MOTs are a fact of life for every motorist driving a car over three years old. In our blog post How to Cut the Cost of Motoring we talked about ways to keep the cost of owning a car down. One of those was to run a few pre-MOT checks on the basics that can make all the difference to a pass or fail. Our friends at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have now produced a guide called the ‘Minute or Two’ check which is just the ticket for helping to avoid an unnecessary MOT fail. Here at Vospers we’re keen to encourage owners of cars in Plymouth, Exeter and the surrounding areas to give it a go.
1. Head lights 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. The font and spacing of letters must also comply with legal requirements to be passed by the MOT station.
4. Wheels and tyres
Check that wheels and tyres are undamaged. The minimum legal tyre tread depth is 1.6mm 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). If in doubt discuss it with an expert before the MOT.
Inspect the full length for damage and tug sharply on all the seatbelts to check that they react as they’re supposed if you have to brake severely.
Check the view out of the front of the car for damage – damage larger than 40mm will mean a ‘fail’, as will any damage wider than 10mm in the ‘swept’ 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 an MOT test.
Give a short blast of the horn – if it doesn’t work, your dealer will need to repair or replace it.
10. Fuel and engine oil
Make sure your car is filled with enough fuel 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. If you are unsure about the type of oil that should be used, ask your manufacturer main dealer.
There you have it, 10 simple ways to avoid becoming one of the 1.5million drivers whose car fails an MOT unnecessarily every year. If you have an MOT in Plymouth or the surrounding area coming up and you’re not confident when it comes to car maintenance please contact your local Vospers car service centre and we’ll be pleased to offer assistance.