Preparing your car for an MoT test

MOST motorists dread the annual MoT test – whether it’s the first one that comes with a car’s third birthday, or the annual test of an older vehicle which is more likely to need some attention.

The Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF) says there is no reason to fear the test if your car is prepared. The MOT test is actually a very reassuring way to get your car checked over by an expert and to make sure it meets legal requirements and is safe for you to drive.

The MOT test has been designed to be as customer friendly as possible. Every tester will have a viewing area by the test bay to provide motorists with the opportunity to watch the test taking place.

The MOT test exists for the protection of all motorists, and is the only statutory test for safety and environmental legislation. All vehicles aged three years and older need to be taken in for an annual MoT test. The MoT test includes an emissions output monitor to ensure that cars are not polluting our air excessively.

the RMIF says there is much the motorist can do to help their car through the MoT. A car can fail the test on seemingly trivial things, so a quick once over could enable motorists to find out if their car is likely to pass the MoT or not. A few moments forethought could mean the difference between your car sailing through, and a nasty shock where the garage calls with a long list of problems that need to be fixed. There is little point taking in a car with obvious faults, because it will simply waste your time and money.

Areas for attention include:

· if you are driving to the garage without a current valid MoT certificate, ensure that the garage has taken note of your registration number so that if challenged, you can prove that it is in the process of being tested

· take your V5C document with you, as the tester may require information from this in certain circumstances. Your car can be tested up to one calendar month before it is due and you will not lose any time if you do this.

· make sure seats are locked in the upright position

· seatbelts should be clearly visible and not frayed

· make sure the boot is uncluttered and does not hinder the tester in any way, as the tester may refuse to test the car if the boot is full

· make sure the underside of the car is not caked with mud or dirt, as the tester can refuse to test excessively dirty vehicles

· check your lights are in good working order, clean and not damaged

· tyre tread depth should be at least 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tread around the entire circumference

· cracked or damaged number plates can result in a fail in certain circumstances

To help a car pass the MoT, motorists should make regular inspections all year round to help maintain your vehicle for your safety and that of other road users.

The RMIF says the best way to help a car pass the MoT is for it to be properly serviced by a RMIF member garage. There are many elements covered by the MoT test, and the motorist needs the help of professionals to help highlight possible problem areas.

To find a reliable MoT testing station and garage, motorists should look to the RMIF. An RMIF member will be able to advise you on the type of service you need, and will be able to point out potential problem areas before they arise, or become serious.

Whether you want to buy or sell a new or used car or motorcycle, service or repair your existing vehicle, find an auction house, or a cherished number plate dealer, the RMIF will be able to help you.

If you have a complaint against an RMIF member garage in relation to a car no longer covered by a manufacturer warranty, the RMIF’s National Conciliation Service should be able to help the consumer get redress, if the problem cannot be solved in direct consultation with that member.

To find your nearest RMIF member, visit