Understanding the MOT Checklist

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Owning a vehicle comes with its set of responsibilities, the foremost being ensuring its safety and functionality, this MOT checklist will make sure you car is always in working order. For drivers in the UK, the Ministry of Transport test, commonly known as the MOT test, is an annual requirement for vehicles over three years old. The test checks the vehicle’s safety, roadworthiness, and exhaust emissions. But what exactly do mechanics inspect during this examination? Let’s delve into the MOT checklist and understand why each point is critical.


The brakes are arguably the most vital safety component of any vehicle. Mechanics check for the efficiency of the braking system, ensuring that they can halt the vehicle in an emergency. Worn out pads, faulty brake lights, or a malfunctioning handbrake could mean a failure.


Visibility is paramount. All lights – from headlights and tail lights to indicators and registration plate lights – need to be in working order. Besides functionality, their condition, position, and colour are also scrutinised.

Tyres and Wheels:

An often overlooked but crucial part of vehicle safety, tyres must have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm. They should also be free from cuts, bulges, and other damages. Wheels are inspected for damage and security. Remember, well-maintained tyres not only keep you safe but also enhance fuel efficiency.


A faulty suspension system can affect the car’s handling and steering, making it unsafe. Mechanics ensure that the shock absorbers are effective and that there’s no undue noise or corrosion.

Windscreen, Wipers, and Washers:

These ensure clear visibility under varying conditions. Any chip or crack in the driver’s view on the windscreen can be grounds for failure. Wipers should effectively clear water, and washers should function well with adequate fluid levels.

Exhaust and Emissions:

Besides being an environmental concern, a malfunctioning exhaust system can be a potential safety hazard. Mechanics check for excessive emissions based on the age and fuel type of the vehicle. The exhaust system’s security and noise levels are also assessed.


All seatbelts should fasten securely and lock when tugged sharply, indicating they’ll work effectively in a collision. The overall condition and security of the seatbelts and their attachments are also checked.

Body Structure:

The vehicle’s body should be free from excessive corrosion, especially in areas that could impact the driver or passengers. Sharp edges, which can be a hazard to pedestrians, can lead to an MOT failure.


Doors need to open and close correctly. Front doors should open from both inside and outside the vehicle. Rear doors, on the other hand, need to be easily opened for inspection, and will be part of the MOT checklist. The latch’s security is crucial, ensuring doors won’t open accidentally while the vehicle is in motion.


They’re essential for the driver’s visibility. The MOT checks the condition and security of all mirrors.


A simple, yet essential feature. The horn should work correctly and be of a suitable volume.


For obvious reasons, effective steering is crucial. Mechanics will check the steering system for defects. Even minor issues with steering can significantly impact the vehicle’s drivability and safety.

Why Are These Checks Important?

Each item on the MOT checklist is crucial for either the safety of the vehicle’s occupants, other road users, or the environment. By enforcing this annual test, the UK government ensures that only vehicles meeting the minimum safety and environmental standards ply on the roads. For vehicle owners, passing the MOT test offers not just a legal reprieve but peace of mind, knowing that their vehicle is in good shape.

In conclusion, while the MOT might seem like a tedious annual ritual, it’s a comprehensive review of your vehicle’s health and safety. Familiarising yourself with the checklist can help you stay ahead of potential issues, ensuring that your vehicle remains roadworthy year-round. Remember, a well-maintained car isn’t just about passing the MOT—it’s about ensuring every journey you take is a safe one.

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