MOT - The Real Deal -
The Ultimate Guide To Passing Your MOT First Time

For many of us, motoring is a cost that we have to factor into our daily lives and budgets, covering everything from refilling the tank to carrying out repairs. The average price of petrol and diesel has risen by more than 20p each in the last decade while the average new car price has increased by 38 per cent in the same period of time. You can cap your motoring costs by beginning with practicing good driving habits though. Save on your fuel usage by driving at a steady speed, don’t carry unnecessary items in the car, and don’t accelerate, brake, or corner heavily. Meanwhile, shopping around, fitting a black box, and paying a one-off premium — similar ways to reduce the cost of your insurance.

But, how can you make sure that your MOT doesn’t leave you out of pocket?  

On the first attempt, two out of five cars will fail their MOT. Although an MOT test costs, at the most, £54.85, the bill can grow quicker than Pinocchio’s nose when the mechanic begins to recognise faults within a vehicle.

What Car? Magazine identified the most popular reasons for failing as follows:

  • Not having screen wash topped up
  • The drivers view is impeded by something on the windscreen
  • A light is out
  • The plates don’t fit within the DVLA guidelines e.g. wrong font or wrong spacing
  • The car is dirty on the inside or outside

Many of these things could end up carrying a substantial price tag to amend, but for the most there are quick fixes for each. Here, we take a look at the various ways in which can help make your MOT test day a smooth experience and one which isn’t going to break the bank.

The checklist helping to keep you organised

The most important step is to prepare for your MOT, as simply showing up on the day won’t always cut it. Commit to writing out a checklist for your vehicle, ticking all of the boxes that otherwise would be easy to forget.


Popping your car bonnet might be a task if you’re a car novice, but making the right checks is relatively simple. Top up your oil so that it sits between the minimum and the maximum marker. Following this, top up your washer fluid bottle, your fuel tank, and your anti-freeze. It’s cheaper to do it yourself than paying a mechanic to do it for you!


While you can’t necessarily fail your MOT for having a messy car alone, taking your months-worth of discarded water bottles to the garage is not a good habit to get into.

Declutter your car of anything that doesn’t need to be there, and you’ll thank yourself too. Following this, give it a hoover, before power washing it on the outside and on the underneath of the vehicle. What will take you an hour in cleaning will save you a re-test and a major inconvenience.


All of the external safety features of the car will need to be checked, think hazards, headlights (dipped and full beam), indicators, and brake lights. For the latter of the list we advise getting someone to help you, as you’ll not be able to them yourself.

If you’ve got a bulb that has blown, visit your nearest reputable vehicle dealership or parts store and you’ll be able to purchase a new one.


Your vehicles tyres are a detrimental aspect of the overall safety of your car — they are the only part of your vehicle in continual contact with the road. Therefore, checking of your tyres will be particularly stringent during an MOT test.

Secondly, you’ll want to make sure that your tread is more than 1.6mm. You can do this with a tyre tread depth indicator or a 20p coin. Likewise, check the tyre for any bulges, cuts, or splits, alongside checking your tyre pressure is correct and it aligns with that of the manufacturer’s guidelines.


Any damages exceeding 10mm in the windscreen that impede the driver’s line of sight will be considered a failure, as will a 40mm damage on any part of the windscreen. Remember to remove any air fresheners or parking permits which could be considered to obstruct vision.

Warning lights

As of 2012, the MOT test has included lit-up warning lights as part of its procedure. If there are any dashboard lights appearing on your car, find out what they mean and get them resolved prior to your test.

Whether you’re behind the wheel of a Skoda, a Volkswagen or a Seat, service plans can be a vital consideration if you want to avoid incurring any unwanted costs; so this is an option to consider if you’re committed to swerving any repair fees.

Your MOT doesn’t have to leave you reeling at the thought of making your car roadworthy again should it fail, simply anticipate what the test will look for and you’re bound to accelerate through it!

Article provided by SEAT dealership, Vindis.

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