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First MOT? Here's what you can expect.

Owning a car is great and all that, but it does require some serious adulting from time to time.

Case in point: The M.O.T.

Getting ready for your MOT can even give veteran drivers a bad case of the fear and leave first timers wanting to curve. To arm you with the keys to success, we are giving you some pointers on what to expect. 

Don’t worry…….we have all the important information to help make this as easy as possible. You got this.

What is an MOT?

The MOT is an annual test for cars, which are over 4 years old to make sure they meet minimum road safety and environmental standards.

Booking your test

You can book online here

You will need your V5C (that coloured bit of paper with all the car info) as it has your Vehicle Registration number and the last four digits of your Chassis Number.

Pick a suitable time and test centre and have your debit card ready as it will cost you £30.50. 

Top Tip

They send out a letter roughly 7 weeks before your MOT expires. Book your test as soon as your letter comes as those spots fill up crazy fast.

Getting Ready

Give your car a visual once over. 

Check your lights to make sure all the bulbs are working. This means headlights, sidelights, rear lights, hazard lights, indicators and break lights.

Top Tip

If you don’t have anyone to help you, park in front of a window at night and you can check the lights in the reflection.

Check your tyres. Minimum tread depth is 1.6mm but really you should be replacing them when they go under 3mm. 

It’s not mandatory to get a service before an MOT but if you are due one then it wouldn’t be a bad idea. It won’t guarantee you’ll pass but it will increase your chances.

Clean up your mess

Major Key. You won’t fail for having a messy car but it makes the examiners job easier and you are relying on their judgement.

 If you’re feeling flush, you can leave your car in for a Valet and an MOT wash. If not, bag up any rubbish and hoover it out yourself.

On the day

It’s advised you arrive at least 10 minutes before your time slot. Follow this advice. If you are late, that’s too bad your slot is gone and you’ve lost your money. You have to book a new appointment, which is probably weeks away, pay again, and be off the road until your new date rolls round.

Park up in the lane indicated on your confirmation letter/email. When prompted, drive your car in slowly and stop when directed.

Stage 1

First up is a smoke test / emission test. This involves little participation on your part so stay in the car and follow instructions.

Next up: Under bonnet inspection. Make sure you know how to open the bonnet as you will be asked to do it and you don’t want to be laughed at.

Stage 2

Lights: You will be asked to operate the lights on the car. You will hopefully be a pro at headlights and indicators by now, but what about the fog lamp and the hazard lamps? Master these skills.

Top Tip

You might be asked to demonstrate a whole bunch of other stuff like the horn, windscreen wipers and washers, the boot, fuel cap and seat belts. The full list is here if you want to be sure to crush it.

Stage 3

And breathe. You’ve done what you can. Take a seat in the passenger side and let the examiner in the driving seat. They are about to test the breaks so put on your seat belt and brace yourself. 

At this point the examiner will inspect the interior of your car. If you ignored our earlier advice on cleaning, prepare to be slightly embarrassed.

Stage 4

Nearly there. You will be asked to leave the car and take a seat in the waiting area while your car gets its underbody inspection. 

What you are going to see next may alarm you. The structural integrity and construction of your car will be put to the test with some intense vehicular twerking. Stay calm. 


Now the moment of truth. The examiner calls you over and delivers their verdict.

Pass: YAAAASSS, Road worthy yo!

Fail: No,no,no,not today. Basic piece of junk. NOT OK! 

Now you have that out of the way, you will get a list of what you need to fix to make your car roadworthy before you book in for the re-test. 

The Good News? If you book your re-test within 21 days then you only pay a reduced fee of £18.50

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