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Which elements are checked during an MOT test?

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Cars in the UK that are over three years old must have an annual MOT test. This is to make sure that they are still roadworthy, and to ensure that any small issues are picked up promptly and repaired before they become major problems.

What gets checked during an MOT test?

We’re all familiar with booking the car in for an MOT, but do you know which elements are checked during your MOT test? It’s very easy to find out – the full checklist is produced every year, and is available for free on the website – but here’s a quick recap of what the inspector will be looking for.



With interior checks, the inspector will essentially be looking to see how well you can manage the vehicle from the driving seat. This involves assessing how well you can see other road-users and be seen by them, and ensuring that all the buttons, levers, pedals and dashboard gadgets operate as intended. This includes trying the brakes (see below), steering wheel, horn, and lights, as well as making sure that there are no active warning lights engaged at the time of the test – so if your oil is a bit low, make sure to top it up before you book MOT in London at Elite Direct. The inspector will also ensure that the car is reasonably clean and uncluttered inside. Excess clutter can block visibility, and can also become a hazard in the event that you need to make an emergency stop.



The exterior checks of your car involve checking the general condition of the car, which should be reasonably clean, with no rust, dents or damage to the body. The inspector will also look at the tyres and wheels, ensure the number plate, bumpers and mirrors are firmly fixed, and make sure that the windscreen wipers are in place and appropriate for the purpose.


With your car on an inspection pit, the inspector will take a good look at the underside of the car. They will check exhaust systems, steering, fuel and braking lines, looking for anything that might indicate a problem. They will also ensure that the catalytic converter (or equivalent) is in place and has not been tampered with. Again, they will check the general condition of the underside of your vehicle.


Under the hood

Popping open the bonnet allows the inspector to complete their inspection of the brakes, steering, fuel and exhaust systems, as well as checking things like the level of screen-wash in the reservoir and water in the radiator. Don’t be tempted to use plain water as screen-wash: true screen-wash needs some kind of detergent or soap mixed in to loosen and wash away grime without leaving obscuring streaks on your windscreen.


Braking power

Your brakes – both the service brake and the hand brake – will be put through their paces to ensure your car can stop safely and quickly as and when required.


Noxious exhaust fumes used to be a plague on the roads, but thanks to cleaner, greener engine designs, this is no longer the case – but only if your exhaust system is working appropriately and the fumes are filtered through a catalytic converter. The inspector will take a reading of your exhaust to make sure you are within legal limits.

If your car has passed all these checks, you should be heading for an MOT test pass and will be able to get your car on the road again – ticking another home management job off the list. Do you have any tips for making sure your car will pass its annual MOT test?

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