Wrenches resting on a car engine

What do I need to MOT my car?

You’re all booked in, and your MOT is taking place in a week or so, but are you ready? Do you, and your car, have everything you need to be able to sail through and put all thoughts surrounding the annual trip to the test centre for another 12 months?

What happens at an MOT?

An MOT is your car’s annual safety check. By law the vast majority of cars over the age of 3 years old must be put through a rigorous test to ensure that the car is safe to be on the public highway, both for your own safety and that of other motorists.

The test, while extensive, doesn’t actually take that long to complete and most will be over between 45 minutes to an hour. The tester will inspect a wide range of areas including the electrical equipment, steering, tyres, suspension, brakes, exhaust and emissions, mirrors, wipers and windscreen and the car’s Vehicle Identification Number. For a full and detailed rundown of what your car will have tested, read our previous blog here.

What documents do I need for an MOT?

For the vast majority of tests these days, all you need to bring with you is the car, and a method of paying once the MOT is over. Where in the past you may have ensured you had all of your paperwork related to the car together and on hand for the MOT test centre, this is unlikely to be required thanks to all of the details they need being available to them online.

However, on the off chance you do need to bring physical copies of any documents, the following list is all you’ll need to bring with you.

  • V5C Registration Document: Your car’s V5C shows any history with regard to registration and while all of this information is available online, the tester may find it quicker to flick through the log book.
  • Service History: Your garage may want to have a look through any service history your car may have to check for any information on items such as the cambelt before carrying out an emissions test, but this is not essential.
  • Appointment Confirmation: Nearly all MOT test centres or garages will have an online booking system, but having a printed copy of your appointment confirmation could save any delays when arriving – particularly if you’re desperately scrolling through your phone’s emails or the garage doesn’t have available WiFI or signal.
  • Current MOT Certificate: The garage will be able to check all of your previous MOT details online, but it is always handy to keep all of your old certificates to hand.

Do I need to prepare my car for the MOT?

A large number of vehicles fail their MOTs for reasons that would have easily been rectified had the owner carried out a pre-MOT checkup. While you don’t need to do any preparations for the car ahead of the test, it’s a good idea to make up a little checklist a couple of weeks prior to the appointment so you can go to the test safe in the knowledge that the car is in the best possible condition.

What should I check ahead of the MOT?

If you have decided that you want to carry out a pre-MOT test, the following checklist should give your car the best chance of making it through:

  • Windscreen Wipers: Make sure your wipers are in a good condition with no rips or tears.
  • Lights: Ask a friend or family member to stand outside your car and check that all the lights are working correctly.
  • Tyres: The 20p test is the easiest way to check your tyres meet the minimum 1.6mm legal requirement for tyre tread. Pop your coin into one of the tread grooves, and if any part of the outside band of the 20p is showing, it’s likely your tyres are illegal. While carrying out this test it’s a good chance to make sure your pressures are at the correct level, too.
  • Fluids: A quick top-up of screenwash, brake fluid and oil will make sure your car is in top condition.
  • Horn: Easy – give it a blast. If it honks, you’re good.
  • Mirrors: Check your mirrors are intact and secure and can be used safely.
  • VIN: Make sure the Vehicle Identification Number on your logbook matches that on your car’s bodywork. Your VIN can usually be found on the dashboard or the driver’s side door.
  • Cleanliness: Your car will fail its MOT if the tester cannot read the number plates, and they may even refuse to carry out a test altogether if the interior is excessively dirty or cluttered.

Can I MOT my car without my logbook?

There is no legal requirement for you to provide your logbook at an MOT test, and any details that the tester is going to require that would be found on a logbook can be found online. If you can’t provide your V5C at the test because you’ve lost your original copy, it is a good idea to get it replaced as soon as possible – which can be done online at the gov.uk website, and will cost you £25.



If you’re worried that any prep work that you may have to do to your car ahead of your next MOT is too much to even consider, then perhaps it’s time to send it off on one final journey to the scrapyard. The expert team at Scrap Car Comparison will be able to find you the very best deal for your car and we’ll even come and collect it for you free of charge. Get started today by using our quick and easy online quote generator and see just how much your scrap car could be worth.

 
 

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