An MOT is a service/test which every car is legally required to have carried out every 12 months.
You don’t need to take your car for three years if you buy and register it as brand new. However, as soon as the three years are up, it is a legal requirement that you take your car for the test yearly.
A cars roadworthiness will be checked during the MOT, with each major component inspected by a trained professional. A garage has to have authorisation from the DVSA to carry out the test.
Fuel, Fuel Emissions and Exhaust
The exhaust system is made up of several parts and components which all need to be checked individually. The main issue that mechanics will be looking out for is the leakage of any fumes or liquid, as these are the most common issues that can develop within the exhaust system.
There is very little you can do to help your car pass an MOT if there is a leak in the exhaust as a hole cannot be blocked up unless you are a trained professional.
The fuel system will also get checked for leaks. Prior to the test, ensure that the tank cap is sealed properly to avoid failing for a minor issue.
The emissions of a car must fall below specific legal limits to pass. This means that if your car produces too much carbon monoxide or hydrocarbons, it will fail. You can increase your chances of passing by addressing the problem before having the service carried out.
If your exhaust emits excessive blue or black smoke when the engine is switched on and whilst driving, there is a high chance that there is an issue within the exhaust system.
Tyres MOT Check
One in ten cars fail their MOT as a result of tyre issues. The mechanic will be checking the tyre tread as well as looking for damage such as lumps, bulges or tears.
A tyre tread should be at least 1.6mm and be the correct tyre type as it is a necessity in order to maintain the speed and weight of the car while its being driven.
You can use a tread depth gauge to check if your tyres are safe to drive. If the tread is less than 1.6mm, your car will fail. It is also important to ensure that your tyres are fully inflated to correct pressure levels, as this is another issue which will likely result in failure. To find out the recommended tyre pressure of your car, consult your car owner’s handbook.
Your windscreen wipers, windscreen, wing mirrors, rear view mirror and windows will be rigorously inspected. It will be obvious that you will fail if your view of the road around you is impeded.
Anything from broken or missing mirrors to cracked or heavily chipped windows restricting the drivers view will result in a fail.
Your rear view mirrors and wing mirrors must also be able to move while remaining secure to provide the driver with an adequate view of the road. The wipers and washers are also included in checks as they must be able to clean the windows effectively to maintain visibility.
You will fail if there is damage or an obstruction in your windows bigger than 10mm within the immediate viewing area and 40mm anywhere else.
You can improve your chances of passing by making sure you buy new wiper blades at least once a year and thoroughly checking all of your windows prior to the test.
You should ensure that your screen wash reservoir is fully topped up as it will be checked during the test.
Body and additional items MOT Check
A thorough inspection will be carried out with the car’s body, engine mountings, seats, doors and chassis. They are required to be completely free of erosion and cannot have any sharp edges which could cause injury.
You must also have your registration plates attached to your car, they must be visible and legible from 20 meters away.
Your car should display a vehicle identification number (VIN) which is etched onto the body or chassis. The speedometer must also be fully secure and able to light up.
Seat Belts MOT Check
Every seatbelt in the vehicle must be fully functional as this will be checked rigorously by the inspector since it is a hugely important safety feature as well as a legal requirement.
Lamps, electrics and reflectors MOT Check
Almost a third of all failures are due to light, electrical or reflector failures. The front, rear, brake, fog and indicator lights, as well as the registration plate and reflectors must adhere to the following function and safety standards:
· Illuminate with the press or flick of one single button or switch
· Display the correct colour as well as each pair matching in colour of displayed light
· To be able to deliver light despite the presence of other light
· Be unobstructed
· Be in the correct position and completely secure in their housing
· Be in full working condition
· Aim of lights should be at correct angles
If one of the bulbs in your car breaks you can buy a replacement relatively easily, which is something you should do if you are due an MOT.
Make sure to consult your owner’s handbook before buying a bulb to discover the correct unit.
The horn on your car must also be full working order and be able to deliver a strong uniform note which can be heard by another driver on the road.
The car battery in your car will also be checked for leakage and stability within the engine. Wiring will be inspected for wear and tear, as it cannot be at the point of breaking.
If you have a towbar for a trailer, the socket will be checked as it must be able to send power to the indicators on the trailer itself.
The mechanic carrying out the test will be inspecting the condition of the steering wheels by pushing the steering system in numerous directions as well as assessing the system for damage on specific components.
If your car has a locking device, this will also be checked when the vehicle is stationary, and the engine is not running.
If you have power steering, there must be a correct amount of fluid in the reservoir.
The suspension on your car will be checked visually, with the springs and shock absorbers inspected for corrosion, distortion and fracture.
Brakes Check MOT
The overall condition of your brakes and all of the components that make up the braking system will be inspected thoroughly. A specific brake test will be carried out to ensure that your car has the correct stopping power and distances to be on the road safely.
A mechanic can refuse to perform the test if the car is dirty inside or out as they will have to spend time in and around the vehicle for an extended period, so make sure your car is tidy!
If your car should fail its MOT, make sure to have the repairs carried out as per their assessments. Return to the same garage for the retest as they will not charge you for a full inspection again.