to check the lights above your license plates, and ensure there are no other factors that are obstructing the plates from view such as excess dirt.




  • Check the brake fluid levels are between the min and max indicators. Your brakes should not make any loud noise, feel spongy or veer to one side when you brake.
  • Test putting the handbrake on – if it is hard to pull up, or releases too quickly, the cable might need adjusting.




  • Check the tread on your tyres – a quick way to do this is to insert a 20p piece into the grooves of your tyre; if the edge of the outside of the coin is completely hidden, your tyres meet the minimum tread depth of 1.6mm.




  • Check the wipers work – if they make any unusual noises, or don’t clear the windscreen properly, you might need to replace the blades on them.
  • Any cracks or chips measuring a diameter of 10mm within the drivers’ line of vision can cause an MOT fail.



Under the bonnet

  • The garage needs sufficient levels of oil to conduct the emissions test and brake fluid must be above minimum level. As such, make sure both are topped up to the necessary markers.
  • Make sure you’ve sufficient windscreen washer fluid too, so the tester can check they function adequately.



Interior of the car

MOT testers check a variety of points inside your car, and can refuse to carry out the MOT if the car is unreasonably dirty, so it’s a good time for a clean. Some of the main areas to check on the inside of your car include:



  • Turn on the ignition and check all warning lights all go on and then go off again.
  • Check the horn works.
  • Speedometer must be fully functional, with the needle accurately representing the speed.




  • Check your mirrors are clearly visible when you’re sat in the driver’s seat; every car must have two rear view mirrors, and at least one must be a driver’s side mirror to pass the MOT.




  • Your steering wheel should not be loose or experience any abnormal movements, which could indicate problems with the mechanism.




  • Seats should feel secure, with no abnormal movement when they are locked in place.
  • Seatbelts shouldn’t have any signs of fraying or other damage to the belts or the fastening mechanism.


If you have an electric car, the only difference is that the garage won’t carry out an emissions test, being as electric cars produce no emissions. All the other MOT checks remain the same and, as such, regular maintenance inspections and services on electric cars are of equal importance as with their petrol or diesel counterparts.

As a leading auto service centre providing car repairs, maintenance and MOTs across central England, our highly experienced staff are on hand to deliver the best quality service as well as sound, honest advice. Contact our team of experts today to book in your MOT or to discuss your individual requirements.

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