Every year you are legally obliged to put your car through an MOT test to ensure it is still road worthy. For the standard car (8 seats or below) each test will cost you £54.85, and should you fail and have to retake the test you will have to pay the fee again; on top of the cost of the repairs. So what steps can you take to improve your chances of passing first time round?
- Focus on the little things- When your MOT is just a few days away it is easy for the little things to escape your attention. Much like a driving test a single minor issue will not result in failure; a whole lot however will. A few of the things we suggest you focus on are your car’s horn and windscreen wipers, and be sure to keep an eye open for any chips or cracks in your mirrors, windscreen and lights.
- Check fluid levels- Keeping your eye on your car's oil is a standard car maintenance procedure, but make sure that other fluids that your car relies upon are kept replenished also. This includes things like your car’s screen wash and water levels, but most importantly the brake fluid. To check your brake fluid, simply push down on the brake pedal.
- Brakes- Continuing from the last point, if your brake pedal receives little or no resistance and goes right down to the floor, there could be a brake fluid leak somewhere in the system or possibly a damaged master cylinder (the cylinder where the brake fluid gets compressed). Either way, this issue will need to be resolved before you will pass the MOT.Other brake related issues that can result in failure if not addressed include:
- Gritty brake pedals which may indicate that your brake pad has worn away and requires replacing
- A damaged vacuum servo (AKA brake booster) which can result in too much resistance from your brake pedals, and prevent them from working at all.
- Uneven brake pads that cause different levels of pressure to be applied to the tyres, which in-turn causes your car to feel as though it is being pulled to the left or right whilst you are braking.
- Tyres- A damaged tyre can cause you a lot of trouble, but luckily the damage will rarely have occurred over night so you will have had plenty of warnings. Before you go for your MOT check your tyre pressure and tread depth. A tread depth gauge will allow you to check this, and while 1.6mm is the minimum legal requirement, damage will have started to occur. It is for this reason that we recommend you never allow your tread to reach such a low level.
- Lights- Checking all the external lights for breakages or even small damages before going in for your MOT can save you a lot of hassle. This includes head lamps, indicators, brake lights and the most commonly forgotten number plate illumination lights. It also does not hurt to give them all a good clean before heading in.
- Mirrors- It is common sense as well as generally good practice to replace damaged mirrors as and when the damage occurs, but one thing that is often overlooked by car owners is their mirrors adjustability. They may be perfectly suited to your needs, but if the side or rear-view mirrors cannot be adjusted, they will need to be repaired or replaced.