Ok, so it’s almost that time of year again…your MOT date is looming. You could prevent failures by carrying out regular checks yourself at home.
Many drivers don’t attempt to maintain their own cars due to the increasingly complex workings of today’s cars, but this list of simple jobs could mean the difference between passing or failing and you don’t need to be a mechanic to carry them out!
1. Headlights and indicators
Check that all of your car’s lights function properly – headlights, sidelights, rear lights, hazard lights and indicators.
2. Brake lights
Press the brake pedal and ask a friend to check that the rear brake lights come on – including any supplementary brake strip light. Alternatively, carefully reverse up to a reflective surface (window, wall or garage door) and look behind to see for yourself.
3. Number plate
Make sure that the number plate is clean and legible – even a quick wipe with a cloth can make a difference. Also make sure the rear number Plate light/s are working and are clean.
4. Wheels and tyres
Check that wheels and tyres are undamaged. The minimum legal tyre tread depth is 1.6mm at any point of the tyre, side, middle etc and any tyres with less than this will be marked as an MOT ‘fail’ (though it’s recommended that tyres are changed when tread reaches 3mm). Most tyres have a small raised rubber section in-between the tread this is 1.6mm high, when your tyre tread is level with this you are at the legal limit!
5. Seats and seatbelts
The driver’s seat should adjust forwards and backwards and all seatbelts should be in good, working order.
Check the view out of the front windscreen for damage. Damage larger than 40mm will cause a fail, as will any damage wider than 10mm in the area of the windscreen in front of the driver.
7. Windscreen wipers
Make sure your wipers are able to keep your windscreen clean, any tears or holes in the wiper rubber can be an MOT fail.
Top up the washer bottle before taking the car in for a test.
Give a short blast of the horn – if it doesn’t work, your dealer will can repair or replace it.
10.Fuel and engine oil
Make sure your car is filled with enough fuel (more than 1/4 tank) and engine oil – you can be turned away from the MOT without suitable levels of either, both of which are required by the dealership when running the car to test its emissions levels.
When checking fluid levels and handling parts that could be become hot to the touch, always ensure that the vehicle has had an opportunity to cool down.