If your car is more than three years old, it'll need an MOT annually to ensure it remains roadworthy. Your car will be thoroughly checked at the MOT centre - but it makes sense to perform your own checks before you book your MOT. Why? If you know something needs work, it's always wise to get it seen to before your car is tested. This minimises the chance of it failing and needing another test. Here are some sensible pre-MOT checks.
Turn on the ignition
Check the horn and your windscreen wipers/washers are in working order. Make sure there are no warning lights lit on the dashboard which shouldn't be. Check your seatbelts are in good condition, with no fraying or splits. Test the mountings, and give the belts a firm yank to make sure the inertia reel locks. If you have a child seat in your car, remove it before taking it to the MOT centre.
Check the tyres
Watch for bulging or splits around the side-walls, or anything stuck in the tyre tread - such as small stones for example. The tread needs to meet the legal minimum of 1.6 mm. Check the tyres are sitting correctly on the wheels, and that your spare also meets the legal requirements. When driving slowly, listen out and turn lock to lock - check for any creaking, squeals, or unusual noises.
Lights and bodywork
Issues around the lights are one of the most common causes of MOT fails. Be sure all your bulbs are working, and that the lenses aren't cracked or cloudy. Check all your lights through each of their functions - brake, dipped and full beam, side lights, reversing lights, fog lights, indicators, and number plate lights. Walk around and check for bodywork damage, sharp edges, or structural weaknesses. Your bumpers must be secure, and your wing-mirrors in place and fully adjustable.
If you notice anything out of the ordinary with your car, it's best to check with your garage before your car goes in for its MOT. If work is necessary, it's always wise to do it before risking an unnecessary MOT failure.