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MOT test time can be a challenging time unless your car is under the government set limit for new vehicles of 3 year or is exempt from the test, however Planet Auto has eased your challenges and solved the problem of a surprise bill with this simple checklist you can carry out yourself - giving you the chance to fix and replace any parts and or issues that will deem an MOT inspector to query your Pass. 

Exempt vehicles

A list of vehicles completely exempt from MOT test, for a period of time or completely - 

  • Cars under 3 years old from new
  • Cars, vans and motorcycles made before 1960
  • Tractors
  • Goods vehicles powered by electricity.

Buses, Lorries and Trailers require something called an Annual test.

11 Pre checks

ALWAYS REMEMBER - Before taking your car for an MOT it is always best to have a good look at the simple parts you may need to check in the test procedure, this pre M. O. T. checklist enables you to do this with the greatest of ease - this type of self pre check list is needed more so, due to the Ministry of Transport introducing charges for a re-test, except in certain test cases, a detailed list of the exceptions can be found on the:-


Official Government MOT site


MOT Checklist

Remember switch off your engine before looking under the bonnet, and if your working in the engine disconnect your battery too and above all - Always Take Care.
Save yourself some money with this quick Pre MOT checklist and have fun seeing what's what :)
This guide should give you enough of an insite into what is entailed in a Ministry of Transport Test and what to check, repair or replace in order to pass it. The majority of the pre MOT checklist items are easy to carry out , however always take care when checking these pre test check points.

Electrical car lighting checks

This includes all the following in working order:-
Headlights - Low beam & High beam
Brake lights
Side repeaters
No. plate lights
Drivers side Fog light
Hazard warning lights or emergency lights
Left and right, front and rear indicators
Rear number plate light

Interior checks

This includes the following:-
Car seatbelts with no tears or slices working buckles & fasteners.
Seat runners & mountings free from rust structurally sound and in correct working order, with no play.
Car mirrors, windscreen, windshield and wipers/washers free from cracks and fitted correctly.
Remember --- Stone chips are acceptable

Doors, locks and handles checks

All car doors should shut correctly, meaning their should be no rattles, and the doors shut completely flush and be completely secure.

External car bodywork & chassis checks

This includes sills, sharp edges e.g. cracked bumpers with protruding edges, the car has to be structurally sound therefore free from corrosion where structure is integral to the vehicle.

Engine bay & Engine component checks for the

Inspection including fuel & brake lines free from rust and fluid.

Exhaust system including CAT if required

The exhaust system including downpipe, manifold & rear silencer have to be sealed correctly, no rattles or excessive emissions, the emission acceptance Level is 14, anything under this is acceptable.

Tyre checks

All tyres need to be of the legal tread 1.6m depth across 2 3rds of the complete tire and have no splits, gashes, bulges or illegal repairs e.g. tire wall repairs - including the spare wheel.
The Wheels & bearings need to be in working order with no play.

Suspension checks for the test

All shock absorbers, mountings, boots, bushes need to be free from corrosion and all dampers have to be free from leaks.

Steering checks

The car steering should be smooth this includes the flow and the steering rack if there is any play in the rack this constitutes an MOT Fail, in addition all steering boots, joints & rack have to be in working order with no excessive play.

Foot brake & Handbrake checks

Both the footbrake and handbrake have to be in perfect working order and have to be free from leaks, with no spongyness.
The brakes themselves should be in good condition this includes the brake pipes being in working order with no perishing / no leaks and both rear cables to the handbrake fitted correctly with no overhanging cables.
The vehicle also should not pull either way when braking or respond with irregular movement e.g. snatching.
Hope the checklist has been some help, feel free to print the guide or post the address on your site, in return we will post a link to your website on ours.
Always try and get a word of mouth recommendation for your MOT test. Going to a UK garage recommended by family or friend can save you a huge amount of hassle and more importantly money.

A few tips to help your Pre test checks go a little smoother

These MOT checks are relatively simple, if you have a smalll knowledge of cars, the best way is for two people to carry out the pre test checks. In the case of testing the car's electrics, the best way to tackle this is - One operate the car electrics e.g. indicators, brakes etc, the other look to see whether they work satisfactorily.

Here are the latest ammendments to the UK MOT Test including 2012, 2014 and 2015 


Electronic parking brake

The Electronic parking brake EPB controls now included in test, an EBP must be present and not modified or incorrectly repaired, meaning as to adversely affect the roadworthiness of a vehicle or improperly modified in order to seriously weaken any Electronic parking brake components.
(The statement 'inappropriately repaired or modified' is applicable to to a wide range of new vehicle MOT applications i.e. systems and components)
NOTE: Any vehicle will fail the test if an Electronic Parking Brake (EBP) warning light is illuminated to display any malfunction.

Electronic Stability Control (EBC)

Anti-lock brakes (ABS) has now been extended to include Electronic Stability Control when fitted.  The MOT tester will check there is a working and in operable condition an ESC malfunction warning light together non modified wiring, this includes a missing component.

Warning lights

The MOT test now has the addition of various warning light, which had previously been exempt all new lights need to operate correctly, and not be modified;
Headlight main beam warning light
Electronic power steering (EPS) (PAS) warning light
Brake fluid level warning light
Seat belt pre-tensioner warning light

Suspension & steering

The new test includes a steering lock check where fitted as standard. 
Missing, or split/damaged dust covers on any steering and or suspension ball-joints will result in MOT test failure
The Power steering fluid reservoir level must be adequately topped in other words above the min level marked on the fluid reservoir.

Vehicle Lighting

Any products / modifications on the light source or lens that significantly diminish the light's intensity or change the colour of the native lighting setup will become a result in failure – these apply to front/rear lamps, number plate lamps, brake lamps, rear fog and signal indicators,
High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps are now included in the VOSA MOT test.
Any car fitted with HID lamps has to have working and non modified levelling and or working cleaning systems, the car etc will fail if the system id in opperative or otherwise obviously defective.
Incorrectly aimed headlamp bulbs if not seated correctly will resulting in an incorrect / dazzling beam pattern will be failed.

Electrical wiring and battery

An insecure or leaking car battery is now cause for failure.
Insecure or bare wiring, likely to cause a short will result in failure.

Trailer / caravan electrical socket

All trailers and caravans will be required to have a basic security/damage check of all 7-pin sockets installed, any 13-pin sockets will be tested and checked including full electrical connectivity and incorrectly connected or inoperative circuits will result in failure.


Any tyre pressure monitoring systems fitted to vehicles 1st registered after 1 January 2012 must be working in accordance with the vehicles manufacturer and not indicating a malfunction.

Supplementary safety restraints

If any airbag fitted as original equipment maunfactured (OEM) is obviously missing or defective the vehicle will fail.
A seatbelt pre-tensioner fitted as OEM, missing or deployed will be a reason for failure.
Fitted as standard seatbelt load limiters that are missing or folding webbing type limiters that have deployed will result in failure.
Any vehicle will also fail if a Supplementary Restraint System (SRS) malfunction indicator lamp shows an SRS malfunction.

Speedometer / Speedo / Oddometer 

Any car without a speedometer not fitted, incomplete, inoperative, has any dial glass broken/missing or lack of illumination will result in failure.


The driver seat must be possible to secure the seat fore and aft in no less than 2 different seating positions, electrically adjusted seats the motors must move the seat fore and aft.


An unopenable rear door from outside is a failure. All doors should be easily opened, locks, hinges etc are now inspected. 


Modifications or inappropriate reapirs to the towbar assembly will be a reason for failure.


A missing catalytic convertor fitted as original equipment, missing or modified will be a reason for failure.
In addition from February 2014 the Exhaust check will include a check for a Diesel Particulate Filter(DPF) , if one had been fitted, then removed this will result in an MOT test failure.

Fuel system

Damaged, corroded or chafed fuel pipes will result in failure.

Number plates (Registration plate) 

All plates must conform UK registration laws meaning no modified plates, fonts, spacing, backing material etc.

2013 MOT Test new additions 

No warning lights on your dashboard, no exceptions

TIP : You do not need two fog lights only the drivers side!!!
TIP : You only need your interior mirror and drivers mirror.
TIP : You do not need door locks which are visible for a Test.
TIP : Look for leaking lines & liquids around these areas.
TIP : It will be noticable if the exhaust is blowing, due to a higher tone.
TIP : A tell tale sign of a bearing on its way out is a whirr from the wheel when cornering usually only in one direction. 
TIP : A good way to test the shocks is the bounce test if you push the car down on one corner, and it returns the shock is generally ok.
TIP : The best way to find excessive play on a steering rack, is to turn the steering wheel when stationary, if the steering wheel turns, but the wheels DON'T, you have a worn steering rack.


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Northern Group of Motoring Writers NGMW

Northern Group Of Motoring Writers

Annabelle Quirk Vice Chairwoman
Ben D T Quirk Member 


UK cars and other vehicles require an MOT however there are exceptions to this rule:- NoteAn MOT is only required on certain UK vehicles

vehicles that are exempt are:-

Under 3 Years old

Made before 1960

Goods vehicles powered by electricity



please check with the DVLA for more info



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