What You Can Do Before Your MOT Test

Getting your car through an annual MOT can be a worrying event, especially if you rely on your vehicle to get to school and work, but there are things you can do to make sure that your car stands the best possible chance of getting through its MOT test.  One thing you can do to make things go more smoothly is to check the car yourself first to ensure all basics are covered. There is a full MOT test checklist is available online, but here are some of the easiest items to tick off.

 

Steering, Brakes and Lights

Originally, the MOT test back in the 60s looked at three things – steering, lights and the brakes on a car. This was because these three features allow drivers to stop their cars, get them safely off the road after a breakdown or avoid an accident, as well as making the vehicle visible in the dark, allowing other road users can avoid them, all instances which could make the difference between a serious accident and an inconvenient, minor breakdown. Before a test you should check that all of your lights are bright and even, that your brakes are very responsive in an emergency stop and that  your steering has little or no excess play before the wheels respond.

Check the Tread on Your Tyres

Your MOT isn’t the only reason you should ensure that your tyres have enough tread.  It’s vital that your car has the correct tread depths because if they have become worn significantly it will affect your stopping distance, particularly in wet weather conditions. If you’re caught on the road with tyres below the required depth you could face a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points per tyre. UK driving law requires that your vehicle is fitted with the correct tyre size and type, and that the tyres are fit for purpose. The minimum legal tyre tread in the United Kingdom is 1.6mm, in a continuous band that wraps around the central three-quarters of the tyre.

You can quickly check the tread of your tyres with the help of a 20p coin. Take the coin and insert it into the grooves on the tyre. You should not be able to see the outer band of the coin if your tyres are within the legal limit. If you can see that section of the coin, your tyres could be unsafe, so it’s best to get them checked and changed by a professional before your MOT.

Make Sure You’re All Topped Up

Make sure your fluids are topped off. This means, as well as making sure you have enough fuel in the vehicle, you should top up the water in your radiator, ensure your windscreen washer reservoir is filled, and that you have enough oil for the smooth operation of your vehicle too. You can check this by taking a quick look under the bonnet. Do this test with the engine off and cool and the car parked on a flat, even surface.  Locate the dipstick and pull it out, then wipe off any excess oil to ensure that you’re starting with a clean stick. Dip the dipstick back in and remove once more and you should see the oil sitting between the ‘min’ and ‘max’ marking on the dipstick. If you don’t, you’ll need to top up your oil.

Test Your Horn

Usually we rarely have cause to sound our horn. But they can be vital in an emergency, alerting other road users about danger and helping to avoid accidents and collisions that could be fatal.  As you’re doing your full pre-MOT checks, be sure to check the horn.

Check Your Windscreen

Windscreens can be very difficult to assess because some marks will pass an MOT, whilst others won’t. Generally speaking,  if a mark is not over the size of 10mm and is not obstructing the driver’s view or on the driver’s side of the windscreen, or if the mark is no larger than 40mm on the rest of the windscreen, then everything should be fine. These marks include chips, cracks or significant scratches. The best advice would be if in doubt, get it checked by a professional.

 

 

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