Some of the most common reasons to fail the MOT test are easy to avoid with a few simple and quick tests.
In the UK if your car is older three years old (and not made before 1960) then it must pass the dreaded MOT test. Not to be confused with a vehicle health check, these tests determine if your car is safe to drive on the road. They are not for finding undermining health issues such as if there are engine or clutch problems.
To assure that your car passes its next MOT and remains on the road, this information from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Authority (the DVSA – the body that oversees the MOT) will help you know what to look out for before handing over the keys.
Lighting and signalling
1 in 5 cars (18.9%) fail their MOT because of an issue with lights. This can be a simple as having had a blown bulb so assure that you can switch on all your lights and take a good look around your car.
It is worth checking the appearance of your lights as the plastic lenses can become misty. If this is the case with your car, kits are available to clean your lights ahead of its MOT. Another important thing to look out for is any cracks in your lights.
You should also check your indicators, number plate light and brake lights. This can be as easy as getting someone to stand in front of or behind the car (at a safe distance) and confirm that the lights are working as they should.
In the first quarter of 2017, RAC attended over 6,500 breakdowns that were directly caused by potholes. Therefore, it’s no surprise that 13% of 10 MOT failures are caused by suspension issues.
When looking over your car, make sure to pay attention to the noises that it makes during cornering or when passing over bumpy roads.
If there are any unusual clunks, then park your car and examine it to see if it sits level. See if it is too high, or too low, particularly in one corner. If this is the case walk around the car and try pushing down on each corner and see if it returns back to normal when you let go without bouncing up and down first.
It is not news to any driver that brakes are vital to the running of their car, despite this 10% of MOT failures are caused by brake problems and there is little excuse for that as most of these faults can be spotted very easily.
If you hear grinding or squealing noises from the brakes, then it could mean that your pads are running low. If you are concerned, you can inspect the brake pads and disks. You might have to remove the wheel to do this, or you can look through the wheel spokes. Examine the brake disc to see if it’s smooth and the thickness of the pads.
Another tell-tale sign of brake issue is whether the car stops in a straight line or if it pulls over to the side.
It’s also vital to check your handbrakes. To do this, stop your car on a hill, apply the handbrake and make sure that the car is securely stopped. If it isn’t your handbrake might need adjustments.
You can own a car with all the safety precautions in the world but if your tyres aren’t up to scratch, then none of that will help you on the roads. Tyres aren’t just for an MOT and should be checked regularly, however, 7.7% of them are failures.
When checking the tyres, look out for lumps or cuts. These can lead to a dangerous blowout and should be fixed immediately.
A final important check is to assure that you have the correct tyres fitted to your car, make sure they are all the same size across each axle and if they have a suitable speed rating.
Your view of the road
You would think that being able to see the road would be a high priority for drivers but an alarming 7.2% of MOT failures are due to issues affecting the driver's view of the road.
This can involve things blocking the windscreen such as sat-navs, air fresheners or cracks/chips within the driver's eye line.
Make sure also to check your wipers are working as they should, and it can’t hurt to top up on washer fluid before your test.
Finally, this section also includes your car’s bonnet. Assure that it can be closed securely and there is no danger in the bonnet popping open and blocking the driver's view.
I&K Motors can offer and provide both vehicle inspections, services and MOTs to ensure that your vehicle is safe to drive. Don’t take the risk and get your car inspected by a professional.
We look forward to seeing you soon and keeping you safe on the road.