Here in the UK, a car requires an annual MOT to declare whether or not it is road worthy. Without a valid MOT certificate, your insurance will be invalid and so you must not drive your vehicle unless you are heading to the garage in which your MOT is taking place. If your car passes its MOT, you are free to drive it off of the forecourt with your car fully insured. However, if it fails, you will be unable to take it onto the road and will have to pay for repairs and replacements to ensure that your vehicle is once again safe and insured. But how can you assist your vehicle into passing first time?
1. Brake fluid
The brake fluid will be one of the first things examined during your vehicles MOT, so would be well worth assessing yourself before taking it to the garage as this is something which you can fix yourself and give your vehicle a good start to its assessment. By opening the bonnet and taking a look at master cylinder, you will be able to see a visible ‘min’ and ‘max’ marking. The brake fluid must rest in between these marking, not above or below. If your brake fluid is running low, you are able to purchase bottles of it at local car stores, such as Halfords or some petrol garages.
2. Warning lights
When a warning light appears on your dashboard, it is almost an act of commonsense to look up the reason in why it is showing, to check it over and have it fixed, whether that be by yourself or a professional. However, life sometimes gets on top of us and we may occasionally leave these lights flashing at us for a while. If your MOT is approaching and you are aware that the warning light on your dashboard is not something you can fix yourself, get it booked in at a trusted garage and have the issue sorted out before your MOT.
All external lights on your vehicle need to be functioning properly. These are your brake lights, indicators and hazards, reverse, main beam and dipped headlights as well as your rear number plate light. Failure of any one of these will result in a failed MOT. If you are aware that your lights have stopped working before your MOT, get your vehicle booked in and repaired beforehand.
Your tyres should be observed regularly, not just before your MOT. The minimum allowance is 1.66mm and if you notice that yours decreases this, you will need to contact a professional for a tyre repair or replacement. A simple way of checking is to see if a 20p piece will slit in between the tread. The fading of the tread will affect your stopping distance and put yourself as well as other drivers at risk, so will undoubtably result in your vehicle failing its MOT. If there is profound damage, such as slits or chunks missing from your tyre, this will also result in a fail and a replacement will be required before you have the opportunity to be re-tested and passed.
This is the simplest check of them all, your horn. Simply sound the horn and ensure that it still beeps as it should. This will allow you to become confident in the fact that in an emergency or dangerous situation, you will be able to sound it and create an alert to other drivers or pedestrians.
Examine your dashboard before sending your car to the garage for its MOT. It may be that there is a small graze or scratch that you have never noticed before, but if the mechanic spots it and can see that it is larger than 10mm, it will result in your vehicle failing. We would like to think that if you do have a chip or crack in your windscreen, that you would get it mended as soon as possible anyway, so this may be an unlikely find whist checking your car. It is also worth giving the car a clean as what may look like a scratch could be a smear of dirt either internally or externally.
7. Windscreen washer
Whilst on the topic of washing your windscreen, are you aware that an empty bottle of windscreen washer can cause you to fail? Always keep your level of washer liquid at a high to ensure that you can clean your front and back windscreens of any dirt or dust whilst on the road, enabling clear visibility of the road ahead and behind.
8. Number plates
Your number plates will be assessed during the MOT test. If the mechanics are unable to read it from a distance due to a modified font, it being scratched or dented or appearing dirty, this will result in a fail. Personalised number plates are also becoming more common, but you must ensure that the correct spacing is used and that the vehicle has been registered with that plate or else this will also result in a fail. You will have to have the plate corrected to meet the correct guidelines before your vehicle can be re-tested and passed.
If your vehicle is approaching its annual MOT test date and you would like to get it booked in, contact our friendly and professional team on 020 8460 6666 where we will be happy to assist you with any queries and get your vehicle booked in.