How to Prepare Your Car for the Annual MOT Test

By law, any car above the age of 3 must undergo an annual MOT inspection to certify that it is safe enough to be on the road. When the time comes that your motor needs the MOT test, should it fail the inspection, it must be repaired to meet the standards. However, it’s possible to arrange a pre-MOT check with a local garage or dealer workshop to minimise the chance of your car failing on the day.

General Checks

There’s plenty of things that could help your car pass an annual MOT test, but those can also be the reason for its failure as well. To make sure your motor has the best chance of passing the annual MOT test, take note of the following general checks once the ignition is turned on:

  • Seatbelts are good to use and aren’t damaged or frayed in any way.
  • When the seatbelts are pulled sharply, the inertia reel should lock to prevent major whiplash.
  • The windscreen wipers and washer should be fully operational and work how they should.
  • Screen wash must be topped up.
  • The rubber blades (edges) on the windscreen wipers shouldn’t have any chunks missing or have loose strips on the wiping edge.
  • The horn MUST be able to do its job properly.

The Most Important Parts to Check

Now that the easy part has been said and done, the important part is coming up: the major parts. Before even arranging the MOT test for your car, you should at least have checked the major parts – minors don’t matter that much but are still considered important. At the workshop, the mechanic and technician looking at your car would be delighted to find fewer major failures than minors! So, double check that the following parts are as they should be prior to the inspection:

  • Tires – When walking around your car, make sure that the tires have no bulges or cuts on the sidewalls or bits stuck in the tread of the tire. It’s also important to remember that the tire tread needs to be at least 1.6mm deep (use a tread depth gauge to monitor this).
  • Lights – Since lighting is amongst the most frequent MOT failure points, it’s here on the checklist for you to pre-inspect before taking it for the test. All exterior bulbs must be working properly, the lenses free of cracks or damage and all lights must be clearly visible to other motorists on the road.
  • Bodywork – Though your bodywork may not look harmful, there can be unclear sharp edges that injure pedestrians who walk near to your car. These need to be checked before the MOT and you must make sure that the bumpers are secure and that you are able to access your car through all the doors (open from both the inside and out).
  • Windscreen and Mirrors – Although small stone chips on your windscreen won’t necessarily mean your car is set to fail the MOT, it can mean that you need to take extra caution around the area the wipers sweep, ensuring there are no major chips or cracks. Any damage outside of this area must be no larger than 10mm and mirrors should be fitted securely with the glass in good condition.
  • Exhaust – Your car’s exhaust must be secure and corrosion-free! If you rev the engine with the car stationary, the parking brake on and doors (or windows) open, listen out for rattles as these indicate that your car is on the way out; to the scrap yard!

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