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DVLA MOT Test Checklist

Before your vehicle goes for its MOT, here's a Pre-MOT DVLA checklist of the things to check beforehand to cover the MOT basics and give you the best possible chance of an MOT pass.

Things to Check Before your MOT

It's MOT time again! Your vehicles MOT is an annual safety check to ensure it is roadworthy and meets regulations on emissions and is a legal requirement for all vehicles older than 3 years. When do I need an MOT?

Each year millions of vehicles fail their MOT test and a lot of those could be avoided with quick and easy checks like faulty bulbs or worn tyres. How much does an MOT cost?

Here's a checklist of things you can check at home before your vehicle goes for its MOT Test that should be done in good time before the test to allow you time to get any issues repaired.


  1. Things to Check Before your MOT
  2. Contents
    1. Inside the car
      1. The horn
      2. Windscreen
      3. Wipers
    2. Outside the car
      1. Lights
      2. Brakes and brake lights
      3. Tyres
      4. Number plate
      5. Wipers
      6. Engine bay checks
  3. Don't forget your mot
  4. What to do if your vehicle fails?

First, check when your MOT is due

If you haven't already, you should check when your MOT date is due so you know how long you have to check everything over on our MOT checklist.

Inside the car


Let's start with the easier part - inside the car! From inside the car, you should check the following items:

  1. The horn

    Although it might wake the neighbours, you need to make sure the horn is working by giving it a quick toot. If it's making a honk - great!
  2. Seatbelts

    All of your vehicle's seatbelts will be tested so they should be in good condition, without any rips or damage and should be secured to the vehicle. When pulled sharply, they should lock to prevent the passenger from moving forward.
  3. Mirrors

    Your mirrors all have to be in good condition and well secured. If they are missing it can fail its MOT.
  4. Dashboard

    You need to check the dashboard for any warning lights such as the Engine Management Light (or EML) or ABS light. These can signal that something is wrong with the vehicle and needs to be fixed as it can be dangerous. If you've got any warning lights that stay lit all the time then you need to get them repaired before your MOT test.
  5. Windscreen

    The driver's side of the windscreen must not have any obstructions or damage larger than 10mm. The rest of the windscreen must not have any obstructions or damage larger than 40mm.
  6. Wipers

    There are two things to check for your wipers but this first part you can do inside the car. Check that your wipers clear the screen when you use the windscreen washers.

    If they don't, then you might need to replace the wipers.
    If you don't have any washer fluid, you need to top this up.

Outside the car

Checking the wheels

Now you've checked all the things inside of the car, it's time to get outside and give the outside the once over. Here's what we're checking for:

  1. Lights

    You need to make sure the following lights are all working correctly: your headlights, indicators, hazard lights and the light that illuminates your number plate. If any of these are not working it's usually a bulb that needs replacing.
  2. Brakes and brake lights

    You need to check that all your brake lights are working. This can be tricky to do on your own so you might need to grab a friend to confirm that when you press down on the brake pedal the lights work correctly.
  3. Tyres

    The tyres on your vehicle are the only thing keeping you in contact with the road which is why it is so important to make sure they are in good condition. Tyres make up a large amount of MOT failures so it's work checking before you take it for your MOT test.

    Your tyre tread must have at least 1.6mm across the majority of the tread. If your tyre has splits or any other damage it can also be marked as an MOT failure. If you are not sure, you can take it to most garages and they will usually check this for free.
  4. Number plate

    Your numberplate has to be present and readable.  Make sure there is no damage and that it conforms to the number plate legal requirements. If it's not meeting all these requirements you might need to replace them.
  5. Wipers

    You checked the wipers from the inside of the vehicle but now we need to check the condition of the wipers from the outside. They should clear the windscreen effectively and have no rips or damage.
  6. Engine bay checks

    You should check to ensure your oil level is topped up and if your vehicle is diesel you might also need to top up AdBlue. The MOT tester might refuse to test the vehicle if the levels are too low.

    Make sure your battery is properly secured and there are no engine parts that are loose or leaking.

Don't forget your mot

If you leave your MOT until the last minute you will have less time to do our MOT checklist. We can send you a free MOT Reminder 30 and 14 days before your MOT date so you will have plenty of time to get any issues repaired before your MOT date.

Create a free MOT reminder

What to do if your vehicle fails?

If your vehicle fails its MOT test you will be given a report listing the reasons why it was refused. Sometimes this can be confusing but the MOT tester or garage should be able to give you details on the repairs and how much it will cost.

Read more: What do to if your vehicle failed its MOT