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Seven Simple Tips to Pass Your MOT

It’s that dreaded time of the year again - your MOT due date. And, as around 50% of all MOT faults could be easily avoided by carrying out regular, simple maintenance, preparing for your MOT is crucial to save you some pennies and the inconvenience of repairs later on.

The most common reasons for MOT failure includes faulty light bulbs, faults relating to tyre condition and pressure, and also issues found with mirrors, wipers and washers.

In this guide, we talk through seven simple tips to help increase your chances of your MOT passing with routine maintenance you should carry out on a regular basis.

1. Check Your Tyres

According to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), just over 11% of MOT failures were caused by tyre tread, something that can be very easy to spot without mechanical knowledge. 

Tyres can be checked visually and assessed for wear and tear at home to give you a rough idea of whether or not they need replacing. The legal tyre tread depth for a car is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of your tyre, and can be easily checked using the 20p test.

Of course, tyres should also be regularly checked for cuts, punctures, cracking or bulges, which are also common reasons for an MOT failure.

Before your MOT and on a regular basis, you should check the condition of your tyres and get them replaced as soon as you spot any problems.

2. Test Your Lights

Despite being one of the most affordable repairs on a car, faulty lights account for around 12% of MOT failures. All lights on your car must be clean and working, not just before an MOT, but at all times. 

You’ll need to check your headlights (on full and dipped beam), side lamps, daytime running lights, hazard warning lights, fog lights and number plate lights. As it can be a little tricky to check these on your own, you may find it easier to ask a friend or neighbour to help you check. 

If one of your bulbs has gone out, you can pick up a spare from a local garage or car accessory store. We do also recommend stocking up on bulbs if one of your bulbs appears to begin wearing out.

3. Windscreen and Wipers

Visibility is crucial when it comes to driving. Your windscreen should be clear of cracks and chips that may obstruct your view. While windscreen chips are unlikely to fail an MOT, they can become a failure if they are larger than 40mm or if they affect your view.

Your windscreen wipers should also be in a fully functional condition to clearly see in all weather conditions. If you are beginning to notice your wiper blades moving slower than programmed or not moving at all, you’ll most likely need a new windscreen wiper motor.

4. Visibility

Linking back to the importance of visibility, another common failure of MOTs is obstacles obstructing the driver’s view.

We do advise refraining from hanging objects (e.g. air fresheners) from the rear-view mirror as this can result in an instant failure. If you have a dash cam, make sure that it is safely installed with wires and cables neatly hidden so they aren’t in clear sight and aren’t obstructing your view.

5. Number Plates

Number plates are often a grey area that many drivers are misinformed about. As regulations and laws are regularly changing regarding number plates, it can be difficult to keep up.

Your number plates need to have the correct style of lettering and sufficient spacing. If you’re unable to easily read your number plate from a distance, you can be sure you’ll end up with an instant MOT failure. It’s also expected that rules and regulations surrounding 3D and 4D number plates are also set to change in September 2021, although this isn’t yet confirmed.

While this may be obvious to many, MOT tests insist that your number plate must not be excessively damaged, obscured, delaminated or deteriorated. This means that, if you have recently been in an accident, you should replace your number plate if it appears damaged.

6. Seats and Seatbelts

The driver’s seat should easily adjust forwards and backwards to ensure that the pedals are a comfortable and safe distance. As well as this, all seatbelts should be intact and in good working order.

Test out your seat and inspect the seatbelts for potential fraying and damage. Tug on all seat belts to check that they will respond well should you need to brake sharply. Unfortunately, problems with adjusting your seat and damage to the seatbelts can result in an MOT failure.

7. Oil Levels

On a regular basis, you should check your oil levels and maintain constant fuel levels to avoid costly repairs later down the road. Having sufficient fuel and engine oil allows your chosen MOT garage to carry out emissions tests.

While it does go without saying, another common advisory found on MOTs is oil leaks, so you’ll want to check for leaks on a regular basis, too.

Prepare for Your MOT

As well as the most common failed areas listed above, there are, of course, other ways to keep your car in good condition ahead of your MOT. You should ensure the car is regularly serviced and maintained. We also advise using a trusted MOT garage to carry out professional and experienced MOT testing.

If you would like to find out more about how to prepare for your MOT or if you’d like some advice and tips on maintaining your car, please take a look at our Eight Checks to Keep Your Car Running Smoothly guide.

Book your MOT test online now or call our experienced team on 01509 232232.