How to Pass your MOT Guide + Video
MOT looming? Run through these quick checks to give your car a helping hand before its test.
Pass Your MOT
Obviously you won't be able to examine your car to quite the same standard as an actual garage, but there are still plenty of things you can do to minimise your chances of an MOT disaster! Work your way through each of the following checks to help you to identify possible problem areas before your car's big day. You never know - your bank account might thank you for it!
- Car cleaning products
- Brake fluid (if required)
- Replacement mirror glass (if required)
- New wiper blades (if required)
- Top up your screenwash (if it's getting a bit low)
- Number plates (if required)
- Bulbs (if required)
- Tyre tread depth gauge
Step 1 - Cleaning & Handbrake
Give your car a really thorough clean inside and out. If it looks well cared for, the tester may be more likely to pass a borderline component. Check that the handbrake works correctly. If you have to pull the lever a long way up (i.e. if it clicks too many times), the cable may need adjustment, so get this checked out if you think something might be wrong!
Step 2 - Check Brake Fluid
Check the brake fluid level. Press the brake pedal and make sure that it doesn't feel spongy. If it does, there may be air in the hydraulic system which will need to be removed by bleeding.
Step 3 - Shocks & Screen
'Bounce' each corner of the car in turn. If the car doesn't settle after 1 or 2 bounces then this could mean that the shock absorbers are worn out. Check for excessive play at the steering wheel (i.e. if it feels too loose), as this could indicate wear in the linkage. There shouldn't be any cracks or chips in the windscreen within the driver's field of view.
Step 4 - Check Mirrors
Check that your wing mirror and rear view mirror are in good condition, and that you can adjust them if you need to. If they're broken or cracked then be sure to replace the mirror glass or the entire mirror.
Step 5 - Things Not To Miss
Check the horn, the windscreen washers and wiper blades. Replace worn wiper blades and top up your screenwash if it's a bit low. Also double check that your number plates are in good condition - a cracked one can mean a failure!
Step 6 - External Lights
Check that all of your car's external lights are working properly. Your number plates and all lights must be clean and undamaged, so give them a good scrub if necessary. If any of your lights aren't working, replace the bulbs or check the wiring to make sure there aren't any loose connections.
Step 7 - Checking Your Tyres
Check your car tyres for damage. Use a tread depth gauge to check the amount of tread remaining. The legal minimum is 1.6mm - although it's better to fit new tyres well before they reach this stage!
Step 8 - Final Checks
Check the exhaust by starting the engine and holding a clean cloth over the tailpipe. You will be able to hear if the system is leaking. Repair or renew as necessary.
Check the seat belts for fraying, cuts or other signs of damage. The front seats must be securely attached and the backrests must lock in the upright position.
Spending a bit of time checking over your vehicle before its MOT could mean the difference between a pass and a fail - so it's definitely worth doing! If you know that there's a problem with your car, and you'd like to fix it yourself, Halfords has a huge range of car parts available to order and pick up in your local store.
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