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Compulsory MOT testing to restart on August 1: Here’s everything you need to check

Compulsory MOT testing to restart on August 1: Here’s everything you need to check


Here, we look through some of the key areas of your car to check prior to putting it through for its MOT.

The government has announced that it is bringing an end to the automatic extension to MOT testing introduced to keep key workers on the move during the coronavirus pandemic. Now however, as lockdown measures ease, MOT testing is becoming compulsory once more, with all cars with an MOT set to expire from August 1 requiring a test.

Here, we look through some of the key areas of your car to check prior to putting it through for its MOT.


It isn’t hard to work out why tyres are so important. After all, they’re the one point of contact that a car has to the road. Badly worn tyres or poor quality tyres can result in bad handling, poor efficiency and reduced wet braking performance - among other issues.

You need to check the tread depth of a tyre before putting a car through its MOT. The legal limit in the UK is 1.6mm throughout a continuous band in the middle of the tyre. The 20p test is an easy way to check; put the coin into the tyre’s tread and, if the outer band of the coin is obscured, then the tyre is safe. If you can see the outer rim, then you need to change the tyre.

Number plate

The number plate is an area of a car which is easy to miss, but it’s one that can easily cause a car to fail. Ensure that it’s clear and easy to read, with correct spacing and lettering. It’s got to be the right size too, and check that the lights which illuminate the plates are all working correctly too.

Headlights and indicators
Though during the summer months you might not be using your headlights half as much as when driving during the winter, they still need to be checked prior to an MOT. In addition, check that the indicators are working correctly, and give the hazards a press to ensure that they’re working too.

Brake lights

Brake lights are essential for ensuring that your car is safe, which is why they’re such a key part of the MOT test. They’re easy to check over at home, however, with one of the simplest ways to do it being to reverse close to a reflective panel - like a piece of glass, or a shiny garage door - and check your rearview mirror while pressing the pedal. It’ll be clear to see if one brake light isn’t working. 

Seats and seatbelts

Your car’s seats take a fair degree of punishment during daily driving, and they’re checked over by MOT testers to ensure that they’re still operating correctly. Before the test, check to make sure that the seats are moving smoothly and aren’t stuck or jammed in place. person buckling Seatbelt

While you’re there, give the seatbelts a checking over too. Pull them out of the reel to make sure that they’re working smoothly, and give them a sharp tug too to check that they lock up properly as they should in the event of an accident.


Here’s a really easy one - check the horn! It’s something that is often overlooked, but it needs to be working properly for your car to pass its MOT. Just refrain from testing it during the night.


Clearing your windscreen is essential to making safe forward progress - particularly in the summer months, when bugs and flies can easily make a screen smeary. It’s why you need to make sure that your screenwash is topped up - it’s usually found under the blue cap under the bonnet. If it’s low, top it up with the correct screenwash.

And since you’re at the windscreen to check the washers, why not give the windscreen a looking over too? Any damage larger than 40mm will result in an immediate fail, so look out for stone chips and cracks.

Windscreen wipers

The whole screen clearing process is let down if the wipers aren’t working effectively. Try them, and if there’s a rubbing noise or they smear washer fluid across the screen then they’re definitely worth replacing. Fortunately, they’re easy to replace and relatively inexpensive to buy too.

Engine fluid and fuel

Since MOT testing stations need to run the cars in order to assess emissions, you need to ensure that there’s enough fuel in the car’s tank before taking it to the station. Too low, and the testers can reject the car.

Car fluid

It’s also best to check that the car has plenty of coolant and oil in it too. Again, this is something testers will check and if they’re found to be too low then it could easily lead to a fail. 

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