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MOT time: How to get your car ready

An MOT becomes an annual requirement once your car is three years old. Around 40% of cars and 50% of vans fail their MOT tests on their first attempts – not due to major mechanical defects, but due to small faults that could be easily fixed!

Taking your time to get your car ready for an upcoming MOT test can save you money in the long run, and just putting in a small amount of effort can ensure that all-important pass – the best bit is, you don’t have to be a mechanic to do any of these checks!

What is the MOT looking for?

The MOT is a thorough series of tests that assess a variety of safety aspects of the vehicle to ensure it isn’t a hazard to you or any other road user.

With the rules for MOT tests changing last year, it is important to keep up-to-date on what is required from the test. As of May last year, the MOT looks for contaminated brake fluid, fluid leaks of any variety, brake pad warning lights, and underinflated tyres. Other, newer issues are also flagged in MOT tests, such as headlight washers or wipers and daytime lights.

 

Wipe out

A common defect that is often flagged by MOT tests is damaged or non-functional windscreen wipers and washers.

It is important that before the MOT test you ensure your screen wash reservoir is full and that the wiper blade rubber is in good condition, and not degrading. Replacements are cheap and easy to fix, so it is well worth doing ahead of the MOT test.

 

Lights

Another common fail for MOT tests are the lights. It is important to check that all exterior lights are working – All bulbs should be functional, with lenses free of any damage or cracks.

The best way to check all external lights, including the brakes and reversing lights, is with the help of a friend. It is also important that you check the headlights when both on their main beam and dipped settings.

 

Tyred yet?

Check the tyres for damage and ensure they meet the minimum tread depth of 1.6mm.

Tyre treads are designed to give good grip on wet roads, but this decreases as the tread wears down. This is ostensibly the easiest part of your prep – look for any defects on the tyre sidewalls, and make sure there is nothing stuck or embedded in the tread.

As for that 1.6mm, that is coincidentally the same as the rim marking on a 20p piece. If you slot the 20p into the groove of the tyre tread, and can still see the rim of the coin, then you will need to replace your tyres – avoiding a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points per tyre!

 

Sound the horn

The “audible warning” is a part of the MOT test – generally, this is the horn, and must be loud enough to be heard by other road users.

There are a few things that could stop your horn from sounding – from wiring relay issues to an inoperative button. The sound emitted must also be continuous or uniform, and can’t be harsh or grating. If any of these are an issue, it’s best to get it checked and fixed by a mechanic.

 

Broken brakes

This is a particular pitfall in MOT tests. While mechanics use specialist equipment to assess brakes, there are some easy checks you can do yourself.

Look under the bonnet – the brake fluid levels should be at an ideal range in the reservoir. This is generally between the “min” and “max” on most cars. If you don’t know where to view this, check the handbook for your vehicle. The handbrake or parking brake also needs to be tested. These should not be difficult to operate and should be easy to secure. If not, it will require tightening.

These are some fairly simple checks that could save you a lot of money in the long run and should help you steer clear from failing your MOT.

 

Handy help to stay on the road

Another day, another great blog from the Everyday Loans team! We hope we’ve helped with our article today, and as always, do stop by our main website page if we can assist with a loan to help you get by.

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Tim Woodley
Financial Content Editor at Everyday Loans
Tim Woodley has been a financial copywriter for over 8 years, using his experience and skill to draw out and discuss interesting financial subjects and learning points that help make life better. https://www.linkedin.com/in/tim-woodley-725267133/