Get your car checked before the MOT

MOT Check - How to Prepare Your Car for an MOT

21 January 2015, 13:09

Every car in the UK needs an MOT test yearly when the car reaches 3 years of age. Before the MOT you need to do a pre MOT check. It is a good idea to check some of the things yourself, and an even better idea to let a workshop check your car.

At Autobutler you can book a garage that will also do the MOT.

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In the UK it is a legal requirement for every car over three years old to have a yearly MOT inspection. Regardless of how old your car is, where you bought it, how often you drive it or how long you intend to keep it for, before booking the car in for its MOT it is a good idea to give it a once-over yourself to identify any problem areas.

Pre MOT checklist

If you are not a trained mechanic then you will not be able to fix any major problems which your car may have. But if the car fails the test, even for a relatively minor problem, you could end up having to pay to have it retested.

Things like faulty lightbulbs and door handles could result in your car failing its MOT; but these are things which you could fix yourself or bring to the attention of a mechanic before you book your car in for its test. Below is a list of similar minor details which could be the difference between your car passing and failing its MOT and are all perfectly easy to check on your own.

  • Number plates – it is important that your number plates are well-secured, clearly visible and that they are appropriate for the year of your vehicle. If you have bought or are looking to buy a new registration for your car then you should check on the DVLA website that it will be legal to put those plates on your particular make and model of car.
  • Steering – it is easiest to check the steering on a car by driving it. You will probably have noticed if it feels different to normal or if there are any problems. If your car is due for its MOT soon and you have noticed a problem with the steering then be sure to get it looked at before your MOT certificate expires.
  • Power steering – make sure that there are no leaks. If your car has a steering box then you can try to adjust any slack in the steering yourself.
  • Horn – this one is very easy to test but believe it or not you could fail your MOT if your horn isn’t working. You need to make sure that there are no delays from when you press the horn to when the sound comes out and that it makes a clear, loud noise.
  • Lights – get someone else to help you to check all of the lights on your car. A dodgy lightbulb on one of your headlights could fail the MOT and cause you to pay all over again. A new lightbulb will cost next to nothing and is something which you will be able to source and change yourself relatively easily.
  • Bonnet – make sure that the bonnet opens and closes easily. The catch must work and properly secure the bonnet in place. You should also make sure that the hinges are well oiled so that they don’t cause any problems in the future.
  • Doors – all of your doors (including the boot) should open and close easily and all of the locks should be in good working order.
  • Car body – dents and scrapes won’t stop you from passing the MOT but holes in the body work could do.

These things may all seem minor and irrelevant but checking them before you book your car in for its MOT could end up saving you time and money. Nowadays it can be extremely inconvenient to be left without a car, so giving yourself the best chance at passing the MOT is never a bad idea.

What if the car is not approved at MOT?

If your car does not pass its MOT then it means that it does not meet the legal requirements for on-road safety in the UK. Whatever the problem is will have to be fixed before you will be allowed to drive it again safely. Once the repairs have been made, you will have to book the car in for its MOT again and pay a second fee to have it retested.

If you do think that the car should have passed and that for some reason the tester has acted unfairly in deeming your car unfit for the road, you can fill out a VT17 form to apply to have another test free of charge. If your car fails its MOT then you will usually be given an amount of time in which to have the car repaired. The length of time given to you will depend on the severity of the problem.

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