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Your MOT test date is creeping up, and you’re probably wondering what you need to do to get your car ready. The last thing you want is for it to fail, especially if the failure could have been avoided by a few simple pre-MOT checks.
But don’t worry, our experts are here to help.
In this article, we’ve put together some handy info on how to get your car prepped and the main things you need to be aware of.
What is an MOT?
By law, vehicles that are over three years old have to undergo an annual MOT (Ministry of Transport) test. The purpose of the test, which must be arranged and carried out at an authorised testing centre, is to make sure the vehicle is roadworthy. Importantly, if the vehicle fails, it will have to undergo the necessary repairs to bring it up to the required standards.
A car must pass its MOT test, otherwise, it’s deemed illegal to drive it on the road. The consequences of driving a car without a valid MOT have become much harsher over the past few years. Now, as soon as your car fails an MOT, it’s considered ‘dangerous’.
If caught driving a vehicle that has failed its MOT, you could be fined as much as £2,500 and accumulate three points on your driving licence. Plus, car insurance won’t be valid in most cases where an MOT isn’t valid.
When is my first MOT due and how long is it valid?
If you’ve got a fairly new car, check the date that the car was first registered – the first MOT is due three years after that first registration date.
For example, if the vehicle registration was on 1 August 2019, the first MOT is due no later than 1 August 2022.
Once a car is three years old, it must pass an MOT every year. The MOT expiry date can be found in the MOT certificate you receive from the test centre.
If you want to keep the same MOT renewal date every year, then you can book your MOT up to one month in advance (minus one day) of the expiry date e.g. if your MOT expires on the 1st August, the earliest date you can book for your MOT would be the 2nd July.
You can always book your MOT earlier but it will be due for another MOT 12 months after the date of the test.
How do I prepare my car for an MOT test?
Here are some important tips:
- Check the horn is working.
- Check the condition of the windscreen washers and wipers. Top up the screen wash. If you need to replace any of the wipers, you can buy these easily and cheaply from motor shops. They’re easy to fit, but many shops offer low-cost fitting too.
- Top up the oil levels.
- Make sure all of the seat belts are working and they’re not cut or frayed.
- Ensure all bulbs are working, including headlights, brake lights, number plate lights, indicators and fog lights. Check each of the lights for any damage.
- Check the tyres for cuts, bulges or objects. Make sure the tread depth is a minimum of 1.6mm. If any of the tyres have a tread less than this, they will need to be replaced. If your car has a spare tyre, check the condition of this too.
- Check the fluid level in the brake system is at the correct level. If you’re not sure, refer to the car’s manual or handbook.
- Check the windscreen and mirrors for cracks and chips.
- Make sure the exhaust is secure and has no corrosion.
- If there is a warning light on the dashboard, check the manual to find out if this is something you are able to resolve quickly yourself.
- Make sure the number plates are free from dirt – they’ll need to be readable for the test.
- While it might seem obvious, make sure your car is reasonably clean and not full of clutter.
Latest News on MOT Due Dates 2020 - MOT extension due to COVID19
When is my car MOT due?
Frequently asked questions
You can drive your car legally until the midnight on the day when your MOT expires.
If your car failed an MOT you have to get the repairs done and get it retested in order to comply with MOT standards. Many garages that carry out MOTs will be able to repair the car for you, as long as you get the car retested within 10 working days the MOT retest is free of charge.
To find out more read our guide on what will fail an MOT.