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Guide to MOTsBack

MOTsignIf you’re considering taking your car for an MOT, Trusted Dealers can help. Franchised dealers only employ experienced, qualified vehicle technicians to carry out servicing of any kind so you can be sure that an MOT with Trusted Dealers will be completed to the very highest standard.

What is an MOT?

If you own a car which is more than three years old, you are required by law to take it for a regular safety check. The ministry of transport test, more commonly known as the MOT test, is an annual test which ensures that your car is roadworthy and meets with the minimum safety levels required by law.

What happens at an MOT test?

An MOT test consists of a comprehensive series of checks to your vehicle which include an interior, exterior, under the vehicle and under the bonnet inspection, carried out by an authorised person from VOSA (the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency). The result of every check is then recorded and if your vehicle passes, you will be issued with a VT20 pass certificate. A failure to meet with the required standard will evoke a VT30 failure certificate.

MOTtestWhy do I need an MOT certificate?

It is your responsibility to ensure your car is issued with a valid MOT certificate every 12 months – without it you will be unable to drive that vehicle lawfully or renew its road tax and you may not be insured. Recent computerisation of MOT testing by VOSA has made it even more important to hold a current MOT as police and mobile cameras can now check remotely to see if vehicles have a current MOT.

What is the penalty for an invalid MOT certificate?

If you do not hold an up to date MOT certificate you could be faced with a fine, worse still, if you are involved in an accident and you fail to produce a valid MOT certificate it could affect your insurance claim, especially in the case of injury.

When should I take my car for an MOT?

You can take your car for an MOT up to 28 days in advance of its due date. This does not mean that you will lose 28 days of your MOT, if you take it to be tested early you will still receive a new certificate which is valid for a year from the end date of your previous certificate. Once you’ve booked in for your MOT, you must remember to take your Vehicle Registration Document, known as a V5, as well as the relevant means to pay for the test.

What should I do if my car fails its MOT?

If your car fails its MOT, you will be expected to put right any outstanding issues in compliance with the MOT test standards. The notes on the back of your VT30 report should help you to identify any problems. However, if you think that the nominated tester has been unfair, you can appeal against the decision by obtaining a VT17 form. You can obtain a free re-test for your vehicle if it does not leave the testing station and is left there for repair, or if it is returned for a re-test by the next working day.

10 steps to passing your MOT

Taking your car for its MOT test needn’t be a stressful ordeal, in fact, as long as you look after your car and get it regularly serviced, you shouldn’t incur too many unforeseen problems. There are lots of things you can do to prepare your car for its MOT to make sure it stands the best chance of getting through without any hiccups.

If your car is due a service, it is a good idea to book one in at the same time as you take your MOT test. If your car is approaching three years old and requires its first MOT certificate, it’s well worth booking the service a few weeks before so that any repairs will be covered by your warranty.

Trusted Dealers’ 10 step guide below is designed to help you eliminate problems with your car before you take your MOT test, and more importantly, recognise any serious problems with your car before they become a potential hazard.

1.Check your wheels and tyres

Checking your tyres is a simple process which involves sticking a 10p piece into the tread. If you can see the milled 230413 TyreSafeedge of the coin then it’s too shallow and illegal. You should also check all of your tyres for any cuts or bulges and make sure that the tyre pressure is correct pressure recommended by the manufacturer. You should be able to obtain the correct figures from your car handbook, the door inner or inside the fuel filler cap.

2. Check your lights

This is a simple exercise, just switch everything on and check for any blown bulbs. Ask a friend to watch whilst you test the headlights and brake lights, and don’t forget to check your fog lights too.

3. Check your wipers

Examine your windscreen wiper blades to make sure they are not split or too worn out to clear the glass properly – replace them if necessary.

4. Check your horn

5. Check your windscreen

Check the surface of your windscreen for any chips or cracks – anything larger than 10mm in the driver’s eye line could potentially cause an MOT test fail. A windscreen specialist can usually fix smaller screen flaws. Most insurance policies will cover the cost without affecting your no claims bonus, but always check this out first. Make sure you top up the washer bottle before a test – even something as simple as an empty container could cause an MOT fail.

6. Check your brakes

To test the brake pads, make sure your car pulls up squarely when you apply the brakes, if it pulls to one side it will fail the MOT. The pedals should also feel firm, not soft and the car should not be able to travel far before the brakes begin to bite. Look under the bonnet to check your brake fluid is level is between the maximum and minimum levels. Check that your hand brake moves freely and easily and is capable of holding your car securely on a hill.

7. Check your exhaustexhaust-517799_640

A leaky exhaust is illegal and unsafe to drive with, therefore it is very important to check that your exhaust pipe is securely fastened to the car and isn’t excessively rusty. Start your car up and hold a rag over the tail pipe, then listen for sounds of leaks or blowing – if you think there are any problems, it is well worth contacting a garage to take a look in case it needs replacing.

8. Check your number plates

This is not an obvious area to check but a cracked or broken number plate can cause a test failure. Check that your number plates are securely fixed to the car at the front and back and that the correct colours have been used – white at the front and yellow at the back. The letters and digits on a number plate should also be correctly spaced – some personalised plates move letters closer together to spell out names which is in fact illegal and a fail at an MOT test.

9. Check your seats and seatbelts

Make sure that the driver’s seat adjusts forwards and backwards and all seatbelts are in good working order. Tug sharply on all seatbelts to check that they react how they are supposed to in the event you had to brake severely.

10. Check your fuel and engine oilOilChecks

Make sure you car has a sufficient amount of fuel and engine oil before your MOT test. You can be turned away if you fail to have suitable levels of either as the testing centre require a sufficient amount when running the car to test its emissions. If you are unsure about the type of oil that should be used to top up your car, ask your manufacturer main dealer.

Posted by Leana Kell on 27/07/2016