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How AutoFix can help you prepare your car for its MoT test

what mot test checks

Is your car due to have its MoT test soon? AutoFix from Haynes can help you boost the chances of it passing the test by showing you what gets checked – here's an extract from the MoT Test Preparation section to get you started! 

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MOT checks

Electrical equipment

  • Switch on the ignition and check the operation of the horn.
  • Check the windscreen washers and wipers, examining the wiper blades; renew damaged or perished blades. The wiper blades must clear a large enough area of the windscreen to provide an 'adequate' view of the road, and be able to be parked in a position where they will not affect the drivers' view.
check wipers mot test
  • On vehicles first used from 1st September 2009, the headlight washers (where fitted) must operate correctly.
  • Check the operation of the stop-lights. This includes any lights that appear to be connected - Eg. high-level lights.
  • Check the operation of the sidelights and number plate lights. The lenses and reflectors must be secure, clean and undamaged.
  • Check the operation and alignment of the headlights. The headlight reflectors must not be tarnished and the lenses must be undamaged. Where plastic lenses are fitted, check they haven't deteriorated to the extent where they affect the light output or beam image. It's often possible to restore the plastic lens using a suitable polish or aftermarket treatment.
  • Where HID or LED headlights are fitted, check the operation of the cleaning and self-levelling functions.
  • The headlight main beam warning lamp must be functional.
  • On vehicles first used from 1st March 2018, the daytime running lights (where fitted) must operate correctly.
  • Switch on the ignition and check the operation of the direction indicators (including the instrument panel tell-tale) and the hazard warning lights. Operation of the sidelights and stop-lights must not affect the indicators - if it does, the cause is usually a bad earth at the rear light cluster. Indicators should flash at a rate of between 60 and 120 times per minute – faster or slower than this could indicate a fault with the flasher unit or a bad earth at one of the light units.  
  • The hazard warning lights must operate with the ignition on and off.
  • Check the operation of the rear fog light(s), including the warning light on the instrument panel or in the switch. Note that the fog light must be positioned in the centre or drivers side of the vehicle. If only the passengers side illuminates, the test will fail.
  • The warning lights must illuminate in accordance with the manufacturer’s design (this includes any warning messages). For most vehicles, the ABS and other warning lights should illuminate when the ignition is switched on, and (if the system is operating properly) extinguish after a few seconds. Refer to the owner’s handbook.  
  • On vehicles first used from 1st September 2009, the reversing lights must operate correctly when reverse gear is selected.
  • Check the vehicle battery for security and leakage.  
  • Check the visible/accessible vehicle wiring is adequately supported, with no evidence of damage or deterioration that could result in a short circuit.

Footbrake

  • Examine the master cylinder, brake pipes and servo unit for leaks, loose mountings, corrosion or other damage. If ABS is fitted, this unit should also be examined for signs of leaks or corrosion.
mot test brake servo
  • The fluid reservoir must be secure and the fluid level must be between the upper (A) and lower (B) markings.
brake fluid check mot
  • Check the fluid in the reservoir for signs of contamination.
  • Inspect both front brake flexible hoses for cracks or deterioration of the rubber.
mot test brake hose check
  • Turn the steering from lock to lock, and ensure that the hoses do not contact the wheel, tyre, or any part of the steering or suspension mechanism. With the brake pedal firmly depressed, check the hoses for bulges or leaks under pressure.

Steering and suspension

  • Have an assistant turn the steering wheel from side to side slightly, up to the point where the steering gear just begins to transmit this movement to the road wheels. Check for excessive free play between the steering wheel and the steering gear, indicating wear or insecurity of the steering column joints, the column-to-steering gear coupling, or the steering gear. With a standard (380 mm diameter) steering wheel, there should be no more than 13 mm of free play for rack-and-pinion systems, and no more than 75 mm for non-rack-and-pinion designs.
  • Have an assistant turn the steering wheel more vigorously in each direction, so that the road wheels just begin to turn. As this is done, examine all the steering joints, linkages, fittings and attachments. Renew any component that shows signs of wear or damage. On vehicles with hydraulic power steering, check the security and condition of the steering pump, drive belt and hoses.
  • Note that all movement checks on power steering systems are carried out with the engine running.
  • Check that the vehicle is standing level, and at approximately the correct ride height.  

    
Exhaust system

  • Start the engine. With an assistant holding a rag over the tailpipe, check the entire system for leaks. Repair or renew leaking sections.
exhaust system test mot
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