including regulated exhaust emissions levels put in place by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA, formally VOSA).During an MOT test, major components will be checked to ensure they meet legal standards and your vehicle is safe to drive for another year. From May 2018, new MOT rules were introduced, which means any defects will be categorised as either dangerous, major or minor.In most cases, even if your car passes its MOT, it still might have some minor faults. One example would be your tyres might be near the legal limit. They pass the test on the day, but its highly recommended you get them changed for new ones as soon as possible. For peace of mind, its good to get all the issues sorted on your car, to keep it safe and in good condition.
Why does my car need an MOT?
If your car is more than three years old, you are legally obliged to have an MOT. Driving without a valid MOT is illegal and your car could be dangerously unsafe to drive.It’s good practice to check and set a reminder for when your next car MOT is due to ensure you don’t miss it.
Which components are checked on my car?
Every MOT tester will conduct a thorough examination of your vehicle to ensure it has a sound structure and is free from damage. Whilst the examiner doesn’t check the condition of the engine, clutch or gearbox, they will check all of the other key components, so it’s important to keep on top of your car’s maintenance.Steering, suspension, exhaust systems, seats, seatbelts, windscreen, mirrors, brakes, handbrake, wipers, lights, horn and many of the electrical components are all checked as part of an MOT test.I’m sure you would agree that’s a lot of components and it’s difficult to check all of these before a test. There are some things you won’t be able to check and can only be fixed at your local MOT garage. Generally, if you can check the majority and give your car a once over before the next test, you can save yourself time and expense.Let’s look at 10 easy things to check before booking your car’s next MOT.
1) Check Your Lights Are Working
All of your car’s headlamps, sidelights, beam, indicators and brake lights need to be working. It can be frustrating if your car fails on a simple broken bulb, when you could have saved labour costs by switching it our yourself.
2) Check Your Tyres Have Enough Tread
The minimum legal tyre tread limit as set in UK law, is 1.6mm. This needs to be in a continuous band which wraps around the central three-quarters of the tyre.If you were to be caught driving on the road with tyres below the legal limit, it could be a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points per tyre!Therefore, its good practice to check your tyres regularly. Tyres with low tread are not as effective and can impact on your stopping distance, especially in wet conditions.A good tip to check the tread of your tyres is to simply use a 20p coin. Take the coin and insert it between the grooves on the tyre. If you can see the outer section of the coin, then unfortunately your tyres are below the legal limit. Get them changed by a professional before your next MOT.
3) Test The Horn
The easiest thing to check, make sure the horn works on your car as this is checked during an MOT test.
4) Check Your Windscreen
Over time, your windscreen can collect chips, cracks and damage from driving. If this damage obstructs the view of the driver and is considered dangerous, your car will fail the test.If a chip is not over the size of 10mm in the drivers view and no larger than 40mm elsewhere on the windscreen, you should be okay, but it’s down to the tester’s judgment.If you think your windscreen will fail the test, get it repaired or replaced by a professional to save the trouble before your car’s MOT.Whilst checking your windscreen, don’t forgot to check your wash reservoir has enough liquid and your wipers are in good working order.
5) Check The Mirrors
To pass its MOT, your vehicle needs your obligatory mirrors intact. This means one interior and one offside mirror.When checking your car’s mirrors, ensure that none are cracked, severely impairing your view or exposing a damaged edge.
6) Brake Fluid Check
This is a very important one to check regularly, even when your MOT isn’t due for a while. Brake fluid is required by the brake system in order to stop your car safely. Low levels or old fluid can be dangerous, so its good practice to check.Under the bonnet, you should see a brake fluid reservoir with a ‘Min’ and ‘Max’ mark. The brake fluid needs to be between these two instructions. If the level is looking a little low, give the fluid a top up with the correct brand of fluid for your vehicle make and model.If in doubt, this will be checked during the MOT test and will be fixed, if necessary, at cost.
7) Check Any Dashboard Warning Lights
If you’re like me, if you see a warning light on your dashboard you like to get it checked straight away and fixed. If, however you haven’t had the chance or didn’t think it was important, now is the time to check and get any warning lights fixed, as your car will fail if it has any.Referred to as the ‘malfunction indicator lamp test’ which only came into effect in 2012, it’s a simple visual test – if the tester turns on the ignition and warning lights appear, your car instantly fails the MOT. This will most likely land you with an additional bill from the garage to investigate and diagnose the issue.
8) Check Oil Level
Although the MOT tester doesn’t check the condition of the engine, your vehicles oil level is an important part of an MOT because without it, the garage will not be able to test emission levels.Again, this is another good one to check regularly as old oil and low levels can damage your engine, leading to very expensive bills!
9) Clean Your Car
This may seem unnecessary, but it’s a good thing to do. You won’t fail the MOT if your car is a little dirty, but you need to ensure number plates are dirt-free and easy to read and that also your lights are not blurred by smudged glass.
10) Maintain Your Car Regularly
Your next MOT shouldn’t be the only reason you check your vehicle. For peace of mind and to ensure your safety, it’s good to get into a habit of checking these things regularly on your car. These checks will keep your car safe, maintain it’s performance, and help towards keeping costs down when needing your next MOT.
We hope you found these tips practical and helpful.