How to prepare for an MOT

Published February 14, 2024
Categories: MOT Information

Wondering whether your vehicle will pass its upcoming MOT? With a quick pre-MOT check, you can identify and rectify a wide range of potential issues before they’re spotted in your official MOT test.

Fortunately, the expert team of experienced mechanics here at ART Garage Crewe has created a comprehensive list of things to check before your MOT to help boost your chances of passing without a worry.

MOT preparation checklist

Unsure what to check before an MOT? To ensure you don’t miss any obvious signs of MOT failure before you arrange your next MOT appointment, there are a number of key areas you should check – the vehicles lights, vision, wheels and tyres, and brakes.


Based on information provided by the RAC, light issues lead to MOT failure for nearly a fifth of all cars. Fortunately, many MOT failures as a result of light problems can be fixed quickly and easily in a pre-MOT check.

You should check that all your lights, such as the brake, hazard, indicator, and full beam lights, are functioning correctly with help from a friend walking around your car. Simply ensure there are no blown bulbs and consider cleaning or repairing the lights if they are obscured by dirt, damage, or even stickers.

Any blown bulbs can often be easily replaced yourself at an affordable price without contacting a garage, while a good home clean should also help you to remove thick dirt and stubborn stickers with ease.

You may also want to check that other important aspects of your vehicle aren’t obscured by dirt, stickers, or damage, such as your mirrors and number plate. This is because number plates must be readable to ensure your vehicle passes the MOT.

Wheels and tyres 

Tyres that are in poor condition, due to uneven or abnormal tyre wear, are a common reason for MOT failure. Taking a good look at your tyres is therefore an important pre-MOT check. This includes checking your tyre tread depth (the measurement between the outside of the tyre and bottom of the main grooves).

While a vehicle’s tyres typically start with 8-9mm of tread depth, the tyres are worn down naturally over time which significantly reduces this depth. If the tyre tread depth becomes too worn down and falls beneath the minimum legal requirement which is 1.6mm (for the middle three quarters of the tyre) in the UK, then your vehicle will fail its MOT.

Fortunately, a pre-MOT check you can do to help you determine whether your tyre depth is passable involves nothing more than using a 20p coin. Simply insert this 20p coin into the grooves of the tyre tread and check to see whether the outer band of the coin can still be seen. 

If the band can’t be seen, this means the tyre tread depth is adequate. If it can be seen, you may want to consider changing any low tread tyres before your MOT.

Not to mention, tyres with clear damage such as crack and cuts or tyres that haven’t been replaced in more than five years will also need replacing if you want to increase your chances of passing your MOT.


Issues with vehicle brakes are actually one of the leading causes of MOT failures according to the RAC. Unfortunately, problems with braking are less evident than issues with your vehicle’s lights, wheels, or tyres, so it’s important to pay attention to any unusual sounds caused by braking.

Squealing or grinding when braking are the most common indicators that your brakes aren’t working correctly. If so, it’s often worth taking your vehicle to a garage before your MOT to determine whether the noise is a result of a faulty handbrake, brake pads, or brake discs.

Other indicators that your brakes require attention before you send your vehicle off for a MOT includes the vehicle moving on a hill despite the handbrake being engaged. If this happens to you, you should take your vehicle to a garage as soon as possible.


Having a clear vision of the road ahead and behind (using your mirrors) is essential for safe driving. This is why anything obscuring your vision out of your windscreen or using your mirrors can lead to automatic MOT failure.

As a result, one of the most crucial (but often overlooked) pre-MOT checks at home that you should be doing is removing items like hanging air fresheners and other dangling accessories. These accessories are often hung from the rear-view mirror and can impede the driver’s view.

Checking your horn works with a quick beep of your horn is also essential to helping your vehicle pass its MOT!

Ready to book your MOT test?

Regardless of whether you’re preparing for your very first MOT or you’ve booked your vehicle in for countless MOTs, it always pays to conduct a quick pre-mot check.

If you’ve carried out all your pre-MOT checks at home and feel confident about the condition of your vehicle, then it’s time to schedule your MOT with an official test centre. 

At ART Garage Crewe, our affordable MOT services make our local garage a popular choice for vehicle owners both within Crewe and the surrounding areas.

With help from our fully equipped MOT test centre and high-end diagnostic tools, we can conduct comprehensive professional MOTs for both motorcycles and cars.

If your vehicle fails its MOT, doesn’t abide by the relevant rules and regulations, or simply isn’t roadworthy, we can carry out a wide range of repairs and part replacements where necessary using only genuine OEM parts to keep your vehicle running smoothly.

If you’d like to find out more about our MOT services or what to check before an MOT, please don’t hesitate to call us on 0127 021 4445. We also welcome enquiries submitted using our convenient online contact form.

For a dealership-standard MOT service for the fantastic price you’d expect from a local garage, please feel free to contact our helpful team and book your MOT test today.

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