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How To Pass An MOT

An MOT is an annual check of your vehicle’s safety, emissions, and roadworthiness. MOTs are required on vehicles over 3 years of age and are there to ensure safety on the roads, tested against legal standards. Without an MOT certificate, you cannot legally drive.

Although MOT tests are thorough, the technician completing the test will not look at the engine, clutch or gearbox.

So how long does an MOT and service take? Usually, the MOT will take between 45 and 60 minutes, but you should prepare to be without your vehicle for the full day. This is because the length can rest on a number of factors: the garage you visit, the availability of technicians and if urgent repairs need to be made, for example. Remember, that if your car fails its MOT, the garage will not release it to you as it will not be road legal.

MOT major defects and minor defects

Since 2018, components in MOT tests have been categorised as either dangerous, major, or minor defects.

Dangerous MOT faults are critical to immediate safety, causing an instant MOT failure and requiring remedial work before the vehicle can be driven again. These sorts of faults are things that would make it completely unsafe to drive on public roads, such as all brake lights being defective.

Major MOT faults pose a potential risk to safety or increased emissions. They’ll also mean that your vehicle will fail its MOT and works should be carried out immediately.

Minor MOT faults are much less dangerous, meaning that a vehicle that only has minor faults can still pass its MOT. Although they’re not faults that need rectifying immediately, they will still be flagged as minor because they could reduce the chances of passing the next MOT and should still be fixed soon.

Which car parts are tested?

Before you take your car for its MOT, it’s worth checking a few things at home to save you time and money in the long run and increase the chances of your vehicle passing.

Although an MOT tester checks most parts of your car, an MOT is not the same as having your vehicle serviced, as the tester will not check your car’s general condition. More information about which parts of your car will be testedcan be found on the Government website.

Image courtesy of www.gov.uk.


Did you know that 1 in 5 vehicles fail the MOT test because of faulty lights or signalling issues? If you think that your car could be at risk of a fail because of its lights, you should check your headlight alignment before your MOT. You can do this quite simply by using a flat reflective surface like a garage door or wall to check. Also make sure that all of your lights are actually working.


Ensuring that the brakes in your car are in excellent condition is extremely important, as many cars fail the MOT on the performance of their brakes. Although you can’t check this prior to the car being tested, what you can do is make sure that you have enough brake fluid under the hood – it should be at a level between the minimum and maximum markers.


Suspension is crucial to the comfort and driveability of your car, allowing you to steer effectively and handle any bumps in the road. In order for you to pass the MOT, your suspension must be in good working order. If you’re experiencing a bumpier ride than usual, or if your car’s stability seems to be slightly off, it could be a problem with your suspension.


With an MOT, it’s not just what’s on the inside that counts. The condition of the body of your car is also crucially important, as in the event of an accident, it could fail to protect you adequately if there are cracks, dents or corrosion that could compromise its integrity. During the MOT, the technician will look at the doors, locks, chassis, engine mountings, bonnet and boot.


Before the MOT, make sure that your mirrors are clean and angled correctly so that they can be seen from the driver’s seat. The MOT check will include internal rear-view mirrors and wing mirrors.

Windscreen and wipers

During the MOT, your windscreen will be checked for chips and cracks in order to ensure that the driver has a clear view of the road. Give your windscreen a quick check before you go in for an MOT to get an idea of whether it’s in perfect condition or not.


Tyres are an incredibly important part of your day to day safety. To make sure that they pass the MOT, they should be road safe. This means that they shouldn’t have a tread depth of less than 1.6mm, and they should also be free from cuts and lumps in the sidewalls. Tyres should also be inflated to the correct tyre pressure.

Registration plate

Lastly, a dirty registration plate can result in a fine – as drivers and police may be unable to identify it. In order to make sure it’s readable, wipe it down with a wet cloth and if it’s damaged beyond repair, send off for a new one.

Mike Bourne

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