MOT Checklist: Everything you need to know (2020)

MOT Checklist: Everything you need to know (2020)

Screen wash

Windscreen washer jets must be angled and pressured correctly. It might surprise you to know that even showing up with an empty screen wash tank can result in a fail, so raid your garage shelves for a bottle of screenwash! 

Seats and seatbelts

Seatbelts save lives, which is why they’re thoroughly checked during an MOT test. The belts themselves must extend and retract as intended, be in good usable condition (ie not about to rip) and clip securely into the fastener. 

An older car might fail its test if the seatbelt anchorage points (usually the top and bottom of the B-pillar) are excessively damaged or corroded, as this significantly reduces the device’s ability to keep the occupant in place during an impact. 

Fuel and engine oil

It might seem obvious, but it’s a good idea to make sure your car has enough fuel for the MOT test to be carried out. The tester will run the car for a few minutes during the emissions test, and will likely move it around the workshop for different parts of the process. 

The same goes for oil; check your car’s dipstick before heading to the garage to make sure the engine’s not in any danger of running dry. An MOT tester is within their rights to refuse to test any car with low fluids. 

What are the most common reasons for MOT failure?

It might surprise you to learn that the most common reason for MOT failure is also one of the cheapest faults to rectify. Official data from the DVSA shows that around 19% of vehicles fail for a lighting issue, which can usually be attributed to nothing more than a blown bulb. Best practice is to check that the indicators, headlights, brake lights and reverse lights all function correctly before the MOT test.

Suspension faults are the second most common, but can be much more expensive to fix. Testers won’t like leaky shock absorbers, cracked springs or corroded mounting points, so get underneath with a torch and look for any signs of imminent failure. Also, keep an ear out over potholes and speedbumps, as worn bushings and loose top mounts will make a loud knocking noise.