Key checks to carry out before your MOT

key checks before your MOT

Before heading to your MOT, there are a few things you should check are all in good order to ensure that pass!

Lights and Signals

By far the biggest reason for MOT failures are lightbulbs not working or headlights aiming too high.

The easiest way to avoid this failure is by a simple walk around before going for your MOT. Turn the car on, switch on your headlights, fog lights and hazard lights. Then you can get out of the car and walk around the car, taking note of each light to see if it is illuminated.

To test your brake lights first ensure the handbrake is on, find yourself something to place on the foot brake. Then you can walk to the rear of the car and check every brake light.

The easiest way to check our reverse light is to ensure the car is parked with the handbrake on. Start the ignition but not the engine so the dashboard lights up, but the engine is not running. Then you can put the car into reverse, and check to see if the light has illuminated.

Check your breaks

For brake pads, many newer cars have indicators fitted so a message will appear on the dash when they’re low. However if yours doesn’t, you can still check them easily with these steps

1.     Listen

Brake pads tend to squeal when they are running low, they can also make a grinding noise. So if your car exhibits any noises, best to get them checked before an MOT!

2.     Feel

If you’ve had your car for a very long time then you will start to notice when things don’t work like they used to, the same goes for feeling. If your brake starts feeling soft, then definitely have your brakes looked at.

3.     Check

Realistically brakes will last a long time under usual use, however, it’s best to follow a 12/12 rule. It is good to check them over every 12 months or 12,000 miles from when they are new.

Tread depth on tyres

The first thing to know is tyres have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm. Most new tyres have between 6mm and 7mm. The best way to check your tread is if you take a 20p coin. The gap between the edge and inner ring is around 2mm. So when checking your tread, simply place a 20p around the tyre grooves in multiple spots around and across the tyre. If you can see the inner ring, then it’s time for some new tyres.

Tyre condition check

Other things to look out for are tears and cracks, tyres do have a lifespan which you’ll start to see when they age.

Any tyre over 4 years old should be checked for signs of wear. This includes cracks on the sidewall of the tyre, where the brand and size are printed, and also on the side of the tyre that faces into the body of the car.

Another thing to keep an eye on is tears and general damage. This can fail an MOT, as if a tear gets worse, it could cause the tyre to quickly deflate, rendering the car dangerous.

Sat Navs and Phones

Most of us now use a phone or satnav to navigate when driving. However, these can cause an advisory, or in some instances, an outright fail if they are in driver zone A.

The easiest way to avoid this is to remove everything from the windscreen. If you have a dashcam installed, then you should look up where zone A is, as this is a zone on the windscreen that cannot be obstructed.

Windscreen Damage

Chips and cracks also come under the zone rule. If a chip is bigger than 1cm and in zone A then this is enough to cause a fail. While damage larger than 4cm anywhere else will cause a failure. So if you find one on your windscreen before your MOT, it’s best to have it replaced or repaired.

Exhaust and Emission check

Finally, the emissions and exhaust test. Testers will measure the level of emissions coming from your exhaust, and if they are out of their safe range, can mean a fail. Now not many people have access to their own emissions tester, so these are things you can do.

Check for smoke coming from the exhaust after the car is warmed up. Smokey exhausts can tell a lot about a car, with blue smoke meaning some oil is being burned, leading to worse emissions. So if you see blue smoke, have your car checked out.

A diesel car’s DPF should be untampered and present. A diesel particulate filter helps clean up diesel cars, however, some people decide to remove these to provide more power or to avoid them clogging up. However, it is actually an MOT failure. So make sure it is actually in the car and hasn’t been tampered with in any way.

Give your car a good run! Emissions testing goes better when the car is warm and has had a chance to circulate all its fluids and calm down a bit, so take your car for a 20-30 minute drive prior to your MOT to give it its best chance.

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