Check your vehicle’s MOT status and history online
If you want to see if an MOT certificate is genuine or research to see if a vehicle has failed an MOT test, it is possible to check online through the Direct Gov website.
The online MOT status check gives you information about:
– the date of the last test
– mileage on the vehicle at the time of the test
– the expiry date of the test
You can compare the online information against the paper certificate to make sure it’s genuine.
The MOT history check will give you the following information:
– full test details
– mileage at the time of each test
15 POINT PRE MOT CHECKLIST
Just under twenty percent of MOT failures are caused by a dead bulb. Run through the list below to ensure you’ve checked all your bulbs. If you don’t have anyone to help you check your bulbs, park up close to a wall or garage door. It’s worth mentioning that some indicator and brake light bulbs have a colour coating which starts to peel as they get old. As the colour peels off, the bulb shines white and is a test failure, even though the bulb itself is working. Check the colours are correct at the same time as making sure they all work. Check all light fittings are secure and there and no cracks or damage.
|Headlights: Main beam and dipped|
Sidelights: Front & rear
Indicators: Front, rear & side
Number plate lights (only on the rear plate!)
Reverse lights (not actually part of an MOT but worth checking)
Rear fog light (front fogs not checked)
Hazard lights (check separately from indicators to make sure circuit works)
2. WHEELS & TYRES
The minimum legal tread depth for a tyre is 1.6mm in a continuous band around the tyre for ¾ of the tyre’s width.
Check for damage on the tyres such as splits in the tread, bulges or cuts in the sidewalls as these could cause the tyre to fail.
Take a look at the tyre sizes to make sure the front tyres are the same size and the rear tyres are the same size. (They can be different sizes front to back but not on the same axle.)
Check there are no missing wheel nuts or any large areas of damage to the wheels themselves.
A spare wheel is not actually a requirement for an MOT and it will not be checked unless it is being used on the car at the time. Note: A car will not pass an MOT with a temporary spare wheel (also known as a ‘space saver’) fitted as a road wheel.
Check over the windscreen for any chips and cracks. Chips over 10mm in the driver’s line of sight (roughly the width of the steering wheel) or over 40mm in the area swept by the wipers will cause the car to fail the MOT.
Any sort of heavy scratching that limits the driver’s vision will also cause the car to fail the test.
You can avoid small stone chips turning into cracks by getting them repaired as soon as possible. This will stop them spreading any further and potentially avoid fitting a new windscreen.
Wiper blades should clear the screen across their entire length. Check the rubber is not split or perished and that they are safely attached to the wiper arm.
5. WASHER JETS
Top up the screen wash before taking the car for an MOT and test the jets to make sure they operate correctly. Blocked nozzles can be easily cleared with a pin.
The steering system isn’t something you’ll be able to check easily apart from making sure the wheels can turn freely from lock to lock and the power steering is working correctly if you have it.
The fuel cap needs to lock securely in place and the seal inside the cap shouldn’t be split or perished.
The exhaust needs to be held on securely and not have any holes (apart from the obvious one at the end!). If your car exhaust is sounding louder than normal there’s a good chance it has a hole in it. You might be able to tell by getting your ear low to the ground on the driver’s side and listening carefully as you blip the accelerator (when the car is parked). If you go over a bump and the exhaust clunks on the underside of the car, the rubber mounts may be worn and in need of replacement.
The horn needs to work and be loud enough to attract the attention of pedestrians or other motorists. Musical air horns are a guaranteed fail!
The mirrors need to be in place and secure, i.e. not held to the car with sticky tape and string. The glass shouldn’t be cracked or smashed.
The car’s bodywork must be free from heavy corrosion, not be badly damaged or have sharp edges sticking out. The front doors should work from inside and outside and the rear doors will need to work so other parts of the test can be completed such as seat belt checks. The boot and bonnet need to close securely.
Most checks on the braking system require specialist knowledge but there are some easy things you can test. Make sure the rubber on all the pedals isn’t worn away and if your car has ABS, the warning light should go out after the car is started. The hand brake should hold the car on a hill.
13. NUMBER PLATES
Front and back plates need to be secured properly to the car and not cracked, faded or hidden by dirt. The letters and numbers should be standard and evenly spaced.
14. SEATS & BELTS
All the seat belt buckles should latch and fasten securely and lock when you give them a sharp tug. The belts need to be in good condition, not cut or badly frayed. The seats must be firmly bolted down; grab the base of each seat and try rocking it.
The best way to ensure your car passes the emissions test with ease is to have the car serviced prior to its MOT. On top of this, if your car hasn’t been run in a while or is mainly used for short town journeys, take it on a longer motorway type journey where a higher engine speed is sustained for a greater length of time. This helps to clean out sooty deposits from the engine prior to the emissions test.