Express Service MOTs

What Affects my Stopping Distance?

What Affects my Stopping Distance?

Here we have listed some of the top factors that can affect your stopping distance and how you can prevent them from causing a serious accident in the future.


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Express Service MOT Checklist


Just under twenty per cent of MOT failures are caused by a dead bulb. Run through the list below to ensure you’ve checked all your bulbs. If you don’t have anyone to help you check your bulbs, park up close to a wall or garage door. It’s worth mentioning that some indicator and brake light bulbs have a colour coating which starts to peel as they get old. As the colour peels off, the bulb shines white and is a test failure, even though the bulb itself is working. Check the colours are correct at the same time as making sure they all work. Check all light fittings are secure and there and no cracks or damage.

Headlights: Main beam and dipped

Sidelights: Front & rear

Indicators: Front, rear & side

Brake lights

Number plate lights (only on the rear plate!)

Reverse lights (not actually part of an MOT but worth checking)

Rear fog light (front fogs not checked)

Hazard lights (check separately from indicators to make sure circuit works)


The minimum legal tread depth for a tyre is 1.6mm in a continuous band around the tyre for ¾ of the tyre’s width.

Check for damage on the tyres such as splits in the tread, bulges or cuts in the sidewalls as these could cause the tyre to fail.

Take a look at the tyre sizes to make sure the front tyres are the same size and the rear tyres are be the same size. (They can be different sizes front to back but not on the same axle.)

Check there are no missing wheels nuts or any large areas of damage to the wheels themselves.

A spare wheel is not actually a requirement for an MOT and is will not be checked unless it is being used on the car at the time. Note: A car will not pass an MOT with a temporary spare wheel (also known as a ‘space saver’) fitted as a road wheel..


Check over the windscreen for any chips and cracks. Chips over 10mm in the driver’s line of sight (roughly the width of the steering wheel) or over 40mm in the area swept by the wipers will cause the car to fail the MOT. See example 

Any sort of heavy scratching that limits the drivers vision will also cause the car to a fail the test.

You can avoid small stone chips turning into cracks by getting them repaired as soon as possible. This will stop them spreading any further and potentially avoid fitting a new windscreen.


Wiper blades should clear the screen across their entire length. Check the rubber by lifting them up and look for splits or perishing. 


Top up the screen wash before taking the car for an MOT and test the jets to make sure they operate correctly. Blocked nozzles can be easily cleared with a pin.


The steering system isn’t something you’ll be able to check easily apart from making sure the wheels can turn freely from lock to lock and the power steering is working correctly if you have it.


The fuel cap needs to lock securely in place and the seal inside the cap shouldn’t be split or perished.


The exhaust needs to be held on securely and not have any holes (apart from the obvious one at the end!). If your car exhaust is sounding louder than normal there’s a good chance it has a hole in it. You might be able to tell by getting your ear low to the ground on the driver’s side and listening carefully as you blip the accelerator (when the car is parked). If you go over a bump and the exhaust clunks on the underside of the car, the rubber mounts may be worn and in need of replacement.


The horn needs to work and be loud enough to attract the attention of pedestrians or other motorists. Musical air horns are a guaranteed fail!


The mirrors need to be in place and secure, i.e. not held to the car with sticky tape and string. The glass shouldn't be cracked or smashed.

11. BODY

The car’s bodywork must be free from heavy corrosion, not be badly damaged or have sharp edges sticking out. The front doors should work from inside and outside and the rear doors will need to work so other parts of the test can be completed such as seat belt checks. The boot and bonnet need to close securely.


Most checks on the braking system require specialist knowledge but there are some easy things you can test. Make sure the rubber on all the pedals isn’t worn away and if your car has ABS, the warning light should go out after the car is started. The hand brake should hold the car on a hill.


Front and back plates need to be secured properly to the car and not cracked, faded or hidden by dirt. The letters and numbers should be standard and evenly spaced.


All the seat belt buckles should latch and fasten securely and lock when you give them a sharp tug. The belts need to be in good condition, not cut or badly frayed. The seats must be firmly bolted down; grab the base of each seat and try rocking it.


The best way to ensure your car passes the emissions test with ease is to have the car serviced prior to its MOT. On top of this, if your car hasn’t been run in a while or is mainly used for short town journeys, take it on a longer motorway type journey where a higher engine speed is sustained for a greater length of time. This helps to clean out sooty deposits from the engine prior to the emissions test.

New for 2012

HID (High intensity discharge) and LED headlights.

Under the new rules, cars fitted with HID or LED headlights must have a working headlight washer system and self-levelling function. This is to prevent other motorists being dazzled, as the output from these lights can be up to three times that of other headlights.


Dirt on the lens can cause diffraction of the light which is why a cleaning system is fitted as standard to cars with these types of headlight. The self-levelling function compensates for passengers or a heavy load over the rear of the car that could cause the headlights to aim higher than they otherwise should.

Where a car has been fitted with HID units after manufacture, it must comply with the same rules, therefore it should also have a washer system and self-levelling function.

Modification to lights

Products applied to any light source on the vehicle that change the colour or brightness of the light will cause a vehicle to fail, for instance lens tinting spray.

Headlamp high beam dash light

The dashboard 'tell-tale' light that warns the driver that high beam is on must be operational.

 Other dashboard warning lights

For cars fitted with ESC (electronic stability control) the warning light should come on and then extinguish after a few seconds. If it stays on to warn of a fault, the car will fail. This also applies to warning lights for cars fitted with electric power steering, brake fluid warning lights, tyre pressure monitors, air bags lights and seat belt pre-tensioner warnings.

 Power steering fluid level & electric steering malfunction

For cars with hydraulic power steering, the reservoir will be check to make sure the fluid level is above the minimum mark. (Cars where the level is not visible without removing the cap will not be checked.)

For cars with electric power steering, the malfunction light on the dashboard should come on and then extinguish after the car is started.


The car battery must be secure and not cracked and leaking fluid. The wiring should be in good condition and not likely to short circuit.

 Suspension, steering and brake covers

Dust covers designed to keep road dirt out of joints for all the above items must be in good condition, i.e. not split or missing.

 Steering components & steering lock

The steering lock is the device built into the steering column that locks it in place when the key is removed from the ignition. It is an anti-theft device fitted to most cars, and where fitted as standard, it will be tested for operation.

The steering system will be checked for leaks, heavy corrosion of any pipework and fouling of components.

 Electronic Parking Brake

Where fitted in place of a manual handbrake, an electronic parking brake will have a warning light to indicate malfunction. If this is illuminated, the vehicle will fail. This also applied to any other electronic safety braking systems.

 Seats & seat belts

Seats will be tested by their ability to move forwards and backwards freely and lock correctly in to multiple positions. This applies to both manual and electric seats.

Seat belt pre-tensioners designed to tighten the belt and restrict movement in the event of a serious accident will also be checked. A failure will be caused by a malfunction indicated by a warning light, or where they have deployed. If fitted as standard when the car was built, they must still be in place.

Seat belt load limiters will also be checked for deployment. The most common are an area of webbing on the belt designed to unstitch in a high impact collision and limit any injury that can be caused to the upper body by the belt itself.

 Tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS)

Where fitted, the warning light should come on with the ignition and then extinguish. This check applies only built with the system after Jan 2012.

 Air bags

All airbags fitted as original equipment to a vehicle must be present and the airbag warning light should go out after the car is started.

 Catalytic converter

If fitted to the car as original equipment, the catalytic converter must be present.


The speedometer must be present and operational. A broken or incomplete dial or one that does not illuminate will cause the car to fail.

 Rear doors

The rear doors of a vehicle should open from the outside via the intended method of operation. All doors will be checked for ease of opening, along with the catches, hinges and pillars.

 Fuel system

Fuel pipes will now be checked for damaged and deterioration.

 Engine mountings

Engine mountings that have deteriorated and allow excess movement will cause a vehicle to fail.

 Trailer wiring & tow bars

7 pin sockets will be checked for damage, whilst 13 pin sockets will be fully tested to ensure full operation and correct illumination functions.

The tow bar will be checked for poor repair of fitment and the likelihood of it affecting the roadworthiness of the vehicle or object on tow.

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What Affects my Stopping Distance?

Here we have listed some of the top factors that can affect your stopping distance and how you can prevent them from causing a serious accident in the future. read more