We should be doing our own pre MOT checks at home on a regular basis!
This is where the annual MOT test comes in. It is conducted on cars older than three years old and includes a checklist of around thirty items. These are all designed to keep you and other road users as safe as possible. But did you know that you can give yourself a head start when it comes to passing your MOT test? Simply check off as many items as can be ticked off at home. Let’s have a look at some examples:
Many of the external MOT checks should be part of your regular car ownership checks anyway. Examine the body of the car, making sure that there is no rust and no damage that might weaken the structural integrity of the vehicle. Check the doors open smoothly to their full extent. The doors must allow easy ingress and egress on the part of all passengers as well as the driver. The windows and windscreens should be clear and clean. No stickers, dirt or cracks can obstruct your view, and your mirrors should give you the best view. Your number plate should be clean, easily legible and firmly attached to the car.
Underneath and Under the Hood
These sections might baffle all but the most dedicated motorheads. Nonetheless you can use a torch to view underneath your car. Check to make sure that there is no visible damage, no leaks, and that nothing is loose or dangling down. This includes the brakes, the exhaust, the steering, any drive-shafts if present, and the fuel lines. Check your tyres! Under the bonnet, look for signs that something is wrong or out of place. Check your oil and water, not forgetting the windscreen wiper reservoir which should be filled with an appropriate windscreen cleaner. Ensure there’s sufficient fuel for the inspector to complete the test. If the vehicle runs out of fuel, the inspector will pause the test – or simply fail you.
Inside the Car
Your dashboard will be of great interest to the inspector. The speedometer should work well, as should your brakes, any warning lights, and the hooter. Your indicators should work well, and the steering wheel should have minimal play. Seats should be secure, preferably with seatbelts, and the whole interior should be clean and clear from clutter. An inspector is well within his right to refuse to MOT your car if it is too dirty.
Other MOT Checks
Generally, the MOT test is all about ensuring that you can see as well as possible. You must be as visible to other drivers as possible. You must be able to get your car safely to the hard shoulder or a refuge in an emergency. Hazard lights must work, and you must stop out of the way of other traffic. Your emissions must fall within the legal limits obviously. The brakes must be able to perform an emergency stop, as well as working well under more normal conditions.