Top tips to ensure your van passes its MOT

Top tips to ensure your van passes its MOT

Like all roadworthy vehicles, vans need to undergo an MOT test once a year. There are a few exceptions, however these are few and far between - for example, if a van is under three years old, it’s temporarily exempt from MOT until it passes its third birthday.

Failing an MOT can be inconvenient to say the least, and it can be especially annoying if the fail was due to a small issue that you could’ve easily fixed beforehand, like a broken break light or flat tyre. To save you this hassle, at Intack Self Drive all of our vans undergo regular MOT checks to make sure they’re fit for road use. This also applies to all of the vehicles advertised on our car hire, van hire and minibus hire services.

Given that we regularly ensure that all of the vehicles in to our fleet are fit for rent, we know a thing or two about how to keep them in top working order, so they can easily pass any MOT test. So if you’ve got any concerns about your own van passing its MOT test, here’s our handy checklist to help you make sure your van passes first time!


Tyres are a particularly common cause for MOT fails among UK drivers, particularly commercial vehicles like vans, which tend to cover a lot of miles on any working day. On the bright side, it’s extremely easy to test whether your tyres are at risk of earning your van a fail.

Generally, you need to keep on top of your tyre pressure and tread depth. The pressure is easy enough, all you need to do is consult your vehicle handbook to find out the correct tyre pressure, then make sure you get your tyres pumped up before your test. In the case of your tread, your tyres have a depth indicator, and you can check this using the ridge of a 20p piece. All you need to do is place a 20p coin into the main tread grooves of your tyre. If the outer band of the 20p coin is obscured when it is inserted, then your tread is above the legal limit.

Windscreen wipers

Before submitting your van for an MOT test, it’s worth making sure that your windscreen wipers are fully functional, and capable of clearing any dirt, grime or stray fluids on your windscreen. Any cracks or chips in your windshield can also mean an immediate fail, as these can grow to the point where they obscure your vision while driving. Plus, they also weaken the structural integrity of the glass, placing it in greater danger of shattering. (You can see why that might flag up some concerns amongst testers.) So all in all, it’s best to get any cracks repaired before going for an MOT.


Another common reason for a lot of MOT fails is non-functioning lights. To avoid a fail due to this minor problem, take a quick walk around the vehicle a few days beforehand and ensure that your headlights, rear lights, fog lights, indicators and side lights are all in good working order. It’s also a good idea to check your brake lights - it’s best to get a friend or family member to check these for you while you’re in the driver’s seat. If there’s no one immediately available, you can get at least a reasonably good idea by backing up to a reflective surface, and checking them in the rear view mirror.

If there are any lights that aren’t working, don’t panic - the likelihood is that it’s just a faulty bulb. Thankfully, that’s usually a simple and cheap fix which you can probably do yourself.

Bodywork and doors

Starting with the doors, all of them (including your boot) need to be able to open and close properly and securely, in order to pass your MOT. The same goes for your bonnet. As for your bodywork, you’ll need to inspect it to make sure that there are no pieces hanging off or coming loose, as these can quickly become a safety hazard for other road users. Examiners are also inclined to fail vehicles with any sharp edges protruding from their bodies, as these also pose a physical danger to other road users. As a side note - be aware of any rust on your vehicle, as this can interfere with the smoothness of your vehicle suspension, which is also grounds for failure in an MOT.

That’s all the most critical stuff covered! If you follow these tips, your van will be far less likely to fail its MOT. However, should the worst happen and you find yourself in need of some temporary transport while yours is being repaired, we’re here to help. At Intack Self Drive, you can rely on us to provide you with quality vehicles at fantastic prices. We take care of all the maintenance and upkeep of our vehicles, so you don’t have to worry about a thing besides picking out the best vehicle for you.

All of our rental vehicles come with the option to rent through daily hire, or our outstanding Flexi hire service, so whatever your intended destination, we’ll have a vehicle that suits your requirements. Ready to get started? You can browse the best hire deals right here on our site, or give us a call on 01254 57811!

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