What is an MOT?

MOT stands for Ministry of Transport, and it was introduced in 1960 as a means of testing vehicles for roadworthiness and safety. It applies to the majority of vehicles that are three years old or more and must be undertaken on an annual basis.

How can I help my car pass its MOT?​

Approximately 37% of vehicles fail their MOT each year, often for reasons that could easily have been addressed beforehand. The most common causes of MOT failure are listed below – as are the things you can do to help ensure your car passes.

1. Headlights and indicators

This accounts for roughly 18% of MOT failures. Be sure to check that all external lights are functioning correctly.

2. Brake lights

Ask a friend to view your brake lights while you press the brake pedal. Alternatively, place a reflective surface behind the car and do it yourself.

3. Number plate

Are your car registration numbers clearly legible? Does the font and spacing comply with legal requirements?

4. Wheels and tyres

Check each tyre and wheel for signs of damage – and ensure that all tyres have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm (3mm is ideal).

5. Seats and seatbelts

Inspect the driver’s seat to see that it correctly adjusts, tilts and reclines (where applicable). Study the full length of each seatbelt for signs of wear and tear – and pull sharply to get an idea of its effectiveness in severe braking circumstances.

6. Windscreen

Windscreen damage measuring 40mm or more will cause MOT failure. Pay particular attention to the area in the driver’s line of vision – if there’s any damage measuring 10mm or more, the windscreen will need to be fixed/replaced.

7. Windscreen wipers

Check that each wiper works properly and that there’s no damage to the blades.

8. Screenwash

Something as seemingly trivial as an empty screenwash bottle could trigger an MOT failure. 

9. Horn

Toot your horn. Does it work? If not, we’ll be happy to repair or replace it.

10. Fuel and engine oil

Make sure your (non-electric) vehicle has sufficient fuel and engine oil – if it doesn’t, it could be turned away from its MOT.

Note: When checking fluid levels and handling parts that could be become hot to the touch (eg bulbs) it’s always best to ensure that the vehicle has had an opportunity to cool down fully.


If your query isn’t covered in our frequently asked MOT questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

What’s the difference between an MOT and a service?

While an MOT is a legal requirement, a service is not. However, regular servicing serves as a vehicle health check and will help to ensure that your car is ready for each MOT.

Can I drive my car without an MOT?

No. Neither can you tax it without an MOT.

How long does an MOT take?

Between 45 and 60 minutes.

Book an MOT with Us Today

If it’s time for your vehicle’s MOT, please book your appointment with Croxdale Group today.

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