Every UK car older than three years must have a valid MOT (Ministry of Transport) test certificate which needs to be renewed annually. This test is mandatory as it determines whether or not the car is safe to be on the road. That means that if the car does not pass the test, it is unfit to drive and must be repaired to conform to UK Law standards.

If you want to reduce the chance of failing your MOT due to minor faults, there are some checks you can do yourself at home beforehand. Read more to find out how you can carry these checks out safely.

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Before your MOT is due for renewal you will need to ensure you have all the relevant documents ready for the test and carry out some quick checks to confirm your car is working correctly. You can fail your MOT based on the smallest issues that can be easily fixed before the test by preparing your car.



  • Windscreen - It’s important to thoroughly examine your windshield and windscreen wipers for the smallest scratches, cracks or chips as this can be a big factor in determining a pass or fail. If there any chips with cause for concern, you can still pass if they are under 10mm in diameter and do not obstruct the drivers view.
  • Mirrors - All mirrors must be adjusted correctly and aligned in the sight of the driver. A thorough clean with Turtle Wax MAX Power Car Wash will ensure that the view is not distorted by dirt or grime.
  • Lights - All lights must be working correctly, this means; headlights, taillights, brake lights, fog lights, indicators and sidelights. As headlight visibility is another factor within your MOT inspection, we recommend to remove any oxidation for increased visibility using the Turtle Wax Headlight Lens Restorer Kit. For more guidance on how to restore your headlights and taillights, visit our how-to article.
  • Bodywork - Although rust on the bodywork cannot prevent a car from passing it’s MOT, rust on any major parts of the car, such as the engine, can be an instant fail. Regular car washing and maintenance can prevent rust from occurring.
  • Wheels - Legally, the tread depth of your tyres must be a minimum of 1.6mm continuously around the circumference. Ensure that there are no cracks or foreign objects caught in your wheels before giving them a clean with Turtle Wax Wheel Cleaner.
preparation checklist for exterior


  • Brake fluid - With your car on a flat surface with a cool engine, have a look for the master cylinder and check that the fluid is between the min and max lines. The colour of the fluid should be amber or clear colour - if it’s brown, your fluid needs changing.
  • Engine oil - Once again, with a cool engine and flat surface, start with a clean dipstick by removing any previous oil and then dip it back into the oil. The oil level should be between the min and max lines.
under the hood


  • Warning lights - Taking your car for an MOT with a dashboard lit up with warning lights will not help it to pass first time. It is best practice to regularly check your dashboard lights and fix any problems as they occur to ensure everything is working properly.
  • Interior clean - To make it easier for the person carrying out the MOT, give the inside of your car a good clean and take out any rubbish. Freshen up the interior surfaces a with Turtle Wax Fresh Shine and deodorise your upholstery with Turtle Wax Interior 1 Multi-Purpose Cleaner. This will improve the look of your interior and keep it in good condition. The seatbelts will be tested to ensure that they are fit for purpose so ensure that they all click and lock correctly.
  • Horn - Give your horn a quick beep as this will also be tested as a safety measure to ensure you can alert other drivers. It must work to pass and be loud enough for other vehicles to hear.
  • Steering - Steering is difficult to test or fix at home but you can get any issues fixed before your MOT if you notice any problems.
preparation checklist for interior


Depending on where you book your test, some centres will require you to bring the following documents:

  • Appointment letter
  • Service history and MOT certificate
  • Proof of address/ ID
  • Vehicle registration logbook V5C
  • Vehicle insurance certificate

However, many test centres will not require all, if any, of these documents as they are now accessible online for most MOT approved test facilities.

during your mot


  • After your MOT the vehicle tester will inform you if your vehicle has passed or failed. If it has passed you are free to drive your car away with your renewed MOT certificate.
  • If the assessor finds any faults with the vehicle they will categorise them as minor, major or dangerous. Any dangerous faults will result in a fail and you will not be provided with an MOT certificate or be allowed to drive your car on the road.
  • Any minor or major faults will need to be repaired and depending on the severity may stop you from driving the vehicle away that day. Your assessor will talk you through what caused your car to fail before you make any decisions on repairs etc. Examples of minor faults include tyres almost reaching their minimum tread depth and early signs of worn-out brake pad.
after your mot


  • It’s a good idea to keep on top of your car’s maintenance throughout the year to avoid any surprises when it’s tested. Keep your car cleaned and prepared for any weather to avoid rusting. It’s worthwhile using a kit like the Turtle Wax Headlight Restoration Kit to keep on top of headlight visibility throughout the year.
  • Book your MOT test appointment roughly a month prior to your certificate’s expiry date so that you will have time to do any repairs if needed. It’s important to know that your insurance is not valid without an MOT so driving your car on the road without a valid MOT certificate is illegal.
book your mot

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