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Top 10 pre-MOT checks

It takes as little as two minutes to check the basics on your car and significantly increase its chances of passing the MOT test on the first go. Here are 10 areas to check

Words By Claire Evans

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1. Brake lights

With the car’s ignition turned on, press the brake pedal and ask someone to check the brake lights come on. You can also do this on your own by reversing the car up to a wall and looking over your shoulder.

2. Fuel and fuel cap

The filler cap needs to close securely and your car needs enough fuel in its tank for the tester to carry out emissions checks, so don’t go for an MOT test with the car running on empty.

3. Headlights and indicators

Check all the lights work properly, including full and dipped beam headlights, rear and side lights, hazard lights and all four indicators.

4. Horn

Beep it to ensure it works properly.

5. Numberplates

Ensure that both plates are clean and legible and check that the light above the rear numberplate is working.

6. Suspension

Press down heavily on each front wing of your car; if the car bounces up and down instead of returning to the right position, the shock absorbers may be worn.

7. Seat and seatbelts

Check that the driver’s seat slides back and forth smoothly, and look for fraying or damage on the seatbelts and give each one a good tug to ensure that it pings back as it should.

8. Wheels and tyres

Check all four wheels and the sidewalls of the tyres for damage; bulges, cracks and gouges out of the tyres are all fail items. Next, check the tyre tread depth is above the legal limit of 1.6mm; if your tyres have tread depth indicators, check that the tread hasn’t worn down to the level of the indicator. Alternatively, you can put a 20 pence coin into the area between the tread; if the raised part of the coin is above the tread, the tyre is too worn.

9. Windscreen

Check for chips and cracks; any crack larger than 40mm isn’t allowed, and any crack or chip covering 10mm or more in the area the windscreen wipers clean is also a fail item.

10. Windscreen wipers

Check for splits or perishing on all wipers, and check that they clear the screens properly when they’re used. Also check and top up the screen wash if necessary.