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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

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Supported by The British Army

MOT check-up (car)

Do you know what an MOT test involves? Find out and get a car ready for its big day.

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Chat about MOTs

  1. The person leading the activity should ask if anyone knows what an MOT test is. MOT stands for Ministry of Transport; an MOT test is a legally required check for all vehicles driving on the roads. Vehicles have to get their first MOT test three years after they’re registered, and again every year after that.

The first MOT tests were held in 1960. They didn’t include checking the tyres, lights, or windscreen!

  1. The person leading the activity should explain that an MOT test checks whether a vehicle is safe to drive and meets environmental standards. Even if everything seems to be in tip-top condition, a car won’t pass if it’s spewing harmful emissions out.

It may feel frustrating (and be expensive) to get your vehicle tested every year, but it keeps you, other road users, and the environment safe. It also saves you from big fines.

  1. Everyone should try to think of things an MOT test includes. They look at everything, from making sure number plates are clean and easy to read to seatbelts and steering.

For more information on what’s involved in an MOT, check out the government website or watch the video together.

To watch in full screen, double click the video


Go through the checklist

You probably won’t be able to check everything on the MOT, but following these steps will help someone prepare for an MOT test. You could use a friend’s, parent’s, or leader’s car – just make sure to get there permission first.

Always check the handbook for the vehicle you’re using or get advice from a qualified or experienced mechanic: we don’t want any broken cars on our hands. This activity must always be supervised and guided by someone competent.

  1. Check that the car’s clean inside and out. A boot full of clutter (or an excessively dirty car) could make an examiner refuse to carry out the MOT test.
  2. Clean the number plates – they need to be readable to pass the MOT.
  3. Check the windscreen wipers are in good condition with no tears. Check out Non-stop wiper swap for some top tips.
  4. Check the lights are in working order – ask a friend to stand outside the car and check each out. Check out Change a car bulb for some top tips.
  5. Check the tyre tread and pressure. Check out Pit stop practice and Tyre pressure top-up for the lowdown.
  6. Top up all fluid levels including screen wash and oil. Check out Clean screen machine for the screen wash.
  7. Check that the mirrors are intact and secure – can the driver use them safely?
  8. Check the horn works – give it a quick ‘honk’!


This activity was all about developing skills. Why’s it useful to be able to get stuck in to vehicle maintenance? It helps keep people safe and can save you money too. It’s also better for the environment to look after vehicles so less resources are used to repair avoidable faults (or even replace cars). Was it easy to learn this skill? Is this skill the same for every single vehicle, or would people still need to check the manual?

This activity also gave people the chance to be independent. How did it feel to get stuck in to a practical task? What role did the adults have in this activity? They supervised to make sure no one (and no vehicles) got hurt.


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.


This task involves the use of potentially harmful fluids or chemicals. Make sure you follow all relevant safety guidance. Make sure you dispose of them appropriately too, in line with safety guidance.

Manufacturer’s guidelines

All vehicles will be different so always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.


Before completing this activity make sure you have suitable personal protective equipment (PPE). This could include eye or ear protection, gloves, and anything else you need to protect yourself. You’ll know what you need as a result of completing the risk assessment for the activity.

Vehicle readiness

Before completing this activity, make sure that the engine’s fully cooled. The vehicle should be parked on flat, stable ground with the parking brake applied.

Outdoor activities

You must have permission to use the location. Always check the weather forecast, and inform parents and carers of any change in venue.

While this activity must always be supervised and guided by someone competent, they can vary the level of hands-on help they provide. People with more knowledge and experience should do more for themselves (with supervision); people with less knowledge and experience may need more hands-on help.

The person supervising and guiding the activity can help out with parts anyone finds tricky including reading instructions, lifting or moving heavy objects, or doing the smaller or more fiddly tasks.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

If anyone’s mastered changing wiper blades, they could try replacing the rubber using wiper blade refills. It’s much less wasteful (and cheaper) than changing the whole blade, but it’s more fiddly too.

This activity’s just one area of vehicle maintenance and repair. Encourage anyone who’s interested to complete the other activities in the Scouts Mechanic Activity Badge.

Involve young people in the decision about how to do the Scouts Mechanic Activity Badge (if they want to do it at all) – would they rather do the activities separately over different meetings or as part of an activity day? Just because this activity needs supervision (and you can’t alter the content or safety guidance), doesn’t mean young people can’t have a say.