Tips To Keep Your Car MOT Ready

Every car which is older than three years requires an annual MOT (Ministry Of Transport) test to ensure that it is safe enough to be driven on the road and no accidents will occur. If your car fails this test, it needs to be repaired to meet the requisite standards. Repairing and re-testing can result in waste of time as well as cost some extra pounds. In this scenario, keeping your car MOT ready through some simple check-ups can make a huge difference. Many of these pre-MOT check-ups are very basic, so you do not need to be a car expert. By following some simple tips of checking up your car’s entities, you can thwart the inconveniences of a MOT test failure.

What Is A MOT Test?

In the year 1960, “The Ministry of Transport” introduced MOT test to ensure that the vehicles were roadworthy and safe. In the recent years, they have also included emission standards into the rules that must be abided by car owners.

It is mandatory that cars and other vehicles such as motorcycles, mopeds and scooters over three years should go through the MOT test. The standard MOT fee is £54.85 for cars and £29.65 for motorcycles with effect from 13th May 2016.

Why Are Pre-MOT Check-Ups Important?

Prior to taking your vehicle for the annual MOT, manufacturer dealers recommend that several quick and simple visual check-ups should be carried out if one wishes to pass the test without wasting extra money and time.

Talking specifically about cars, if any additional work is to be done after the MOT test, it can add up to the bill. But with following some pre-MOT check-up tips, little efforts from your side can reduce the cost of identifying the problem which can be fixed at a relatively low expense.

What Is Involved In An MOT Test?

The MOT inspection team or the mechanics work through a standard check list that includes the registration plate, Vehicle identification number(VIN), lights, suspension and steering, washers and wipers, horn, windscreen, seat and seat belts, wheels and tyres, doors, mirrors, brakes, exhaust system, fuel system and emission. They might also check more if they feel the need to go about the checking more precisely.

If they come across any problem with the afore-mentioned entities, your car will fail the MOT test and you would not receive a certificate until the faults are fixed. Bear in mind that driving without a valid MOT certificate is against the law.

How Can Your Car Pass Its Next MOT Test?

Reports say that around 1.5 million vehicles fail their MOT due to minor faults such as less tyre tread, faulty bulbs, or empty windscreen washer fluid bottles. It is possible to identify most of these issues with a prompt check-up which will increase the chances of your car passing the test without incurring a hefty bill.

Tips for Pre- MOT Check Up

If you are in any part of Northamptonshire or places close to it, these below listed tips can be beneficial in passing MOT in Northamptonshire without much hassle. These check-ups take only a “Minute or Two” before undergoing the test:

  • Number Plate and Registration Number

The font of letters and their spacing on the number plate should comply with the legal standards to pass the MOT test. Cleaning the number plate by a cloth and ensuring it is readable can make a huge difference. It is also to be noted that your number plate and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) in your car’s V5C Registration Certificate should be the same.


  • Headlights and Indicators

It is critical to ensure that the headlights (both main beam and dipped) are in proper working condition. Also, check whether the rear lights, brake lights, fog-lamps, stop lights, reversing lights, number plate lights and indicators are functioning properly. Go through your car’s manual to see if you can replace the fused bulbs yourself. It is economical to replace the bulb rather than going for a mechanic as it will only cost a few pounds.

  • Wheels and Tyres

It is vital to ensure that the wheels and tyres of the car are undamaged. Make sure that all the tyres are inflated to the accurate pressure. The least legal tyre tread depth is about 1.6mm and anything lesser than this will be deemed as a failure in complying with the MOT standards. The best way to find out whether tyre replacement is required or not, can be determined with a simple test using a 20p coin. Insert the coin in the tyre groove and if the outer rim of the coin is visible, you are more likely to fail the MOT test.


  • Windscreen and Mirrors

Minor and Small stone chips in your windscreen do not necessarily mean failure in meeting the standards. But you must ensure that the area that is swept by the wipers has no cracks. And even if it does, it shouldn’t exceed the 10-mm diameter. The mirrors should be fixed in a secure manner and the condition of the side mirror should be good.


  • Windscreen Wipers and Screen Wash

The state of the windscreen wipers needs to be closely checked for any broken chunks from the wiping edge or any stray strips. Any holes or tears in the wiper rub can result in an MOT failure. So, it is necessary to ensure that the wipers are keeping the windscreen clean.  The blades that are worn out can be easily replaced and fitted as it is easy to buy from motor retailers. An empty screen wash container can also lead into a MOT failure, so make sure that the screen wash is filled.


  • Seats and Seatbelts

Ensure that the forward and backward adjustments of the driver’s seat and the seatbelts are in good working condition. By examining the full length of the seatbelts and checking their movement, you can ensure how damage proof they are. Pulling the seatbelts vehemently to simulate a situation where you brake urgently, will give you a better evaluation of the condition of your car’s seatbelts. You can replace the seats and seatbelts if they are worn out or broken.


  • Fuel and Engine Oil

Before starting the engine, check the fluids level beneath the bonnet of your car. Low fluid level can result in an MOT failure if the fuel and engine oil levels do not match the defined MOT standards. Glance beneath the bonnet to ensure that the brake’s system reservoir is between ‘min’ and ‘max’ indicator. For more information about the location of the brake system reservoir, you can refer the car’s manual.


  • Air Filters and Spark Plugs and DPF

If your air filter appears grimy, it is recommended that you get it replaced.  A set of plugs can last for about 100,000 miles but if they seem worn out you could replace them.

By this year, MOT testing mandates checking Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) in your car’s exhaust. Replace it if it is missing and while you are at it, check for any dark smoke from the exhaust pipe.


  • Bodywork

The bodywork of your car should be analysed carefully. All the car doors must be accessible and in proper functioning condition. Check if the doors open inside as well as outside. Bumpers of the car should be secure and ensure that there are no sharp edges.


  • Steering

A thorough check-up of the power steering is a must to ensure that there is no excessive whining or any abnormal movements while manoeuvring the car. If any defects are found, get it fixed prior to a MOT test. Your steering wheel should be moderately tight on the column and failure in being so can be due to worn components which must be replaced.


  • Shock Absorbers

The shock absorbers of your car should not show any difference while absorbing pressure. By bouncing all corners of your car, you can get a rough idea about the extent of fault in the absorbers. When bounced, the car should go down under pressure and achieve its full height before settling to its original position. If you notice excessive bouncing, it indicates worn out and faulty dampers which calls for repairs.


  • Exhaust

The exhaust system of the car must be free from any corrosion. You can test the exhaust by accelerating the engine while keeping the car stationary and checking for rattles or any unusual noises. Your car is more likely to fail the emissions test if the functioning of the exhaust system of the car is not proper.


  • Brakes

Position your foot on the brake pedal and check if it’s functioning properly by pressing it to bring your car to halt. Worn out brakes can result in failure of the MOT test. Any trouble while pulling the handbrakes may indicate that it requires the cable to be adjusted. Although, special equipment is required to check the proper working of the brake, the basic checks can be done to ensure the thorough working. This will ensure that you pass the braking test.


  • Horn

When starting the ignition, blow the car’s horn to check if it is effectively working. If the horn is not working properly, either get it repaired or replace it based on its working condition. Horns are the most basic and also one of the most important checks for MOT.


MOT test is a general safety test to ensure that you are driving a safe car and will thwart the chances of meeting with an accident. Annual car servicing is suggested to keep your car in best condition. If your car gets through the test successfully whilst matching the MOT standards, the garage will provide you with the MOT test certificate.

If you observe any of the above minor faults while carrying out pre-MOT check-ups, rectify it yourself. Upon failing to identify the faults on your own, it is recommended that you get assistance from your manufactured main dealer or a trusted garage. The residents of Northamptonshire or places close to it can opt for a garage which offers quality car services at low rates and expertize in MOT check-ups and repairs. Identifying the work beforehand an MOT test will allow the problems to be rectified so that your car passes it in the very first attempt without incurring any loss of time and money.

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