In order to offer guidance to motorists, SMMT came up with a 10-step checklist that takes vehicle owners through a series of simple checks that they can follow before an MOT.

Titled ‘Minute Or Two’, SMMT’s checklist takes motorists through how to check numerous parts of their vehicle, from headlights and tyres to windscreen wipers and fluid levels.

When SMMT launched the campaign last year, it received the backing of every carmaker in the UK, including popular brands like Ford, Vauxhall and Peugeot, as well as more prestigious marques such as Ferrari and Porsche.

SMMT’s Interim Chief Executive, Mike Baunton, commented: “The message that we are keen to get across to motorists is that an MOT fail could very easily be avoided if a simple visual check is carried out beforehand.

“Technicians at manufacturer main dealerships across the UK are ready and willing to help vehicle owners carry out the visual inspection before the test, and to rectify any issues before conducting an MOT."

For customers who need to bring their vehicle in for an MOT soon, check out SMMT’s ‘Minute Or Two’ checklist below.


1. Headlights and indicators

Make sure you check that all of your vehicle’s lights are functioning properly. The lights that need to be checked are the car’s headlights, sidelights, rear lights, hazard lights and indicators.

2. Brake lights

Check the brake lights by pressing down on the brake pedal and asking a friend to stand behind your car and see if your rear brake lights come on – including any supplementary brake strip light.

Alternatively, you can reverse carefully up to a reflective surface, such as a window, wall or garage door, and look behind to see if your rear brake lights work yourself.

3. Number plate

You must ensure that your number plate is clean and legible. Even a quick wipe with a cloth can make a difference when it comes to passing an MOT.

In addition, the font and letter spacing of the number plate must comply with legal requirements in order to be passed by the MOT station.

4. Wheels and tyres

Check that wheels and tyres are undamaged and fit for use. Remember that the minimum legal tyre tread depth is 1.6mm and tyres with less than this will fail an MOT.

If you are unsure about how much tread is left on your tyre, it is best to bring your vehicle to a local manufacturer main dealer or garage to check for you.

A dealer can also advice you on what type of tyre is right for your vehicle if a replacement is required.

5. Seats and seatbelts

A driver’s seat should be able to be adjusted forwards and backwards, while all seatbelts should be in good, working order. Make sure you test the movement of the sat and inspect the full length of a seatbelt for damage.

In order to check that a seatbelt reacts as they’re supposed to in the event of harsh braking, you should tug sharply on all seatbelts.

6. Windscreen

You should check the view out of the front of your vehicle for damage, as any larger than 40mm will cause your car to fail an MOT. In addition, any damage wider than 10mm in the ‘swept’ area of the windscreen in front of the driver will also cause a fail.

7. Windscreen wipers

Windscreen wipers should be able to keep your windscreen clean – any tears or holes in the wiper rubber can cause a vehicle to fail an MOT.

8. Screenwash

Before taking the car in for an MOT, you should top up the washer bottle. Something as simple as an empty container can cause a fail.

9. Horn

Test your horn by giving it a short blast, as it will need repairing or replacing before an MOT test if it doesn’t work.

10. Fuel and engine oil

You can be turned away from the MOT if your vehicle does not have enough fuel or engine oil – both are required by the dealership when running the car to test its emissions levels.

Make sure your car is filled up with enough fuel and engine oil and if you are unsure about the type of oil that should be used, you should ask your manufacturer main dealer.

Note: When checking fluid levels and handling parts that could be hot to the touch, such as bulbs, it is safest to ensure that your vehicle has had an opportunity to cool down fully.

Image and video courtesy of SMMT.