If you need to go out, particularly at night, you need to know that all of your lights are working properly.

It’s easy enough to check most of them yourself, but you may need help with the brake lights. Many bulbs are easily available from petrol stations or online. LED lights may need ordering from your main dealer.


Both headlights should work on both dipped beam (for normal driving) and full beam (the floodlight effect for dark, empty roads). Both should be the same type of white: a yellow or slight blue tinge is acceptable if both sides are the same.


Make sure they all work and are the same brightness of red. If one is brighter, it has the wrong bulb in it. Light pink or white light means you need a new bulb.


These should work on both sides and should be a brighter red than the main lights.

If there is a high level brake light, often at the top centre of the back window, it should light up (across at least 50% of its width if it has many LEDs inside) OR be permanently and obviously disconnected.


All of these should work, including those set in wing mirrors. Check them on left, right and by using the hazard switch. All indicators must be a bright amber colour. Pale or white light means you need a new bulb.

In some light units, another light might dim or go off while the indicator is flashing. If this is consistent on both sides of the vehicle, it’s probably supposed to be like that and is nothing to worry about. If it only happens on one corner, there’s a problem.


AKA position lamps or parking lights: can be used for when visibility isn’t great but it’s not poor enough to need headlights, or when parking on a street with a speed limit above 30mph. These should be working on both sides, front and rear.


These should come on with sidelights and main lights. Many vehicles have more than one bulb: only one is needed to pass an MOT, but you should replace a blown bulb as the other may follow it soon.


Front fog lights are only part of the MOT for vehicles registered from 1st March 2018. At least one rear fog light is needed on vehicles registered from 1st April 1980 and this can be positioned anywhere between the centre and the driver’s side.


These may or may not be fitted and are only part of the MOT for vehicles registered from 1st March 2018.

DISCLAIMER: This is one of our basic tips for helping to keep you safe on the roads between MOT tests. The nature of vehicle wear and tear means we cannot cover every possible situation and tips should not be considered complete and definitive advice. If in doubt, ask a mechanic to check your vehicle.

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