If your car is about to undergo a MOT test, you may want to do some pre-checks before handing the keys over to your tester, as this may help save you money in the long run.
Most of us are usually happy to send our vehicle for a test and then worry about what it may fail on, rather than taking some time to carry out simple checks to give our motorcycle, car or van the best possible chance of passing first time. Recent DVSA figures show that more than 7 million vehicles fail the MOT test each year. It is against the law to drive a vehicle on the road without a valid MOT test, with fines of up to £2,500 being issued for the most dangerous vehicles.
Here are some checks we recommend you carry out yourself BEFORE you bring your car for an MOT test:
- Lights and Indicators – look around your vehicle (or ask a friend or family member) whilst you switch each of your lights on to confirm they are functioning correctly. It may just be a case of replacing the bulb, which could lead to an MOT failure.
- Fluids – engine oil and coolant should be checked to make sure they are at adequate levels, along with screen wash. Also make sure you have enough fuel to allow the tester to carry out an emissions check!
- Steering and Suspension – whilst driving, listen carefully for any noises or knocks when cornering or braking. It might be a good idea to push down on each wheel of your car and let go to make sure it returns back to it’s normal position (this is known as a ‘bounce test’).
- Body and Chassis – around 7-10% of all MOT failures are due to poor condition body and chassis, so we advise you to always keep a close eye out for any signs of corrosion, particularly where there are sharp edges. Allow enough time to get these repaired properly.
- Brakes – brakes are the cause of around 15% of all MOT failures and don’t just wait for the MOT test to check your brake discs and pads to make sure they are adequate. Also don’t forget to check your handbrake on a steep hill.
- Tyres – 10-15% of MOT failures are due to poor tyre conditions but are by far the easiest part of your vehicle to check. Check the overall condition of your tyres, and in particular your tread depth. Many service centres will also carry out a tyre check for you free-of-charge, so don’t be afraid to ask your local tyre fitters.
- Number Plates – there is much confusion about the legality of number plates, particularly where after-market plates have been purchased and fitted. The general rule of thumb is that plates must be clearly visible, free from damage and completely laminated. They cannot have any background printing or fixings or features that obscure the legal view.
- Visibility – by far the most unnecessary cause of MOT failures, around 8% of vehicles fail the MOT due to poor visibility. These include things like wipers and washer operation, front and rear wiper blades, and cracks in the windscreen cost little to replace or repair. Also remove any items from inside the car that might obscure your view, such as dash cams, air fresheners, soft toys and even the furry dice!
At West End Service Station, we can advise you on what to check beforehand when you book your motorcycle, car or van in with us for its MOT test. Our MOT testing centre is based in Port Talbot, so conveniently located for anyone living in the Swansea Bay Area.