What does COVID19 mean for MOTs? And how do I know my car is safe to drive? We reveal all.
Are you someone whose MOT was due to expire between 30 March and 31 July 2020? If so, you’ve no doubt made use of the government’s six-month extension scheme necessitated by the pandemic. That said, you’ll now be driving a car that hasn’t been checked for roadworthiness in quite some time.
Not to worry – we’ve chatted to Paul Maynard, our Lead Technical Trainer, on how you can get back on the road safely before you’ve had the MOT test done.
Start with your tyres
“Because the whole weight of a car rests on the tyres, they’re the first thing you should check,” Maynard says. “Tyres lose air naturally over time and as pressure decreases, the car becomes less effective at braking and taking corners. Tyre pressure even impacts the number of times you need to stop at the petrol station.”
For this task, you’ll need a tyre pressure gauge with a digital or analogue screen.
- First, check your user manual for the tyre pressure you want to aim for
- Starting with the first wheel, remove the screw caps from the tyre valve
- Press the tyre pressure gauge onto the end of the valve
- Lock the gauge into place
- Check the reading you’re getting
- Is pressure too high? Release the lock to let some air out. Is pressure too low? Add more air using a pump.
- Repeat for all four tyres (and the spare), sticking to the levels outlined in the user manual
- Replace the valve caps
Move to the fluids next
“Our engines, power steering systems and brakes all rely on healthy fluids to work,” Maynard says. Check each in turn.
Stuck? Take a look at our handy guide on the subject.
Start the engine
- Engage the engine and listen carefully. Are you hearing a hissing sound, a whine, tapping or clicking noise? If so, disengage the engine and call a specialist.
- If all sounds fine, test the brakes. Do they feel normal? Are the brakelights turning on? (You might need to enlist a household member to check the brakelights.)
- Check the dashboard for warning lights. If anything looks amiss, or an ominous symbol is appearing on the dash, consult your user manual to isolate the problem.
Check the mirrors and windscreen
It goes without saying, but being able to see the road clearly is hugely important, and yet many of us take our windscreens and mirrors for granted. Before setting out, make sure the windows are clean, that the mirrors are in working order and that there aren’t any chips or abrasions present. Chips can easily turn into cracks, which makes driving dangerous.
Book an MOT test
An MOT is not a service, but required by law for any vehicle three years or older.
If your MOT was due to expire between 30 March and 31 July 2020, you have extra breathing room. However, if your MOT was set to expire from 1 August 2020 onwards, the extension scheme doesn’t apply to you, and you’ll need to book an MOT test immediately, as failure to do so could result in a £1,000 fine.
The good news is that we have over 160 testing centres throughout the UK, with hourly next-day appointments available, and over 50 years of expertise.
Book an MOT test today to ensure your car is road legal – and for your own peace of mind.