Although the MOT test itself isn’t a huge sum of money, the cost of getting things fixed can be. And if you’re being pushed into making a decision about repairs over the phone because your car has just failed, it could cost large sums of money. You don’t have to be an expert mechanic to give your car the once-over before submitting it for its MOT. There are a few very simple checks you can do which will maximise your car’s chances of passing, and minimise your expense.
Check that both the rear-view mirrors are intact and working properly. If you can’t adjust the mirrors properly, this could be a fail on the MOT. Similarly any cracks, dirt or stickers which obstruct your view could also be marked down as a fail. The law only says that your offside mirror – or driver’s side wing mirror – should be working, Minor defects with the mirror on the passenger side shouldn’t be a MOT fail.
Another common reason for failing is lack of tyre tread. Tyres without sufficient tread can be dangerous, and can affect braking especially in the wet. The legal minimum tyre tread depth is 1.6mm. If you don’t have a special gadget to measure tread depth, use a 20p coin instead. You shouldn’t be able to see the outer band around the coin. If you can, your tyre tread may be borderline and it’s worth having them professional tested before MOT time.
The MOT also specifies which lights should be working in order for your car to pass its MOT. You might need the help of a friend to stand on the road as you switch the lights on and off, checking each one comes on and switches off properly. The most common defect with lights is a blown bulb. On some cars this is a very easy fix, on others sealed units makes replacements much more tricky. There are plenty of instructional videos online walking you step by step through how to replace bulbs.
Windscreen Fluid and Wipers
Check that there is enough water in the reservoir to clean your windscreen, as this is also tested during a MOT. Take a look at your wiper blades too, they should be intact and not tattered or split. Wiper blades are also very easy to change and your car’s manual should tell you which ones you need to buy for your particular make and model of car. While you’re inspecting the windscreen, check it over for any chips or cracks which could obstruct a driver’s view.
One of the most recent changes to the MOT test was called the malfunction indicator lamp test. In simple terms, it means that if the inspector sees any dashboard warning lights when he switches on the engine, it’s an automatic fail. Don’t ignore any lights which you spot on your dashboard, or assume it will be fine. Checking out any problems ahead of the test allows you the time to negotiate the best price for any repairs.