Passing Your MOT: The Ultimate Checklist

If you live in the UK and own a car that is coming up for its third birthday (fourth birthday in Ireland) then you will need to get your car ready for its first annual MOT inspection. Make sure you choose a convenient date as future tests will need to be scheduled around the same anniversary. You can get your test done in the month leading up to the anniversary date without losing that renewal date. If you are at all nervous about your MOT, perhaps because it will be your first, here are some things to expect.

Roadworthiness Test

The MOT is not about ensuring that your vehicle is in good running order, it is about ensuring that you are roadworthy, that your car is safe to be on the road and that you would be able to control it in the event of an incident occurring.

Six (Approximately) Sections on the Test

The MOT test sheet is divided into six sections:

Interior checks: As it sounds, this part of the test is largely conducted with the inspector sitting in the driving seat, making sure that visibility to the front is clear, that seatbelts are present and in good condition, and that the doors, mirrors and horn are all in good working order. This section also checks your dash for warning lights as well as checking the steering and the light switches.

Exterior checks

For this part, the inspector goes around the outside of the vehicle – sometimes with an assistant inside the car to switch on lights, test the dimmer switch, and put on the hazards – and checks that the lights are working properly from the point of view of other road users, checks the general condition of the body, and ensures the wheels and tyres are robust and in good condition and that the number plate is tightly fixed.

Under bonnet checks

The inspector will then lift the hood and check various systems: braking, exhaust, and fuel, as well as looking at the structure of the suspension and steering.

Under vehicle checks

Then the inspector will put your car on a pit – or slide underneath, if using a garage that is not equipped with a pit – to check out the underside. Here, they are looking for anything they couldn’t see from above or outside: the remainder of the braking and exhaust systems, the condition of the fuel tank, the insides of the wheels and their bearings and the general condition of the underneath of your car.


Your engine will be left to run for a while with a tester placed over the exhaust to see which, if any, harmful chemicals have made it through the catalytic converter or other emission-suppressing technology your vehicle has. These results will be noted, with overly high emissions earning you a fail.


Finally, having checked that the brake lines are in place and properly topped up with brake fluid if necessary, the inspector will put them to the test, trying your emergency or hand-brake, and your service brakes (the official name for your ‘normal’ brakes!)

You can see from the above list that there are some things that only a mechanic could assess – but there are also plenty that a layman can take upon themselves to check and fix, if necessary. Things like testing your own brakes, topping up your fluids, making sure there is good visibility from the driver’s seat and ensuring that your number plate is firmly attached might seem like small things: but they could make the difference between a first time pass for your MOT. If your vehicle’s test is due and you are looking for a trust-worthy garage then we recommend Elite Direct. You can book your MOT Test Online today at Elite Direct London Branch. They have a well-equipped garage and a very friendly team. We assure that you will not be disappointed.