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How Do I Prepare For Mot And Service

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  • 09-09-2022
How Do I Prepare For Mot And Service

How do I prepare for MOT and service? Find out more about pre-MOT checks to do yourself to prepare your car for an MOT test.

Pre-MOT checks to do yourself

Vehicles can potentially fail MOT tests for a variety of different reasons. During an MOT test, a number of different tests are carried out across every single area of the vehicle. The car only has to fail in a single one of these tests in order for the entire MOT to be a fail overall.

We would recommend preparing a checklist a few weeks before your MOT is due in order to ensure that your vehicle is in the best possible condition by the time that your car is inspected and tested. Some of the most common reasons why people's vehicles fail their MOT testing is due to areas of the car that can very simply be checked at home.

If you are capable of assessing these areas of the car in advance before the MOT check takes place, then you can fix any of the glaring issues and boost the chance of you passing the MOT process.

Before your MOT takes place, you should be sure to cover the following areas:


First, you should turn on the vehicle's ignition and ensure that:

The car's horn is working.

The wipers and windscreen washers are functioning properly.

The screen wash has been filled up.

The windscreen wiper's rubber blades are in good condition, with no sections missing from the wiping edge or loose strips. If the rubber blades do have any issues, then replacements should be sourced as soon as possible from a motor retailer. They are easy to fit, so this does not need to be done by a professional.

All seat belts in the car must function correctly with no fraying or cuts.

Mountings in the car need to be secure, as well as the belts being free from damage. Belts also need to engage and disengage easily.

When you pull quickly on a seatbelt, the inertia reel should lock the belt into place.


Have a look at your vehicle and inspect the tyres. You need to ensure:

The tyres have no bulges or cuts on their sidewalls. Their tyres should also be free from objects stuck in the tread.

The tyre tread needs to be at a minimum of 1.6mm. To measure this, you can use a tread depth gauge or simply use the rim of a twenty-pence piece. Put the coin in the grooves that run around the tyre. If the rim that runs around the edge of the coin can stand, then the tyres need to be replaced.

Make sure that every tyre matches the tyre that is opposite on the same axle when it comes to size and construction type.

If the car holds a spare tyre, then this tyre must be road-legal also.


Lighting is one of the most common reasons why people's vehicles fail their MOT checks. Ensure that you check the following:

All exterior bulbs on the car are functioning.

Every light's lens is completely free of any damage or cracks.

Make sure you check the headlights in both the main beam and dipped modes, stop lights, front and rear side lights, reversing lights, front and rear fog lights, and all the car's indicators are working properly.

How Do I Prepare For Mot And Service?


Take a look at the exterior of your vehicle. There should be absolutely zero sharp edges that could potentially injure pedestrians. The car's numbers also need to be fully secure.

Access is another important note; you should be able to access the car through every door and open the doors from both the inside and the outside.


Brakes are one of the most difficult elements of a pre-MOT check because there is only so much you can analyse before specialist equipment becomes necessary. But there are some small checks you can do:

Take a look underneath the car's bonnet and ensure that the fluid level present in the brake system's reservoir is somewhere in between the min and max indicator levels. If you need details on where to find this indicator, be sure to consult your car's handbook.

Try putting on your car's handbrake. If you really have to pull the level right up with a lot of clicking, then you should advise the MOT tester that the handbrake cable likely needs to be adjusted.

The other side of this issue is if the handbrake can easily be released just by a small tap on the lever. In these scenarios, the handbrake needs tightening.


Just like with the brakes, it can be difficult to properly check the car's steering without using any kind of specialist equipment:

The steering wheel needs to be secured quite firmly to the column. If there is any looseness or you are feeling unusual movements while you steer, then there may be some kind of wear to the column support.

Make sure you listen for any knocking sounds while you turn the steering wheel from full lock state to full lock state, as well as any loud whining from the power steering pump. Both of these signs can indicate that components might be worn and need replacing.

steering wheel checks

Shock Absorbers

Dampers and shock absorbers cannot have any leaks or any differences in their absorbing pressure. You can get a general idea of if your vehicle's shock absorbers are faulty by bouncing each of the corners of the car.

The vehicle should be going down under pressure and then rising back up to its full height before it then lowers back down slightly. Excessive bouncing shows that the dampers are either faulty or worn and require replacement.

Windscreen & Mirrors

Any small chips caused by stones in your windscreen will not necessarily mean an MOT failure, but you should be vigilant about the following:

The whole area that is swept by the vehicle's wipers needs to have no chips or cracks

If there is any damage outside of this area, then it needs to be no bigger than 10mm in diameter

Mirrors need to be very securely fixed to the vehicle, and their glass needs to be in great condition


The vehicle's exhaust needs to be tightly secured and have zero corrosion

Try revving the engine when the car is in a stationary position with the doors open and the parking brake on. If you hear any strange noises or rattles, then this can indicate that the exhaust may need replacing

Exhaust Checks

When do I need to get an MOT test?

Once your car is three years on from the original date of registration, then it will need its first MOT test. At this point, the car will then need to be retested every single year on the anniversary of the previous MOT test.

After the vehicle has passed its MOT test, you will receive a certificate with the date of the test printed on it. It will also have an expiry date printed so that you will know exactly when your vehicle requires a new MOT test. If you wish, then you can have the car retested up to a month, minus a day, before the certificate expires so, you can keep the MOT's original renewal date.

If you have an unfortunate scenario where your car fails its MOT, then you can still only drive your vehicle if the current MOT certificate is still valid, and inside the report for the newly failed MOT, it lists that no 'dangerous' problems were identified. Otherwise, you need to have the car repaired before you are allowed to drive.

If you decide that you are going to take the vehicle to another garage in order to have all the failed aspects of the car repaired or replaced, then your car will still need to meet all of the minimum standards of roadworthiness at all times; otherwise, you can be fined.

If you cannot find your MOT certificate, then you can very easily use the tool found on the website to find out when your next MOT check is due. All you need to do is enter your vehicle make, as well as your registration number.

This process will check your current MOT status and your tax status extremely quickly so you can find out when your MOT certificate expires. It will also give you the opportunity to order a new MOT certificate so you can replace the lost one.

There is no grace period with an MOT. The moment that your MOT expires, it becomes illegal to drive your car anywhere. Doing so risks fines and prosecution.

You can also not tax a vehicle without it having a current MOT certificate.

You cannot drive a vehicle without it having a valid MOT certificate. The only exception to this rule is that you are able to drive your car to the place where the MOT test is taking place.

This is as long as the test has already been booked in. If you are the owner of a vehicle and not planning on driving it at any point, then you need to keep the car off the road and legally declare it as SORN. This stands for Statutory Off Road Notification.

In the UK alone, there are an estimated two and a half million cars that are subject to some kind of outstanding recall notice. Even though it is illegal to sell a car that has a recall notice, there is absolutely no legal requirement for the owner to fix their own car if it has been recalled.

In order to address this issue, government bodies have plans to integrate vehicle recall systems and MOT systems in a clearer way. This change could lead to vehicles failing their rest if they have a recall fault that has not been dealt with in the last twelve months since the last MOT test.

There have been no official announcements from authorities as to when these changes will be made or if they will be made at all, but if you have concerns about your vehicle that is subject to a recall scheme, then you can check the government's recall database for more information.

Of course, you can look either online or in a directory that has been delivered to your door, but the best place to go is somewhere you can trust. A garage with a good reputation that has been recommended to you.

Try asking around with people who have had their MOT check done recently; where did they go? Did they have a good experience?

How long does an MOT take & what gets covered?

The entirety of an MOT test does not take too long at all. The average MOT check takes around forty-five minutes to complete, and at most, it will take around an hour. Some car owners will even choose to wait close by the garage while the car is being inspected because they can easily pick their car back up afterwards.

If there are repairs necessary after the test has taken place, then the process will take significantly longer. During the testing, the following sections of the vehicle will be inspected:

Electrical equipment - This includes fog lights, brake lights, indicators, and the headlights

Steering - This includes the condition of the wheel, as well as its strength

Tyres - This includes the condition of the tyres and their tread depth

Suspension - This includes the shock absorbers and their wear and corrosion

Brakes - This includes the overall condition of the car's pedals and the efficiency of their braking

Seats and seat belts will always be examined

Emissions and exhaust - This includes checking for any potential leaks in the fuel system and the exhaust

Windscreen, wipers, and mirrors - This includes any damage that the windscreen has taken, as well as the condition of the wiper blades

The Vehicle Identification Number (VPN) - It is important that the vehicle has its VPN on display at all times.

MOT Exemptions

Cars that are older than forty years old or higher are exempt from having an MOT check. This is unless the vehicle has had any major changes to its system.

Are you looking for Jaguar servicing in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire?  Contact our Jaguar specialist today.

We offer a complete range of Jaguar servicing for Peterborough and the surrounding areas including: Huntingdon, Stamford, Kettering, Northampton, Crowland, Market Deeping and Grantham.