How to pass your MOT
Posted on: 28/03/2015Ensuring your car is roadworthy by getting an MOT is not just good driving practice. It's your legal duty as driver.
You can't drive your vehicle on the road if the MOT has expired and you could be prosecuted if caught. So, you must get an MOT test every year once your vehicle is three years old (you can check the Government's MOT fees table
to see when).
But what are the main areas of your car that regularly fail an MOT?
(FYI: For comprehensive information covering everything that you'd need to know about your car's MOT, download this pamphlet.
)The common errors
According to this article, the most common reason for a car to fail its MOT is lighting and signalling (23.8%), followed by brakes (21.5%), suspension (15.3%), bodywork (10.8%), tyres (10.2%), and so it goes on.
So, it pays to be prepared.
For lighting and signalling, check all the lights and indicators are working and replace any failed bulbs. Make sure the hazards are working as well. Get someone to stand behind the car while you operate the brakes, hazard lights, fog light and indicators. The number plate light is also part of the MOT, although the reversing light is not.
Your brakes are a different story. The MOT itself can not provide a comprehensive examination of the brakes. During an MOT Test the tester is not allowed to dismantle components. It is quite possible for there to be a defect that the tester cannot find during the MOT and that isn't flagged up by the braking performance. However there are a number of fairly straightforward jobs, which can be carried out by an experienced DIY mechanic. Changing brake shoes or pads for example.
Meanwhile, a full suspension check is difficult. But, to see if the shock absorbers have gone, quickly apply your weight to each corner of the car then release. It should quickly settle back.
Check the overall condition of the bodywork for excess corrosion especially in load bearing areas such as side sills, chassis, cross members, and pillars. Any of these points which display corrosion or thinning of the panels can fail an MOT and will require qualified repair.
Remember to check tyre pressure. Look up what they should be, and fill up at a petrol station. Also, check the tyre tread. This is the depth of grooves for road grip. The legal minimum's 1.6mm for a car tyre (enough to let surface water slip through). To measure, use the quick 20p tyre test detailed on the Tyre Safe website. Pop a 20p coin on its edge into the main grooves of the tyre tread. If the outer rim of the coin is hidden, your tyres should be legal. If you can see it, get them checked.Unfortunately, you can't predict the unexpected. And during an MOT, sometimes you will face heavy costs. However, if you feel that your car is simply too expensive to repair, why not see what it could be worth with Recycle Motors.Author: