Once your car reaches three-years-old it is a legal requirement that it passes a Ministry of Transport (MOT) test annually. You can be fined up to £1,000 for driving without an MOT test certificate. If your car fails the test, you will have to pay to fix the defects and then, depending on timing and your mechanic’s fees, there may be additional charges for it to be put through another test. To make sure that your car passes its MOT without costing you too much in time and money, take these preventative measures to increase the chances of it passing first time.
What Will the MOT Test Assess?
Carried out by an authorised MOT centre, the MOT test will check important aspects of your car, including your tyres, wheels, bonnet, registration plates, lights, electrical wiring, battery, windscreen wipers, windscreen washer fluid, steering, suspension, seats, seat belts, fuel system, general body condition, boot, tailgate, towbar, exhaust emissions, exhaust system, mirrors, doors, brakes and horn. It does not cover the condition of the engine, clutch or gear box.
Boost Your Passing Chances
Before taking your car in for its MOT, it’s worth you first carrying out these few simple checks:
Turn on your indicator, hazard, brake, rear, side, fog and headlights to see if they are all working. It is easier to do this if you have a friend do the checking whilst you switch each of the lights on in turn. Once the car has cooled down, replace any blown bulbs. Doing this yourself should be cheaper than getting your mechanic to do it for you.
Clean your front and back number plates so that they are legible and free from dirt.
The windscreen should have no marks larger than 40mm. If it does have damage exceeding this, get it repaired or, if necessary, have the windscreen replaced.
Ensure that your wiper blades are free from tears or holes. If they are showing signs of damage replace them.
Wheels and Tyres
These should show no signs of damage and each tyre’s tread should be at least 1.6mm in depth. Replace any bald or damaged tyres.
Check that the driver’s seat can be moved backwards and forwards. Pull out the full length of all seatbelts and look for signs of damage. Fasten each seatbelt and then tug on them sharply to check that they will react as required should you brake suddenly.
Fuel and Oil
When your car engine is cold, ensure that your engine oil is at the required level. You will also need to arrive with a reasonable amount of fuel in your tank, so that they can test emission levels.
Arrange a Service Simultaneously
If the timings work out, try to schedule your car’s annual service to coincide with its MOT. In this way any faults can be picked up and rectified at the service and it should pass its MOT with flying colours.