Preparing your motorbike for its MOT test

An MOT test can be a worrying time for any motorbike owner. It can be costly too but, with some simple preparation, you can dramatically reduce the chances of failing your MOT for simple reasons that are easily avoidable.

owner tinkering with their motorbike

Things like faulty lights, missing reflectors and the wrong size registration plates are some of the most common reasons for failing an MOT test but they’re easily rectified before you get to the test centre.

Here’s our motorbike MOT preparation checklist to improve your chances of passing the MOT. It’s not fool proof but it should increase your chances!

1. Lights

Check that all your lights and their controls are working properly. This includes warning lights as well as signals and brake lights. Also check that your headlamp is pointing in the right direction (forwards and downwards very slightly).

2. Rear reflector

Make sure your bike has a rear reflector, without one you won’t pass your MOT test.

3. Horn

Give it a blast and make sure it works.

4. Petrol Cap

If your petrol cap isn’t sealed correctly and it leaks, you’re in trouble. Make sure it fits properly.

5. Tyres

Make sure your tyres have the correct tread depth, are not damage and are fitted correctly. Also check your wheel alignment, this should only be a problem if you have tampered with your bike or have been involved in an accident.

motorcycle tyres close up 700px

6. Footrests

Your footrests should be secure. Tighten them up to prevent any wobbly footrests.

7. Nuts and bolts

Do a quick round of your bike to ensure any nuts, bolts and loose fairings are tightened to make them secure.

8. Chain

Your chain should be lubricated, complete and the tension should be correct. This is something that you can check and change yourself. There should be some give in a chain, but not too much, when you apply pressure on it with two fingers.

brake and throttle wide

9. Brakes and pads

Your brakes need to work and that’s not just to pass your MOT but to keep you safe on the road, obviously.
Your brake pads should also have 1mm of width. If they’re below that limit, change them before the MOT to avoid potentially paying twice.

10. Seat

Lost your seat? Then you will fail your MOT. It should also be secure.

11. Number plate

Having a registration or number plate that’s the wrong size can result in an MOT fail. If you’ve fitted a new, smaller registration plate, revert to your original one before the MOT.

12. Exhaust leaks

You can easily check your exhaust for leaks by starting up the engine and holding a rag over the end. You will hear if anything is blowing out along the seams.
Akrapovic exhaust close up wide

13. Suspension and steering

When you apply pressure to your front forks, there should be no clunky sounds and it should be relatively stiff under simple pressure.

Similarly, turning from full lock to full lock should test steering. Your handlebars should not catch on your accelerator cable or hit the fuel tank when turned fully.

What if I find something wrong with my motorcycle?

If anything isn’t right and you don’t feel like you can fix it yourself, go to a garage and get it fixed before your MOT. This will mean that you shouldn’t fail your MOT and be forced to pay again for a retest.

The best protocol to pass your MOT is regular maintenance and check-up and a service before your MOT.

While Service costs are more than an MOT, it can save paying for two tests if it brings up any faults. It should also put your mind at ease with regards to your bike’s general condition.

Remember, an MOT is a legal requirement and skipping an MOT can invalidate your insurance, which, in the long run, could cost you much more than the test.

Next page: Motorbike MOT - a guide