MOT Preparation Tips

MOT Preparation Tips

From May 2018, the MOT changed to include 3 ‘defect’ categories called dangerous, major and minor. If it’s dangerous you can’t drive the car away. If it’s a major fault it’ll need fixing before a re-test. Minor defects are seen as similar to ‘advisories’ in the previous test regime ie a car will still pass its MOT if it only has minor defects.

REVISED INFORMATION – Remember that you can have your MOT carried out within the month prior to its expiry date without necessarily affecting its future anniversary. For example, assuming your car’s MOT is due on 20 March you can book it in from 20 February hopefully giving you time to arrange any minor remedial work before its due date. If it passes you’ll get an MOT certificate that’s valid until 20 March next year BUT if your car fails its earlier than normal MOT for reason of major defects it is technically illegal to drive from that date onwards until it passes its MOT.

To make sure your car passes its MOT test you require knowledge of what to check, time for a bit of preparation and occasionally a little money in advance, before you hand your vehicle over to the MOT tester.

How To Prepare Your Car for its MOT

1. Top up the fluids

Make sure your screen wash and engine oil is within the correct levels. If these are below the recommended levels you could end up paying the garage to do this, incurring unnecessary labour rates as well as the fluid cost. Always check your car’s handbook to see which oil is recommended and how to do these important jobs.

2. Clean up your registration plate

Did you know that very dirty registration plates could lead to a failed MOT as well as plates that are personalised but don’t follow DVLA rules – this includes using the wrong typeface and/or spacing.

3. Check your headlight bulbs

To see and be seen, your vehicle lights need to be in good working order. You should check your front headlights (this means both the main beam and the dipped lights) as well as hazard lights and indicators.

It’s a good idea to check your all-important brake lights are working correctly too.

Depending on the make and model of your car you MIGHT be able to change some bulbs yourself. Always check your car handbook first. If not, maybe your local Halfords Autocentre can help? They offer a fitting service that might be more economic than a garage.

We’ve heard of certain car models requiring the removal of engine parts before anyone can gain access to headlamps. If this is the case for your car you will probably need to ask your garage to do this for you.

4. Check your tyres

Too few motorists check their tyres on a regular basis and too many cars fail their MOT with illegal tyres that are both unsafe and dangerous.

Tyre safety requires you to check car tyres for their condition, pressure and tread. The minimum legal tread level for a tyre is a depth of 1.6mm and you can use a 20p to test the depth for yourself.

Here’s how to check your tyre tread – we’re constantly concerned about this area because dangerous cars are an accident waiting to happen with potentially serious implications for the driver, her passengers, other cars and pedestrians.

5. Don’t ignore your windscreen wipers

Too few of us appreciate the significance of inefficient windscreen wipers. They can leave smears and affect your visibility in bad weather when you need this most.

Look for any wear or tear in the rubber on your wipers and use your washer fluid to check how well they’re clearing water from your windscreen. If they aren’t doing their job well enough, your car will fail its MOT and they will need replacing. This is a job that Halfords might do cheaper than a local MOT garage.

6. Beep your horn

Don’t forget about your car horn. If this isn’t working correctly the car will fail its MOT. Press the horn and make sure it is loud enough to be heard by another car driver. If not, this isn’t a job you can fix yourself so you can either get it repaired before or ask the MOT centre to fix the problem before they carry out the MOT.

These are some of the most common issues that fail MOTs and a lot of these can be fixed yourself. With these checks carried out in advance, and any minor repairs sorted, your car stands a better chance of passing the MOT without needless bills.

Always plan to check over your car a couple of weeks before you’re booked into the garage to allow yourself enough time to get the work done and feel confident that when they call, it SHOULD be a positive outcome.

NB: Never drive a car without a current MOT (unless it’s to a pre-booked MOT appointment) as this could invalidate your car insurance.

To be sure, you can check your car’s MOT status here.

PS: Remember that your MOT is a safety snapshot on the day and does not look after your car’s engine. Which is where car servicing comes in, of course. Critical to your car engine’s health and longevity is a clean and adequate supply of the right oil and a regular filter change. So if you plan to have an annual car service (and we always recommend one of sorts, depending on your annual mileage) you may be able to negotiate a discount off the MOT fee of £54.85 by combining this with a car service.

PPS: Members know to choose a FOXY Lady Approved garage that has signed the FOXY Promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell women anything we don’t need.’ This is the UK’s only female friendly approved network and our sister business FOXY Choice runs this for us, checks their measurable quality standards and monitors female feedback.

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Don't ignore your tyres - check them once a month