MOT check tips

MOT check tips 23rd February 2015

Going through an MOT is a part of life for car owners. In the UK, any car which has been on the road for more than three years must have a valid MOT test carried out annually in order to make sure that their vehicle is roadworthy and safe to drive, both for the owner and other road users. 
Of all cars presented by their owners for an MOT, some 40 per cent will fail and need some work to rectify before they pass, according to data published by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) for 2012/2013. However, while there are some that face large problems that need to be addressed, the vast majority will have failed due to minor issues that the driver could have, and perhaps should have, spotted before presenting their car. 

According to research conducted by website TootCompare, the most common reason for failures in MOT centres across the UK is lighting and signalling, which accounts for up to 46 per cent of failures among the most popular models of family cars. So something as simple as checking and changing a bulb beforehand could save drivers from an inconvenience in many cases.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), drivers should be looking to spend as little as two minutes carrying out checks before they go to an MOT test centre. It would mean that they could inform the expert about potential problems, which could be rectified, saving as many as 1.5 million cars from failing every year. 

What checks can you make?

Before you take your car to the MOT centre, SMMT says, there are certain points that can be checked in order to make sure there's a better chance the car will pass first time, saving yourself time and money in the long run. 

The first of these should be to check that all the lights are functioning properly. This includes the headlights, tail lights, sidelights and hazards/indicators. These can be checked by asking someone to walk around the car as you turn lights on one by one. 

Brake lights are another element to check. To make sure these work, have someone stand behind the car and press the brake pedal to check that the lights all come on. 

Away from the lights, you can also check tread depth on your tyres, make sure your windscreen wipers are able to clean the window properly so that you can see and also ensure your seatbelts function properly. To check these, tug sharply on the belt to ensure that it will lock in an emergency. This is one element of the test that many people would not even think of. 

Finally, there are the minor elements that can be rectified in seconds but still contribute to a number of fails in MOTs every year. The most common of these are problems with number plates. For example, a dirty number plate that is not completely legible can lead to a failure, despite it taking nothing more than a little wipe with a towel to set right. 

By carrying out these small checks before you head to the MOT centre, the chances of your car being passed as roadworthy will be improved.  

Posted by Danielle Barge