MOT explained: Six simple tips to help you pass 

It’s that time of year again – your car needs to go for its MOT check. According to research conducted by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) across all autocentres and garages, 40% of all cars and 50% of vans fail their first MOT.

Quite often, the scare of a repair bill puts many drivers off booking the test until the very last minute – or even later. This means they’re risking driving without a valid MOT, no insurance (you need a valid MOT to have insurance) and the risk of a fine of up to £1000 and points on their licence. But don’t worry, we’re here to give you some top tips to help your car pass.


The legal tyre tread depth for car  is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of your tyre. This is believed to be the minimum, it’s an instant MOT failure. Any tyre with significant damage such as bulges, cuts or cracking will also fail. So be sure to check over your tyres before your MOT and get them fixed or replaced if there are any problems.


All lights on your vehicle must be clean and working. Before you book it in, check they work, this means:

  • Headlamps on full and dipped beam
  • Side lamps
  • Daytime running lights
  • Hazard warning lights
  • Indicators
  • Fog lights
  • Number plate lights

You can pick up spare bulbs from car accessory stores, and they’re usually quite easy to fit – if not, ask someone in the shop to help you do so.

Windscreen and wipers

This is where it can get a little complicated – not all chips and cracks on a windscreen can cost you your MOT, it’s all down to the location. You can get away with chips that are 10mm in front of the driver, any damage bigger than that in front of the driver – or in the glass area that’s swept by the wipers, will be a fail. Damage anywhere on the glass has to be larger than 40mm for an MOT failure.

Number plates

As well as needing to have the correct lettering style and spacing, your number plate must be clean and easy to read from a distance. If a number plate is modified in any way, damaged or otherwise illegal, the car will fail.

 Seats and seatbelts

The driver’s seat should adjust forwards and backwards, and the seatbelts should be in good working order. Test out the movement of your seats and inspect the seatbelts full length for any damage. Sharply tug on all of the seatbelts to double check that they will react as they should if you brake severely.

Fuel an engine oil

Make sure your car is filled with sufficient fuel and engine oil otherwise you could be turned away from the MOT centre for not having suitable levels of either. Both of these liquids are required by dealerships to test emissions levels. If you’re unsure about the type of oil your car requires, ask the manufacturer.

Now you know how to get your car through its MOT, it’s time to book it in! Unsure where to go? Halfords Autocentre will cover the cost of your MOT if you make a purchase in store, so what are you waiting for? Get your car booked in for a safer ride today.