Surprisingly, approximately 35% of cars and light vans in the UK fail their MOT, which is a lot of money wasted when you add up the repair bill. Though you may not be able to fix broken carburetors yourself, there are a number of basic checks that could mean the difference between having to pay for another MOT:
1. Ensure your fluid levels are topped up, including the washer bottle, oil tank and brake fluid reservoir.
2. Check that all your lights are working and are the right colour. This means your headlights, reverse lights, indicators and registration plate bulbs. If any don’t light up, check they are properly screwed in before having them replaced – they may just have come loose.
3. Registration plates must be legible from 20 metres, securely fastened and in good, clean condition. If you’re uncertain whether yours meets standards, you can check with the DVLA.
4. Inspect your windscreen to be sure it’s clear of any stickers that may impede your vision and look out for chips or cracks larger than 1cm. These can usually be repaired through your car insurance, and it’s important they’re seen to because they can get much worse very suddenly.
5. The car’s doors must open and close freely, from both inside and outside the car, as well as remaining shut when closed.
6. Ensure that the rubber on the brakes hasn’t worn away and watch out for leaks from the brake pipes.
7. Your tyres must be the right type and size, with a tread depth of 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the tyre, around the entire circumference. Watch out for significant lumps or splits in the sidewall. If you are uncertain, don’t take the risk – have your tyres replaced professionally.
8. Toot the horn: it needs to be loud enough to attract the attention of others on the road. It needs to be clearly labelled and accessible.
9. Make sure that no part of the exhaust is hanging loose. Things like too much noise when you start the engine or a lot of smoke might indicate a fault.
10. Check that none of the seatbelts are torn or badly frayed, that they fasten properly and lock in when given a sharp pull. The seatbacks should click into the upright position.
Keeping your car in good order should be a priority at all times, although sometimes it can slip. An upcoming MOT is a good time to give your car a good once-over and catch any faults before they become worse – safety is always paramount, and ensuring your car is roadworthy is a key way to ensure that you and others will be safe on the roads.