If you read last week’s blog which provided the basics of MOT checks, you will know that vehicles need to pass their MOT test every year after their third anniversary. However, for many of us, what is actually tested remains a bit of a mystery. We take a look at what happens during your vehicle’s MOT test – and why.
Brakes – it will come as no surprise that the brakes will be thoroughly tested during an assessment to determine the road safety of your vehicle. Your garage will make sure that the brakes work properly and that they are equally effective (otherwise you would be likely to change direction when stopping). They will check the warning light on your anti-lock brake system (ABS) if you have one and examine the pedals for wear. They will ensure that your brakes are in good working order by checking all the critical components including pipes and cables and discs, callipers and pads, as well as the master cylinder and brake servo.
They will also make sure that your handbrake is able to hold your car firm, even on a steep hill.
Doors – Vehicle safety isn’t just about making sure that the mechanical things work. All doors will be checked to ensure that they can be opened from the inside and outside, as well as that they shut properly.
Windows – damaged windscreens are one of the most common reasons for MOT test failure. If you have damage bigger than 1cm in the area that is covered by your windscreen wipers, or bigger than 4cm in the outer areas of your windscreen, your vehicle will fail.
Lights – lights notify other drivers of your presence and your intentions, as well as helping you to see! Your mechanic will check indicators, headlights (functionality and alignment), tail lights, hazards, side lights, brake lights and rear fog lights (for post-1986 vehicles).
Steering – although you might pick up anomalies in steering, your MOT test will include checks on bearings, bolts, clamps and joints as well as checking that the wheel and column are in good condition and power steering is functioning properly.
Seatbelts – Seats should be in a fixed position and seatbelts are legally required for all cars made after 1965. Seatbelts should be secure and in good condition.
Tow Bars – tow bars need to be in good condition and free of corrosion or damage.
Wheels – all wheels need to be in good condition and securely attached to the vehicle, and all bolts must be in good condition.
Tyres – your mechanic will look for bulges, splits or scrapes. They will also check that the tread depth is more than 1.6mm, and advise you if you are nearing the limit.
Bodywork – corroded metal results in sharp edges which could harm pedestrians, while rusted parts may result in a fail.
Emissions – emissions will be tested and measured against a specific legal limit, depending on the age of your vehicle. Excessive noise or visible smoke will result in an instant fail.