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10 Tips to pass your MOT first time

Make the MOT renewal date sail past as pain-free as possible...

It’s that one date of the year that nobody is looking forward to and it can make us all get a bit anxious. The MOT renewal date will sail past a lot smoother if you just follow these simple tips to give your car (and your bank account) the best chance.

1 - Headlights and Indicators

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Fault lighting is a pretty daft reason to fail an MOT, yet a third of cars fail for this reason. How many people does it take a lightbulb? One. You. Bulbs are cheap as chips and replacing them is a walk in the park. 

2 - Brake Lights

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Checking brake lights is a little bit difficult if you’re on your own because you can’t stand at the back of the car and press the brake pedal at the same time. One trick would be to reverse up to a wall and check that all the lights are illuminating the wall correctly. If not, change them. Simple.

3 - Registration plate

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As long as your reg plate is in the right font and correctly spaced, then all you need to do is make sure you can read it. Don’t take your car through a muddy field on the way to the MOT centre and you should be fine.

4 - Wheels and tyres

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1.6mm of tread depth is the minimum requirement in the UK, but you’d be silly to let your tyres get that low. Check the pressures are all correct and the depth is fine before taking it for an MOT and you should have no problems. If your tyres are in poor condition, there are plenty of services who will fit new ones for you at a cheaper price than a garage would.

5 - Seats and seatbelts

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Make sure your seat doesn’t wobble around while you’re driving and also give the seatbelt a tug to make sure it reacts as it should. Frayed or damaged seatbelts will need to be replaced.

6 - Windscreen and wipers

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Any windscreen chips over 1cm would mean an MOT failure - it’s probably worth getting Gavin from Autoglass to come and sort this prior to the MOT, as it will only cost your windscreen excess (assuming your insurance has one, most do.) Also, it would be good to make sure your wipers clear the windscreen sufficiently - windscreen wipers can be bought much cheaper online than they can in stores.

7- Windscreen washer fluid

Garages will top up your washer fluid for you while doing an MOT, but some will charge you for it so it’s better to just do it yourself. It’s probably the most simple job you can do under the bonnet of your car, so don’t be intimidated. 

8 - Fuel and Engine Oil

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An MOT isn’t a service. The garage won’t be replacing your oils, they’re just checking that you have some. A clean rag and a play with the dipstick should ensure you tick these boxes. It’s also worth stating the obvious, a car with no fuel can’t be tested for its roadworthiness, so make sure there is at least £5 worth of fuel in the tank!

9 - Horn

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Probably best not to test this one out in your garage at the dead of night, but give your horn a blast and make sure it sounds as a horn should. Keep the horn depressed for a good 5 seconds or so to attract the most attention and really wind up your neighbours. 

10 - Check previous MOT comments

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You can find out all the details of previous MOTs online now, really easily. Just enter the reg here and that will save you waving through rafts of old paperwork. This could highlight previous advisories you’d forgotten about that might now need addressing.

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