MOT checks: how to prepare your car for the test

MOT checks

If your car is due its MOT test, you’ll want to make sure it passes first time. There are some basic MOT checks you can carry out at home to help see it through.

Remember, if you’re not sure how to carry out these MOT checks, or are unable to, your local Toyota dealer will be happy to help.

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Our dealers employ Toyota Trained Technicians who they know more about keeping your Toyota in good condition than anyone and that means only ever using genuine parts and offering free Visual Health Checks.

What is an MOT test?

The ‘Ministry of Transport’ test comprises a series of checks to ensure your car is roadworthy, safe and meets emissions standards. In most cases, a vehicle will require an MOT test when it reaches ‘the third anniversary of its registration’, as puts it, and yearly thereafter.

To put your vehicle through its MOT test, it is necessary to book an appointment at a garage or dealership that is authorised to conduct the test and issue the all-important pass certificate.

In most cases, the test will be completed in under an hour, depending on what the technician discovers during his examination. That’s where our basic checks can come in handy, because by spending a few minutes assessing the condition of your car before you leave it at the mercy of the test centre, you could save both time and money in the long run.

MOT checks 1. Headlights and indicators

Test all of your car’s headlights, sidelights, rear lights, hazard lights and indicators to make sure they work.

MOT checks 2. Brake lights

Ask a friend to check that the rear brake lights come on when you press the brake pedal – including any brake strip light. If you’re working alone, carefully reverse up to a reflective surface such as a window, wall or garage door and use your car’s mirrors to see for yourself.

MOT checks 3. Number plate

Make sure that the number plate is clean and readable – even a quick wipe with a cloth can make a big difference. The font and spacing of letters must comply with legal requirements to be passed by the MOT station.

MOT checks 4. Wheels and tyres

Check that wheels and tyres are undamaged. The minimum legal tyre tread depth is 1.6mm and any tyres with less than this will be marked as an MOT fail, although for safety’s sake, we advise that tyres are changed when tread reaches 3mm. If you’re in doubt about how much tread is left on a tyre, your local Toyota dealer can check for you and supply the right tyre if a replacement is needed.

MOT checks 5. Seats and seatbelts

The driver’s seat should adjust forwards and backwards and all seatbelts should be in good working order. Inspect the seatbelt’s full length for damage, and tug sharply on all seatbelts to check that they react as they’re supposed to if you have to brake severely.

MOT tip 6. Windscreen

Check the view from the front of the car – any damage larger than 40mm is likely to cause a fail, as will any damage wider than 10mm within the sweep of the windscreen wipers.

MOT tip 7. Windscreen wipers

Any tears or holes in the wiper rubber can cause a fail, so as part of your MOT checks make sure your wipers are able to keep your windscreen clean.

MOT tip 8. Screenwash

Something as simple as an empty screenwash container can cause an MOT fail, so if you have some screenwash liquid, top up the container before the test. Your Toyota dealer can supply high-quality grime-fighting screenwash if needed.

MOT tip 9. Horn

As part of your MOT checks, press the horn button to make sure it works – if it doesn’t, your Toyota dealership will need to repair or replace it.

MOT tip 10. Fuel and engine oil

Make sure your car is filled with enough fuel and engine oil – both are required to test your car’s emissions levels. If you are unsure about the type of oil that should be used, your Toyota dealer can supply the right kind.

Note: When checking fluid levels and handling parts that could be become hot to the touch (eg bulbs), it’s always best to ensure that the vehicle has had an opportunity to cool down fully.

Other areas that will be assessed by the MOT tester include:

Towbar (if fitted)
Fuel system
Exhaust (system and emissions)
Bonnet and boot latches
Braking system
Steering and suspension
Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
Electrical wiring

See more information on MOTs at

Read more: Keep your car germ-free – 40 areas to clean


  1. Your post gives some very useful tips on things one should consider before applying for MOT test. It can be very useful to any one who want their car pass in MOT test.

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