Headlights and indicators
All of these must work properly, so check the headlights (main and dipped beam), sidelights, rear lights, hazard warning lights (ignition on and off) and finally indicators. If you have clear lenses, the light emitted needs to clearly be orange.
Get a friend/partner to check that the brake lights come on when you press the brake pedal. This includes any additional brake lights at the top of the rear screen or similar.
Give this a wipe, it sounds silly but if it’s not legible it can fail. Also, if you have a personalised plate, the spacing must comply.
Always top up your screenwash before going for an MOT – something as simple as a splash of water could end in a fail at some test centres.
Wheels and tyres
A quick check for damage is a good start. The legal tread depth for tyres is 1.6mm as far as an MOT is concerned, but it’s good practice to get them changed when they are down to 3mm.
Check that the rubbers aren’t split or damaged and also check that they clear the screen.
If you’ve got any chips or cracks larger than 40mm in your windscreen, it will fail. This reduces to just 10mm if the damage is in front of the driver.
Give it a press, if it makes a noise, you’ll be fine.
Seats and Seatbelts
All seats must be securely fitted, with the driver’s seat being able to adjust forwards and backwards. Pull out each seatbelt, checking for any damage to the material. Tug sharply on each belt to ensure it reacts as it should if you had to brake hard.
Fuel and engine oil
Make sure that the oil level is as it should be and also make sure it has enough fuel. A test centre could turn you away if either of these are low as it will mean that they are unable to carry out emissions testing.
By Ben Morley