Making sure your car sails through its MOT first time can be a real time, and money, saver if done correctly, but what exactly do you need to make sure you’re getting your car in a passable condition?
Do you need to prepare your vehicle for MOT?
There is no rule that states you have to prepare your car for its MOT, but it’s good practice to ensure that you do as it could save you quite a bit of cash. Some faults on MOTs that would result in an instant failure can be easily spotted and rectified with a little checkup in advance of your test, and means you don’t have to go through the pain of, potentially, getting your car retested. We cover what exactly gets checked on an MOT here, or you can read on to see how you can pre-empt any potential issues.
How to prepare your car for MOT
Carrying out a pre-MOT test is one of the best ways to make sure you get through with no issues, but what should you be looking out for?
Making sure you keep on top of all your vehicle’s fluids is one of the key tests you can do. The MOT tester will need to run your engine during the test to carry out the emissions check, and if there isn’t enough fuel or oil to be able to carry this out, they may refuse to test the car altogether. Keeping an eye on the fuel gauge will keep this in check, while engine oil is easily kept on top of by using the dipstick once on a flat surface. You can also check the brake fluid at this point by ensuring the fluid level is sitting between the ‘min’ and ‘max’ level within the reservoir.
Having a quick walk around your car to inspect your tyres is another simple way to make sure that your car is up to standard. Ensure there are no bulges or cuts on the sidewalls or any objects stuck in the tread. Checking your tread depth is also an easy task – simply place a 20p piece in the grooves around the tyre and if any of the rim around the edge of the coin is visible, then the tyres are below the legal minimum.
One of the most common reasons for an MOT failure, checking your lights is impossible to do alone, so make sure you have a friend or family member on hand to help with this check. With you sitting in the driver’s seat, have your friend walk around the car and checking all lights are working while you depress the brakes and try all indicators, fog lights, reversing lights and any other lights you may have!
Your exhaust must be secure and rust free, and if there are any rattles or unusual noises this could be a warning sign that it needs replacing. This check can also be taken from the comfort of your driver’s seat, as if you park up and keep your doors open, ensuring the car is secure, you will be able to hear any sounds that you may not notice while driving normally. If you notice any smoke at all then you may need to prepare yourself for an emissions failure.
Checks from the Driver’s Seat
Listening out for any knocks when steering from full lock to both, or whining from the power steering pump as either of these sounds can indicate worn components. Your wheel should also be fairly tight on the column and if there are any loose or abnormal movements when turning, this could also suggest wear in the steering column support.
- Windscreen and Wipers
While small chips won’t immediately mean an MOT failure, you should make sure that the entire area covered by your wipers should have no cracks or chips within it. Any chips outside the line of the wipers should be no larger than 10mm in diameter. Also be sure to check that there are no rips or tears in your wipers.
Any frays or cuts to your belts will be a failure, and all mountings must be secure and free from any damage. Make sure that the belts engage and disengage with no obstructions or catching. You can also check the inertia reel by giving a short sharp tug on the belts.
If your handbrake pulls up too far and clicks a lot, let the tester know in advance that you think it needs adjusting. The same applies if you can release the handbrake by simply tapping on the lever.
What else do you need for your MOT
Other than your car, the only thing you need to take to the MOT with you is your wallet (or just a payment card if you want to be as streamlined as possible). Any documents that the test centre may need will be accessible online, so there is no need to bring the V5C registration document or previous MOT certificates with you.
Your MOT preparation checklist
- Windscreen Washer topped up
- Engine oil topped up
- Brake fluid topped up
- No bulges in the sidewall
- No objects in the tread
- Check tyre tread depth using the 20p test
- Headlights (dipped)
- Headlights (main beam)
- Front side lights
- Rear side lights
- Brake lights
- Reversing lights
- Front fog lights
- Rear fog lights
- Front indicators
- Rear indicators
- Number plate lights
- No rattles or noises
- No excessive smoke levels
- No knocking or whining sounds while steering
- Wheel is tight on the column
- No chips or cracks within area swept by wipers
- No chips outside wiper area greater than 10mm diameter
- No rips or tears on the wiper blades
- Washers and wipers work correctly
- No rips or frays in the belt
- Buckles fasten and release securely
- Inertia reel is working correctly
- Applies and releases correctly
- Check working correctly
Check out our full guide to MOTs here for more. Have you recently had a good look around your car and worried that it won’t pass its next MOT? Perhaps it’s time to send it off on one final journey to the scrapyard. Our team of experts at Scrap Car Comparison will be able to find you the very best deal for your car and, thanks to our network of buyers nationwide, we’ll even come and collect it for you at no extra cost. Get started today by using our quick and easy online quote generator and see just how much your scrap car could be worth.