How to ensure you never fail an MOT

By: Dave MotorCycle Direct Posted: March 15th, 2017

With spring on its' way, many bikers are looking to dust their bikes off, get out on the road and enjoy the breaks of pleasant weather. Before you can consider getting out on your bike, you need to check you've got the correct cover to be on the road including a valid MOT. It can be a dreaded time of year for many vehicle owners having to spend large amounts of money to get back on the road. We will take a look at some essential checks you can do prior to your MOT to increase your chances of passing and save you some money in the process.

Check the Chassis

Be sure to check your chassis over for any loose parts or anything that wobbles when the bike moves. You may already have suspicions of loose bushes and dodgy bearings from riding the bike so be sure to get these checked out before the bike goes in for its' MOT as these will without a doubt be picked up on.

Tyre tread

It's a bit of a no brainer, checking your tyres have enough tread should be done all year round not just before an MOT test. Not having enough tread can lead to dangerous scenarios caused by skidding to a lack of traction on the road. Be sure to inspect your tyres regularly for foreign objects, or cracks that may lead to punctures. Any of these signs will lead to a failed test.


Failing on something so simple can be frustrating so don't let it come to that and check that all of your lights work as they should. Check all indicators, brake lights, front and rear lights. Ask for some assistance for those lights that are tricky to test on your own. They can also assist with checking your headlight is correctly adjusted at a level that doesn't dazzle other road users.

Number plate

Not having a valid number plate will lead to an automatic fail. Some riders modify their plates to improve the appearance of their bike however this can make them invalid and will fail an MOT. The plate must be split over two lines and on a reflective yellow background. The letters themselves should be 64mm x 34mm, 10mm thick and spaced 10mm apart.

Chains sprockets and belts

It is important to check the chains, sprockets and belts on your bike prior to your MOT. Degrease, clean and inspect for any stiff links or tightness that may result in a fail. Ensure your sprockets aren't worn out with missing teeth or have any hooks. Your drive belt should be thoroughly inspected for damage or degrading rubber.

Ability to stop

Crucial in any scenario on the road is stopping at a safe distance. If your bike displays any signs of juddering when braking then the test machine will pick up on this. Check that your brake discs are above minimum thickness with no apparent cracks or damage.


Often testers have different interpretations as to how a bike should sound. If you're putting anything on your bike that's 'track use only' or 'not for road use', this is sure to result in an instant MOT fail. Ensure any silencer you decide to put on your bike is road legal. The exhaust should be secure too so make sure you check this.

Pillion safety

If you have a seat for a pillion on your bike then make sure it is secure and that your pillion has access to either grab handles or footrests. If footrests are installed, ensure that they are securely fitted as this will be picked up on under the passenger safety section of the test.

Clean and no loose ends

Any loose components on your bike is a one way road to a failed test as there has likely been damage, or will be damage to the bike as a result. Give all the nooks and crannies a good tighten up to avoid this and assess and resolve any loose components. Give the bike a good clean. This might sound like an obvious thing to do but it shows that you take pride in your bike and look after it. Also it means that your tester won't feel annoyed with having to work with a dirty bike and might be more likely to let you walk away with an advisory as opposed to a fail.