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Checks to increase your success of passing your MOT

4 min to readDriver safety
Get your vehicle ready for its MOT with these essential checks to increase your chances of passing without issues. From cleaning both interior and exterior to checking lights, tyres, and fluid levels, make sure your vehicle is ready for inspection.
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In the UK, MOT tests are a vital part of ensuring road safety and vehicle compliance. However, failing an MOT can be inconvenient and costly, leading to repairs and retests. The good news is, with proper preparation, you can help your chances of passing the MOT test first time. In this article, we'll outline some essential checks you can perform to ensure your vehicle is ready for its MOT, helping you sail through the inspection process and back on the road in no time.

Most common causes of MOT failures to watch out for:

Did you know: If you’ve booked a collection and delivery appointment for your MOT and any of the issues below are identified by the driver when they come to collect, they could refuse to drive your vehicle and a new MOT appointment will need to be arranged.

Vehicle Maintenance Essentials

Maintaining your vehicle is vital for road safety and your MOT test. Here, we cover in more detail, key areas like windscreen care, tyre checks, lighting inspection, brake assessment, and dashboard warning lights. Regular maintenance checks can help ensure your vehicle runs smoothly - and passes its MOT with ease.


Check for cracks and chips daily - especially in zone A (image below), which would be classed as an MOT failure. It’s not just damage in the driver’s eyeline, it also includes things blocking visibility (such as faulty windscreen wipers, sat-navs, or even air fresheners!).



Checking your tyres regularly is vital. The legal requirement is that tyres need 1.6mm of tread across the central three quarters of the tyre. Use the 20p test to check your tread: insert a 20p in the tread and if you can see the outer band, the tread is too low.


Don’t just rely on the tread you can see, always check:

Ignoring your tyre tread and wear could not only result in an MOT failure and delays in getting your vehicle back, but you could be fined up to £2,500 and receive three penalty points per tyre!

Lighting and signalling

Although vehicles will often warn you of issues with lights or indicators, you can’t rely on this. Switch all your lights on and walk around your vehicle to check they’re working. Do the indicators flash as they should? Don’t forget the number plate light. Ask someone to stand behind the vehicle to check the brake lights as you press the brake pedal. It’s also worth checking the condition of the lights. Plastic lenses can get misty over time and look out for any cracks in your lights too where water could get in.


Listen out for squeaking or grinding noises from your brakes, both are signs that the pads could be worn. When braking, does it stop in a straight line, or does it pull to one side? Don’t forget your handbrake, too. To check this, you can stop your car on a hill and apply the handbrake. Does it hold the vehicle? If not, it might need adjustment.

Warning lights on dashboard

Dashboard warning lights serve as crucial indicators of potential issues within your vehicle. Ignoring these warnings could not only mean failing your MOT but it also compromises your safety and that of other road users. Key warning lights to look out for include, Electronic stability control (ESP), Safety restraint systems (seatbelts), Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and Tyre pressure monitoring sensors.

We explore dashboard warning lights in more detail in our article here Car and Van Dashboard Warning Lights: Know Their Meanings

Find out more

As we’ve discussed in our article, it’s important to make time for regular vehicle maintenance and checks – not just at MOT time.

If you have a LeasePlan vehicle and it's maintained by us our Service Booking Line is there to help or you can book online here: MOT | Book your service| LeasePlan

If you arrange your own servicing, please speak to your usual garage or MOT centre about having your test carried out.

Useful links and further reading

Published at 14 May 2024
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14 May 2024
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