As a vehicle owner, it is your responsibility to ensure your vehicle has an up-to-date MOT certificate. Ministry of Transport (MOT) tests aren’t just a legal requirement, they are there to ensure that your vehicle is safe and roadworthy. The MOT is also required to ensure the emissions your vehicle emits are at a manageable level and don’t become too excessive. Your annual MOT protects the environment as well as you, your passengers and other road users.
Taking your vehicle in for an MOT can be daunting, no matter how new your vehicle is or how confident you are of its condition. Passing first time is the desired outcome, but with news that almost 50% of all vehicles fail their MOTs due to simple faults that could be fixed at home, passing with flying colours isn’t always a given. In this blog post, we reveal the quick checks that could see you pass your MOT test first time, every time.
Check handbrake and fluid levels
The handbrake is a vital component of any vehicle. It’s quick and easy to check that your handbrake works correctly. If your vehicle rolls when the handbrake is engaged or you have to pull your handbrake up a long way, it could require adjustment.
Going under the bonnet to check fluid levels is another task that takes no time at all. Your brake fluid levels are particularly important so make sure these are as they should be. The feel of your brakes could be a vital indicator of fluid levels and/or condition. If your brakes feel spongy when pressed, there could be air in the system which must be removed via bleeding. Your fuel and engine oil should also be at the required levels for testing.
Examine your shock absorbers and windscreen
Windscreen cracks or chips are another thing that should be easily remedied before you take your vehicle in for its MOT. Damage of 40mm or more in size will result in a fail as the driver’s view could be impaired. As well as the windscreen, check that the washers and wiper blades are in good condition, topping up any screenwash where necessary.
Your vehicle’s shock absorbers should also be checked. To check your absorbers, bounce each corner of your car. If the vehicle doesn’t settle after two bounces they could need replacing.
Check mirrors, lights and number plates
Cracked number plates could mean MOT failure so pay special attention to those. Whilst you can still legally drive with a broken passenger side mirror, a missing driver side mirror will result in a failed MOT test. Check all mirrors (including wing and rear view) for damage, replacing and repairing where required.
Your lights are another area that is checked rigorously during the MOT test. All lights should be in working order and headlight covers should be in good repair. Replacing a bulb is easy, whilst giving working, dirty external lights a good scrub will ensure the level of visibility needed to pass. Make sure the brake lights are working too. This is not only one of the most common areas of failure, it’s also illegal to drive with a broken brake light. If pulled over by the police for this fault, you will be given a vehicle defect rectification notice, which gives you 14 days to get the fault rectified.
Look at your seats and seatbelts
Internally your vehicle must be fully equipped for safety. The driver’s seat should be able to be adjusted, so test its movement backwards and forwards. All seatbelts fitted in your vehicle should be free from damage. Again you should test the movement of the seatbelt, which should become restricted when tugged as if the vehicle has had to brake sharply.
Check your tyres and wheels
The treads on your tyres should have a depth of at least 1.6mm. Any less than this and your vehicle will fail its MOT. The 20p check is an easy way to ensure you have enough tread on your tyres. Simply insert the coin into the tread with the lowest depth, if you can’t see the outer rim around the edge of the coin your tyres are safe. If you can see this rim, they will require replacement.
For further information on the essential checks your vehicle needs to pass as part of its MOT test, please read our MOT test checklist. Is your vehicle due for its MOT? If you are based in the Waterlooville area you can book in online for many of our motoring services, including our MOT packages.