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How do I prepare for an MOT

How to prepare for an MOT

The MOT was introduced in 1959 and was initially only required for cars aged 10 years or older, however this has now been reduced to three years. Since 1995, the MOT has also included an exhaust emissions check to ensure that cars are not excessively polluting our air.

The MOT is the only statutory test where road vehicle safety and environmental law is concerned, so while it can feel daunting and potentially costly, it is best to view the annual MOT test as a sensible opportunity to have your vehicle examined by an expert, ensuring that it meets all safety and legal requirements.

Top tips to prepare your vehicle

So, what can you do to ensure your car passes? Before taking your car in for the dreaded check-up, why not run through this checklist as suggested by a qualified MOT tester:

Starting in the interior, check the following:

  • Are the seats securely mounted?
  • Are the seatbelts frayed and does the mechanism work correctly?
  • Is there any damage to the steering wheel or too much free movement when you gently turn the wheel a few inches in each direction when the car is parked?
  • Is the boot clear so an inspector can open it and inspect under the mat for rust or structural damage?
  • Are there any cracks or chips in the windscreen? (Cracks or chips in the driver's line of sight must not be larger than 10mm. Out of the driver's field of view, 40mm is the limit.)
  • Are all the rear-view mirrors intact and clean?

Once you've made a note of anything to repair, it's time to check the exterior:

  • Is the car reasonably clean? (Garages won't test extremely dirty cars.)
  • Are all lights in good working order or damaged in any way?
  • If the car has a rear fog light, is it working and does the warning light in the switch or on the dashboard function as well?
  • Do all tyres have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm?
  • Is either registration plate cracked or obscured?
  • Is the chassis/VIN number plate easily found (and legible)?

Top Tip: The minimum tread depth required on your tyres is 1.6mm

Now for the under-bonnet and mechanical checks:

  • Does the horn work properly?
  • Does the fuel cap fit securely?
  • Is the screen washer bottle topped up?
  • Are the headlights correctly aligned?
  • Are there any leaks in the exhaust system? (You can usually hear the system 'blowing' from outside the car.)
  • Are the brakes and handbrake in perfect working order? (There must not be excessive pedal movement before the brakes start to 'bite'.)
  • Are all the controls, such as indicators and switches up to scratch?

We advise that you make a vehicle check like this part of your regular routine to ensure vehicle maintenance, as well as the safety of you and other road users.

The MOT test has been designed to be as customer friendly as possible and every testing station has a viewing area near the test bay so you can see the test taking place. This also enables you to discuss any problems or failure items with the tester so you're fully aware of required repairs or possible future problems.

Remember: the MOT has not been designed to reduce your driving pleasure. It's there to reassure you that you're at the wheel of a smooth-running vehicle that will make motoring more enjoyable, cleaner and above all - safer.

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