In order to improve the chances of your car not failing the MOT check, you should perform some basic checks on your car first. As well as the basic points below, it’s worth checking the MOT history and pay particular attention to any MOT advisories that may have been given last year.
Almost a fifth of all cars fail their MOT because their lights aren’t working properly. Fortunately, replacing them is very simple and inexpensive. Before the test, have someone else to help you check that the lights work – front, rear, indicators, brake lights, number plate lights and fog lights. Give the horn a honk whilst checking the lights to keep your assistant on their toes (you need a functioning horn to pass). Additionally, you should check the condition of the lights. A cracked lens could let through the wrong colour light resulting in a failure.
Your vehicle’s tyres should not fail its MOT, because checking them is an easy task! Tyres with tread depth less than 1.6mm are illegal and will fail an MOT. If you can see the outer band on a 20p coin inserted in the tyre tread grooves, then the tread is too low (check in multiple places across the tread). Check both the tyre tread and tyre wall for damage, such as cuts, tears, cracks, bulges, visible signs of the ply and cord. If you have any concerns about your tyres, get them replaced before the MOT test.
MOT failures resulting from suspension issues are among the most common. Inspecting suspension components visually can be challenging, and minor issues may not always be noticeable while driving. If your car clunks when cornering, or makes noises on bumpy roads, ensure you have your suspension checked out before your MOT test.
The most basic brake check you should be doing, is to look at the outer brake pad through the spokes, there should be at least 3mm of pad visible. An illuminated brake warning light, the sound of loud screeching, or a grinding noise when braking, would also suggest that brakes need to be inspected! An additional point of failure in the braking system, is the efficiency of the handbrake. This can be checked by parking on a hill.
During your pre-MOT inspection, it is important to make sure that the seatbelts are free from tears and rips and ensure that they are functioning well.
Check that your number plates are not cracked, faded or even dirty to the point where they are unreadable. Also ensure that the number plate lights are working.
Ensure that the windscreen is not cracked or chipped in the driver’s line of vision. In the driver’s line of sight (a vertical strip 290mm wide situated centrally on the steering wheel), the maximum damage allowed, is 10mm. Elsewhere on the windscreen, the maximum damage is 40mm. The windscreen wipers need to be in good condition, leaving no streaks when in use. The washer must provide enough liquid to clear the screen.