If you own a vehicle, MOT tests are part of the regular responsibilities you will have, just like road tax, insurance, and servicing. An MOT test’s purpose is to check whether your vehicle is safe to drive on the road and they should only be carried out at an authorised MOT centre, or a local council test centre. If you want to get the desired MOT test results (a pass), you need to ensure your vehicle is maintained properly.
Why Are MOT’s Essential For Your Vehicle?
It is required by law that if your vehicle is over three years old, you have an MOT test every year, to make sure that it is meeting the correct road safety and environmental standards. Also, it helps to ensure that your vehicle is running smoothly and it is free of any mechanical faults that may be a danger to yourself and other drivers on the road.
The Risk Of Not Having A Valid MOT
If your vehicle doesn’t have a valid MOT certificate, you could be heavily fined, specifically, you could be fined up to £1000. Furthermore, you will not be able to renew your road tax and your insurance will be invalidated. When you don’t have valid insurance on your vehicle, you could risk points on your driver’s license. It can also cause an increase in the amount of insurance you’ll be paying in the future.
Avoiding an MOT test could result in mechanical issues not being detected, and then minor or fatal accidents could occur, due to issues that could have been resolved if you had carried out the test. Often, an MOT test can detect problems that need resolving early enough to prevent accidents. It is also better to detect problems with it before they become too expensive to repair or become unrepairable.
MOT System Updates
In May 2018, there were a lot of changes to the way vehicles were tested. MOT testing guide rules can change regularly, so make sure that you are always keeping up to date with them.
1) There are now stricter rules for diesel car emissions. Ensure that your vehicle has a working DPF (diesel Particulate Filter) and that no coloured emissions are coming from your car.
2) Car defects are now categorised as either:
- Dangerous – The name of this category says it all – the defects your vehicle has is too much of an immediate risk to vehicle safety and you’re looking at a fail. You will not be able to drive your vehicle until the necessary repairs have been carried out.
- Major – Defects in this category will result in a fail and need repairing immediately.
- Minor – These defects still allow you to pass your MOT, however, they will need to be repaired as soon as possible.
- Advisory – These are issues that could become more serious in the future and need resolving, but you still pass your MOT.
- Pass – You have maintained your vehicle well and deserve a pass!
3) Vehicles that are over 40 years old have become exempt and no longer require an MOT test. If you have a car that was manufactured over 40 years ago, you do not have to register it as being exempt, but you will have to declare this exemption when getting insurance or road tax.
4) New items have been added to the list of tests during an MOT and some of these are:
- Underinflated tires
- Contaminated brake fluid
- Fluid leaks that pose a risk to the environment
- Brake pads missing/warning lights
5) The way your MOT certificate will be presented to you has also changed, as each defect will be listed under the category is has been placed in. If you need any help or an explanation of anything on the certificate, then your MOT tester will be willing to provide you with the clarity and understanding that you need.
Tips For Passing Your MOT
Here are a few important components to check before the day of your MOT test:
- Handbrake – Pull your handbrake up to make sure that it is working correctly, and make sure that it does not click too many times as this could indicate that the cable needs adjusting. Take it to your regular garage if this may be an issue.
- Check your Brake Fluid – You need to make sure that it is at the recommended level. Also, check the brake pedal by pressing it to make sure that it doesn’t feel spongy. If it does, it can be because there is air in the hydraulic system and to resolve this issue, it may need bleeding out by your mechanic.
- Shock absorbers – You can check these by bouncing your car from the corners and if it bounces too many times, this is a sign that your shocks are worn and in need of replacement.
- Steering wheel – If your steering wheel feels too loose, it could indicate an issue with tie rods, ball bearings or the pitman arm and this will affect the passing results of the MOT test. For more information on what can cause a loose steering wheel, check out our article – Steering Feels Loose – What Are The Causes?
- Windscreen – Make sure that your windshield view is free of any chips or cracks that are bigger than 40mm, especially when considering the driver’s view. Not all windscreen damage will result in a fail, it all depends on where the chip or crack is located.
- Mirror checks – Ensure your wing and rearview mirrors are in good condition and if there is any damage, you should make sure it is repaired or the mirrors are replaced.
- External lights and number plate – Make sure that every one of your vehicle’s lights, such as your headlights, indicators, hazard lights, fog lights, etc, are working properly, clean and undamaged. You can clean them if necessary, and replace the bulb if they are looking a bit dim.
- Check your tyres – To ensure your vehicle passes the MOT tyre tread check, you need to measure it using a tread depth gauge. The legal minimum tyre tread depth is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of your tyre. Also, if there is any visible damage to your tyres, like bulges or cracks, it will result in an immediate fail. Therefore, when you spot a problem with your tyres, even if it is way before your MOT test is due, you need to get them replaced. This is to not only to make sure you pass your MOT but also to ensure you are safe on the road. If you notice uneven tread wear on your tyres, it could potentially be a sign of bad wheel alignment, so it’s best to get this checked out.
- Exhaust check – Ensure there are no leaks in the exhaust and that there is no coloured smoke exiting it.
- Number plates – Check they are fully visible and in good condition (clean and no damage).
How Your Regular Garage Can Help You Avoid Failing Your MOT
Having your vehicle regularly serviced can prevent you from failing your MOT test because the garage can detect any potential failures and repair them before your test. There are many requirements that your car has to pass, as you can observe from above, so regular servicing will allow you to deal with any faults early on and not on the day of your test!
For example, if you take your vehicle in for servicing a few weeks before your test is due, and your tyres are too worn, your mechanic will inform you that they need replacing because they are worn over the legal limit. If you replace them, you will pass this aspect of the MOT test. Regular trips to your local or trusted garage will also give you the confidence to carry out the necessary preparations to make sure your car is in top form for its test.
Pre-MOT Inspections At Power Steering Services
If your vehicle is due for an MOT test soon and you don’t feel confident with its condition, here at Power Steering Services we can carry out pre-MOT inspections. Essentially, this is a thorough health-check of your vehicle to highlight defects, if any, that may cause the vehicle to fail its MOT. We then advise accordingly about any repairs or replacements you may need to make. If you would like an inspection, book your vehicle in with Power Steering Services today by either filling in our online form or giving us a direct call on 0208 853 3343.