According to VOSA, 40% of cars and 50% of vans fail their MOT at the first attempt. However, nearly half of those failures can be avoided by carrying out a few simple checks before taking your car to be tested. The most common failures are for worn or damaged tyres, light bulbs not working, cracked or missing wing mirrors, split wiper blades and faulty washer jets. All these faults are minor and mainly non mechanical.
So let’s start with your car tyres. It’s very easy to visually check your car tyres for wear and tear. A tread depth indicator device is inexpensive and very easy to use. The law in the UK states that car tyres must have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm in a continuous band around the central three quarters of the tyre. Under Inflated tyres can develop cracks and bulges in the side wall and may lead to the tyre bursting whilst you are driving. Tyres are a quick and simple check you can do yourself.
Nearly one third of MOT failures are a result of faulty lights/bulbs. Checking your lights is easy and takes no time at all. Side lights, headlights, rear and brake lights, indicators, fog and reverse lights should all be checked. If you have no one to check your rear car lights, simply park the rear of your car against a wall or garage door and use your rear view mirror to check if they are working. Car bulbs aren’t too expensive and you can sometimes replace them yourself however, some cars are extremely difficult to do and will need to be taking to a garage. It is best to get your car bulbs sorted before going for an MOT however, it can be part of the service.
Most people don’t realise how much they use their wing mirrors until something goes wrong with them. Missing mirror glass or cracked mirror glass will result in an MOT failure. You can buy replacement mirror glass but don’t leave it until the last minute as it may need to be ordered in.
Wiper blades are an easy check for you to carry out yourself. Check for split rubbers and whether the blades clear the water off the windscreen efficiently. If they leave a smear of water in the driver’s view, they will need replaced. You can do this yourself or take your car to a garage. Check that your car washer jets are working and that there is screenwash in the reservoir tank.
There are checks done during an MOT that are mechanical and you can’t do yourself such as emissions testing, suspension components and shock absorbers, brake pads and discs, exhaust system and leaks on the fuel system. However, with regular servicing, these issues may not arise during an MOT.
If your car fails an MOT, there will be no retest charge providing the car isn’t taken away from the garage and they carry out any work needed. Most car owners will agree to this and just get the work completed in order to pass an MOT.
Finally, give your car a full valet. MOT testers can refuse to carry out work on any vehicle if it is too dirty inside and out. Remember, You can have a MOT test carried out one month before the existing one expires so don’t leave it until the last minute. You can check when your tax and MOT is due by filling out our form here.