MOT Testing & Car Servicing Edinburgh

MOT Services - Vehicle, Motorcycle Service, Car Repairs and Maintenance in Edinburgh, Lothian

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Repairs and Maintenance


15 point MOT check-list

15 easy checks to prepare your vehicle for an MOT test. Help your vehicle pass using this straightforward preparation list to avoid the irritation of an MOT test failure!

Your vehicle needs an MOT on a yearly basis once it's three years old. Taking the time to check your vehicle for its MOT will minimise the possibility of it failing for something minor which could have been rectified before the test.

You’ll also reduce the annoyance and hassle of having to take the vehicle back to get a re-test.

There are some reasonably easy checks you can make yourself before an MOT to help increase the likelihood of your car, van or motorcycle passing.

It is also a worthwhile exercise getting your vehicle serviced before an MOT is due which should identify any faults which it could fail on. A regularly serviced engine can also help it pass the emissions test.

1. Lights

Nearly 20% of a good number of MOT failures result from a broken bulb. Use the list below to ensure you’ve checked all the bulbs. Reverse up to a wall or garage door so you can see brake and sidelights if you don’t have anyone to help you to check them.

headlights main beam & dipped
sidelights front & rear
indicators front, rear and side repeaters
brake lights  
number plate lights only on rear number plate
reverse light not section of mot but worth checking!
rear fog light front fog light not checked
hazards check circuit separately from indicators

Some indicator and brake lights have a colour coating which can fade or even peel simply through age. If the colour flakes off, the bulb can shine white and could just be enough for a test failure. All light fittings should be secure without cracks or signs of damage.

2. Wheels & Tyres

Each tyres ought to be above the legal minimum tread depth of 1.6mm across ¾ with the tyre’s width and there should be no damage to the tyres.

Check for splits between the treads, bulges or cuts on the sidewalls. Check all the tyre sizes - both front tyres should be exactly the same size and also the rear tyres should be a similar size.

Make sure there are no missing wheels nuts or major damage to the wheels themselves. A spare wheel isn't a necessity and not necessary to pass an MOT and isn't checked unless it is actually getting used like a road wheel at the time of test. A ‘space saver’ spare wheel fitted like a road wheel won't pass the MOT.

3. Windscreen

Look at the windscreen for chips and cracks. The vehicle will fail the MOT if chips over 10mm are within the driver’s line of sight. Any scratching that limits the drivers vision may also be a reason for a failed test. Get small stone chips repaired as quickly as possible to avoid them spreading and reduce the requirement and cost of a new windscreen.

4. Wipers

The wiper blades ought to be secure and connect with the windscreen effectively over entire length. Lift them up and check the appearance for perished rubber ensuring there's no splitting and they are safely and properly connected to the wiper arm.

5. Washer jets

Top-up your screen wash before taking your vehicle for it’s MOT and try out the jets to be sure they operate correctly.

Blocked nozzles can often simply be cleared using a pin.

6. Steering

The steering system isn’t something you’ll have the ability to check easily yourself except by ensuring the wheels can move freely from lock to lock and also the power steering is functioning correctly if installed.

7. Fuel

The fuel cap has to lock securely and the rubber cap seal shouldn’t be split or perished. An obvious point but make sure there is enough fuel in the vehicle to complete the test!

8. Exhaust

The exhaust must be held on securely with no holes. If the car exhaust is sounding louder than usual there’s a high probability of it having a hole somewhere along or inside it.

You can often tell by listening with your ear low to the floor when the vehicle is parked and you blip the accelerator.

Also if the exhaust clunks around the underside with the car when driving over bumps it may be a sign that the rubber mounts could be worn and need replacement.

9. Horn

The horn must work and be loud enough to attract the attention of pedestrians or other motorists. Musical type air horns are almost a guarantee of failure!

10. Mirrors

The mirrors must be set up and secure, i.e. not held on the car with sticky tape and string. The mirror glass shouldn’t be cracked or smashed.

11. Body

The car’s bodywork should be free of heavy corrosion, not badly damaged or have sharp edges protruding.

The front doors should work from the inside and outside and the rear doors will also have to open so the rest of the test can be completed eg seatbelt checks. The boot and bonnet must also close securely.

12. Brakes

Most checks around the braking mechanism require expert understanding but there are several easy items you can test. Ensure the rubber on each pedal isn’t worn away and if your vehicle has ABS, the warning light goes out once the car is started. The hand brake should also be able to hold the car on a hill.

13. Number plates

Back and front plates have to be secured properly for the car to pass and not be cracked, faded or hidden by dirt.

The letters and numbers ought to be standard and evenly spaced.

14. Seat belts

All of the seatbelt buckles should connect and fasten securely and lock whenever you give them a firm, fast tug. The belts must be in good condition and not cut or frayed. The seats have to be firmly bolted down. You can check by holding underneath each seat, lifiting and rocking it.

15. Emissions

The easiest method to ensure your car or vehicle passes the emissions test easily would be to get the vehicle serviced before an MOT is required.

If your car is mainly used for short local and mainly town travel it is a good idea to go for a longer motorway type journey where a higher engine speed can be reached for a longer period of time.

This can help to clear out sooty deposits in the engine ahead of the emissions test and assist it through its MOT.


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