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Testing Matters

10 Tips for getting your car through its MOT

The dreaded MOT. As we are sure you are aware most people dislike taking their car for its yearly check-up and we can understand why. During the MOT, important parts on your car will be checked to make sure they meet the legal standards and the basic safety requirements to be on the road. You are allowed to watch the test from a viewing area, however you’re not allowed to interrupt the test once it has started. Many of us choose not to watch the test as the thought of being told your car has failed its MOT fills most drivers with enough dread already. Our cars just seem to be money pits that suck our wallets and purses dry at the best of times, so here are some simple checks that should help you feel better about getting your car through the MOT.

MOT Checks Outside The Car

Check your lights, both inside and outside before your MOT and replace any bulbs that aren’t working. It surprises some people to learn that nearly a third of cars fail due to faulty lighting. You can check most lights yourself by switching them on and walking around the car.

The only lights you shouldn’t check without help are your brake lights. Most cars have brake lights integrated into the rear lamps as well as a high level brake light. Ask someone to stand at the rear of your car while pressing the brake pedal to check they work.

Number plates have become a hot topic in more recent times on the MOT. You should check your number plates are legible and have the same registration on both. The MOT looks at the lettering and spacing to ensure they are correct and that it complies with the law. Having a car with “show plates” could result in a failure.

Tyres are another major reason for MOT failures which could also lead to large fines and points on your licence. The legal minimum tyre tread depth is 1.6 mm, although many experts would recommend you replace tyres at 2 mm or even 3 mm as this could improve your stopping distance. You should also check that the tyres are not damaged and that they are inflated to the correct pressure.

MOT Checks Inside The Car

All the seatbelts should be in good condition, not be frayed or cut anywhere and in good working order. You can test them by quickly pulling on the seatbelt to ensure they lock under load. You should also check your seats to make sure they are secure when driving.

While you are sat in the drivers seat press your horn and make sure it works. You may want to consider your surroundings and the time of day before you test the horn. A short, sharp blast should be enough to confirm everything is in order here.

Still sitting in the driver seat check the windscreen as even a small chip within a driver’s line of vision could cause a car to fail. If there are any chips or cracks make sure the windscreen is repaired or replaced as necessary before the MOT test takes place.

Another common point of MOT failures are wiper blades that are either missing, insecure or in poor condition. Make sure your wiper blades clear the screen without smearing to give you an unimpeded view, that the rubber isn’t coming away at the ends and remember to check the rear wiper blade too.

MOT Checks Under The Bonnet

You car could fail if the washers do not provide enough liquid to clear the screen, so make sure you check your washer fluid is topped up before the test. Surprisingly an empty washer fluid container is one of the more common reasons for cars to fail the MOT test.

Another part of the MOT test is your cars emissions, so for this you need to check your oil level to ensure your engine is properly lubricated. Oil can have an effect on the car emissions as well as its performance so make sure you use the correct oil for your car. Also make sure there is fuel in the tank as some MOT testers have been known to refuse to test a car due to them coming in with fuel lights on.

MOT Tips: What Else Can You Do

The MOT test also covers other areas which are harder to check outside of a workshop like the brakes, steering and suspension. For these aspects of your car many garages and workshops can offer a pre-MOT inspection and advise you of any points they feel need attention. You can also read comments from your previous MOT tests, as they may have listed advisories that may result in a failure at your next MOT test. If you’re not sure or don’t understand the advisories, then just ask the tester as they should be able to explain and possibly show you what work is required. Also get any warning lights checked out as these may cause your car to fail.

In addition having your car regularly serviced at quality garage like a local Servicesure Autocentres member will help you achieve reliable, safer, happy motoring and peace of mind. Visiting a Servicesure Autocentre means that your car is guaranteed to be looked after by qualified professionals while ensuring your vehicle is serviced and repaired to the manufacturers’ specifications. By using your local Servicesure Autocentre you could also take advantage of an exclusive National Warranty Scheme that guarantees the replacement parts that have been fitted to your vehicle should anything go wrong.