Sunday, October 05, 2008

10 Point Checklist to Help Your Car Pass Its MOT

Every year the motorist is faced with the ordeal of the MOT test, unless their car is less than three years old. The purpose of an MOT is to ensure the vehicle complies with road safety and environmental standards. Without it car owners are unable to obtain a tax disc for driving on public roads.

But what does the MOT tester look out for? Is it car tyres or fuel emissions? It can become expensive when the vehicle fails and needs to be re-tested. To help achieve a first time pass, this 10 point checklist highlights the main components that are included in an MOT test:

1. Brakes

The car's brakes are tested on a 'roller brake tester' to assess their condition, performance and efficiency. Brakes that 'lock up' when applied will fail. Other areas to watch out for are loose brake pedals and signs of leaking brake fluid.

2. Doors and Mirrors

Ensure the doors open and close correctly, from the inside and the outside of the vehicle. Car locks need to work adequately. Wing and rear view mirrors must be present and in good condition. A cracked wing mirror will result in a fail.

3. Exhaust System and Emissions

The car will need to pass specific exhaust emission requirements, depending on its age and fuel type. The exhaust system must not have holes or leaks, often caused by rust.

4. Car Bodywork

Excessive rust corrosion, damage or sharp edges on the car's bodywork will result in a fail.

5. Wheels and Car Tyres

The tread depth on a car tyre must be a minimum of 1.6mm. The car tyre needs to be the correct type for the vehicle and have no signs of excessive wear or damage. It is recommended to consult a car tyres specialist to check this. Ensure all the wheel nuts are present as any missing will result in a fail. Spare tyres are not tested.

6. Windscreen, Wipers and Washer

The wiper blades need to be in good condition and the windscreen washer must contain fluid. The windscreen cannot have any large cracks and must have clear visibility.

7. Lights and Indicators

All lights and indicators need to work correctly, including the hazard lights. Check that the headlamps dip to the correct angle and are not loose.

8. Seats and seatbelts

Ensure all seats are secure in the upright position. It is compulsory for seatbelts to be fitted in the front and back of a car. They must be the correct type and in good, working condition.

9. Steering, suspension and horn

All three need to be in good condition and work correctly. Make sure the horn is the right type for the vehicle. Ensure the wheels are correctly aligned and the car tyre pressures are correct, as these can affect the vehicle's steering.

10. Registration Plate and Vehicle Identification Number

The registration plate needs to be in the correct format, legible and in good condition. Every car used after the 1st August 1980 must have its vehicle identification number clearly displayed.

Lights, brakes, suspension and car tyres are the four most common reasons why a car will fail its MOT. This checklist is intended as a guide to improve your cars chance of passing. If in any doubt we recommend consulting your local garage before taking the MOT test.

By James Todman

[James Todman is a freelance web content editor working with Merityre, a leading UK independent car tyres retailer.]

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