If you own a vehicle that`s over three years old you are required by law to take it for an MOT test every year. If your vehicle fails, you must pay for all the repairs necessary before you`re legally allowed to drive it again. A failed MOT also means any car insurance policies you have will be invalidated. It`s a test that most of us dread, not knowing if our car will pass or fail for something we thought was only a minor fault. Here we will tell you what they look out for when testing your vehicle, and what checks you can carry out beforehand to minimise the chance of failing.
Damaged or broken lights is one of the biggest reasons vehicles fail their MOT tests. You should check that your headlights, break lights, hazard lights and indicator lights are all working. You can ask a friend or family member to stand outside the car to check for you to make this easier. If any lights are damaged or not working you will need to replace them or end up failing your MOT.
Your tyres need to have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm in order to pass the test. You can easily check this with most tyres, as they have tread wear indicators in their grooves. These ridges are 1.6mm high, so if the tread has worn down to the same level or below the indicators, then you`re tyres need to be replaced. You should also make sure that they are sufficiently inflated, and check there are no rips or cuts anywhere on the tyre.
Fuel, Engine Oil and Exhausts
You should fill up both your fuel tank and engine oil before taking your car for an MOT. Your car will be tested for it`s exhaust emission levels, and if your fuel or engine oil levels are too low the garage could refuse to test your car. You should also check that your exhaust system doesn`t have any cracks or leaks.
You should check your windscreen to see if it has any small cracks or chips. Check carefully the driver`s area of the windscreen, as any crack more than 10mm in length in this area will result in a failed MOT. For the rest of the windscreen, any crack greater than 40mm will cause a fail. You should also remove any unnecessary stickers from the windscreen, especially if they`re obstructing the driver`s view.
Wipers and Washers
The MOT test will also check if your windscreen wipers are working correctly. Check both the front and back wipers. You should make sure your screen wash is topped up, as an empty screen wash container or blocked flow can cause an MOT fail.
You should check that your seatbelts are working correctly. You can do this by pulling on them firmly to see if they lock, and checking if they can clip and unclip easily. You should also check the belts for tears or rips, and check that the attachment clip is securely fastened to the seat. Also check the driver`s seat to see if it moves back and forward easily and locks securely.
Test your car horn to see if it is working. If not, you will need to get it replaced or you will fail your MOT.
Number Plate and Vehicle Registration Number
You should make sure your car is clean before your MOT test. If any dirt is covering the number plate, or if it is not tightly secured you could fail the test. Your Vehicle Identification Number should also be clearly displayed and legible.
How Much Will It Cost?
This depends on what garage you go to, and what type of vehicle you have. The maximum fee for a car is £54.85, while the most you will pay for a motorcycle is £29.65. A few minutes of shopping around and comparing garages will help you to find a good deal.
You can choose to take your MOT test at either a garage or a local council MOT centre. These centres are not affiliated to any garage so don`t offer repairs, and thus some people believe they are more fair as there is no economic incentive to fail your car. On the other hand, if you do fail your test, you will have to move your car to another garage for any repairs, so it will end up costing you more.