There’s an glamorous side to owning a shiny set of wheels – and that’s the health checks of a car. Just like humans, cars need looking after too, as with age, wear and tear, and general day to day activity, our cars can take a bit of a beating.
The rule is that once a car is three years old (four years in Northern Ireland) it should be tested each year by undergoing a professional MOT test, to ensure the car meets road safety and environmental standards. It’s one of the selling points of buying a brand new car, meaning you don’t have to worry about the MOT for the first three years.
You’ll never have to struggle to find somewhere that carries out MOT tests, and they are a necessity to carry out, meaning authorised test centres are everywhere all around the country. You’ll know a place is legitimate as they will display an official MOT blue sign featuring three white triangles.
To ensure your car’s roadworthiness, get your MOT test done from professionals like KAP Motors Brighton Centre. The results of looking after your car properly – and legally – are essential.
What does an MOT do and how long does it take?
An MOT will carry out a thorough amount of checks on your car, which ranges from testing the safety and efficiency of the brakes, the fuel system, the lights, exhaust system, and even lights, mirrors and seat belts. It has safety in mind, so it will be a complete car check.
The time they take can vary, but usually an average MOT test sits between 45 and 60 minutes, although each car or expert doing the test can change this slightly. but there are a couple of other things to take into consideration.
If your car fails, do remember that you will have to have the faults repaired before it is safe to be on the road. This can mean you are without a car for a little while, so do bear this in mind. You are not allowed to drive off with a car that has failed, so problems do need to be fixed.
You will usually be able to drop your car off at the MOT test centre in the morning, so they can slot it in during the day, ready for pick up at the end of the day. This means it’s wise to arrange alternative travel if needed.
What is the typical MOT cost?
Rates can rise, and of course, it depends on the place you choose to go. But mainly, The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency sets the maximum fee official test centres can charge for an MOT is currently £54.85 for cars and motor caravans and £29.65 for motorbikes, but luckily some garages charge less.
A professional MOT is vital for your car, so do not put this off if you are thinking of trying to save money!
A rundown on what your car will be tested for and why it may fail
It’s wise to be aware of everything your car will test for, as there is a lot to know about MOT tests. Also, it’s worth understanding that some sources say 2 in 5 cars can fail due to human error. This means there are things you can be wary of beforehand to prevent a fail.
Screen wash: If your screen wash isn’t regularly topped up, you may want to get into the habit of this. It’s a basic task that takes minutes, so don’t be caught out by it.
Keeping the car clean and clutter free: If your boot and backseats are full or windows are filthy, this won’t look great for the test day. Clear the mess fully and give the windows and mirrors a thorough clean. Plus, this is good practice for enjoying your car driving experience.
A registration plate problem: If you have a personalised plate, make sure it follows DVLA rules. Also ensure you keep your registration plate fixed on properly and free from dirt and stains.
Drivers view blockage: It’s essential to have no blockages from the drivers view. This means to keep an eye out on windscreens, making sure there is nothing blocking the view, and no stickers etc stuck to the windscreens. Even parking permits etc should have their placements considered.
Dashboard warning lights: These shouldn’t be ignored and left until your MOT. It’s advised to make sure you know what the actual lit-up car warning means and to action this before the MOT. Or at least be aware of it and explain before your MOT is about to take place.
Be aware of actions going forward
Your car has passed – hooray! But wait, just by having a ‘pass’ MOT certificate doesn’t mean you don’t have to focus on your car for the next year. This simply confirms that at the time of the test your car met the minimum road safety and environmental standards required by law. But it may not remain road worthy as the months go on.
You still need to make sure you maintain your car well, following any advice the MOT test centre gave you, and to follow up regular servicing.
The checks to carry out yourself between tests:
Headlights and indicators: Check your front, rear, headlights (the main beam and dipped), hazard lights and indicators. Test them with someone else watching, or look at window reflections if you’re alone. You may need to replace bulbs. The same can be said for brake lights.
Tyres: These are important, especially before long trips. Do check all the tyres have at least the minimum legal tread depth of 1.6mm. If they go under this they will fail the MOT test. Regularly check for any damage such as cuts and splits in the tread of the tyres too.
Also check the tyre pressure is correct – the car’s manual will list the right pressure and they might also be on the sidewall of the tyre itself.
The handbrake: It’s worth checking the tension in your handbrake yourself. If your handbrake is playing up, you could risk your car not securely sitting on hills safely. It shouldn’t move up and down without an resistance, so do test this.
Windscreen: if your windscreen shows signs of any damage that sits wider than 10mm in the driver’s central view, this will be an MOT fail.
Exhaust: Some leaks can go un-noticed, so it’s important to check for any exhaust leaks by starting the engine in a well-ventilated space. Listen for any strange noises, and look out for any smoke.
Fuel and engine oil: make sure your car is filled up beforehand when taking your car for an MOT test. You want to ensure there is sufficient fuel so that the test center can test your car’s emissions levels properly.
Ultimately, the more you look after your car, the more you will get from it, and it could save you money in the long run!