Secrets to passing your MOT

8th September 2015

September is a popular time for MOT testing as a high proportion of new cars are registered during this month. As we draw closer to MOT test deadlines many of us are left worrying that our vehicles may fail their MOTs.

Figures from the DVSA (formally VOSA) tell us that around 40% of cars fail their MOT test first time around, so it is no wonder that many of us dread the examination!

We delved a little closer into these findings and discovered that the majority of cars that were doomed to MOT failure first time around, were failed for minor issues that could have easily been avoided!

To make sure that you avoid unnecessary retesting fees, The Malvern Tyres Group has put together a checklist of actions you can take to ensure that your vehicle passes its MOT first time.

Tyres and Wheels

As a car owner, tyre maintenance is one of the most important jobs you have, so you should already be checking your tyres on a regular basis. Before the MOT test, do make sure that you perform all the usual safety checks. This includes visually inspecting your tyres for damage, including cuts and bulges, and checking your tyre pressure. You must also inspect your tread depth.

The legal minimum for tyre tread is 1.6mm, so ensure that you meet this requirement or have your tyres replaced as this is an instant MOT fail. Take a look here for more information on checking your tyres.

MOT checkers will also inspect the condition of your wheels, so check for any cracks or distortion.


Broken lights are one of the most common reasons for MOT failure, but also one of the easiest to remedy. Before your MOT test, check that your headlights, indicators and brake lights all work correctly.

Checking these is relatively simple. Whilst parked, turn your headlights and hazard lights on, get out of the car and visually check that all are working. To check your brake lights, reverse up to a reflective surface and press the brake lights. Alternatively, you could ask a friend to stand behind your vehicle as you press the brake pedal.

If you find that you to have lights which do not work, your car manual will explain how you can change the bulbs, which you will be able to buy from your local garage or supplier.

Seats and Seatbelts

The driver's seat has to have the ability to be adjusted backwards and forwards for a vehicle to pass its MOT.

All seatbelts must also be in working order. This is fairly easy to check yourself; simply pull the whole length of each seat belt out and assess for damage. Tug each one sharply to ensure that it can perform efficiently.


All windscreen checks are primarily concerned with ensuring that the driver's view of the road is clear and unobstructed. For this reason, any windscreen damage in the area directly in front of the driver larger than 10mm will cause a fail. Any other parts of the windscreen must not display damage which is larger than 40mm.

Windscreen wipers will also be examined so if they are damaged have them replaced. You should also top up your screen wash and make sure that it is clean.


All your mirrors should be adjustable and in good condition. If for any reason they obstruct the driver's view of the road, your vehicle will not pass its MOT test.

Registration Plates

Registration plates, also known as the VIN (vehicle Identification Number), should be clearly visible and legible. The formatting should also be clear and easy to read. If you have had characters moved to create a word or you have altered your font, be aware that this can result in MOT failure.

Fluids and Engine Oil

Before your MOT make sure that your vehicle has enough of the required fluids needed to ensure a healthy engine. Topping up your engine oil, water and other necessary fluids is a simple task which will help you to pass the MOT test.

Clean your Car

This is not an MOT requirement, but having a clean car inside and outside gives the impression that your vehicle is well looked after. MOT testers do not have the right to refuse to retest your car if it is too dirty, but making a good impression is never a bad thing.

Your vehicle must undertake an MOT test every twelve months, once the vehicle is over three years old. To book an MOT test at one of our DVSA (formally VOSA) approved MOT testing centres simply contact your local Malvern Tyres Group branch to make an appointment.

We have 15 DVSA approved MOT testing centres situated across the Midlands, South West England, South Wales and Scotland. We also have a dedicated team of MOT testers trained to carry out your MOT test to government standards at each of our branches. Book your next MOT with the Malvern Tyres Group today.

Buy tyres online with The Tyre Group for fitment at one of our branches in the Midlands, South West England, South Wales and Scotland Contact The Tyre Group incorporating Malvern Tyres, Discount Tyres, County Tyre, King David Tyres Ltd and AutoTyre & Battery Co. We have more than 50 branches located throughout the Midlands, South West England, South Wales and Scotland