The government mandates that every vehicle owner must bring their car in for an MOT every three years – there’s no getting around this fact (for new cars, this is after the first three years).
Regardless of how diligently you look after your car, that requirement will still roll around every three years. Vehicles found with an out-of-date MOT certificate can be impounded on the spot, with their drivers facing fines of up to £1,000.
Regardless of inconvenience, it’s worth more to you in the long run to keep on top of everything. But as inconvenient as it may be, it needn’t be a difficult task. There are plenty of ways to reduce the burden and time-spent on MOTs, as well as mitigate the chances that your car will fail an MOT on the first go.
1: What’s important and what’s not
Even if you’re not a qualified car mechanic, there are various things you can do pre-check-up to highlight any potential issues and ensure your car is in the best possible condition when it comes to the MOT itself. Firstly, it is important to bear in mind what will not be inspected during the test; the condition of the engine, clutch and gearbox will not be examined.
The government provides a breakdown of all elements covered in an MOT, and some may be beyond the average driver’s understanding in terms of how to maintain.
However, other elements can be done yourself beforehand, simple things such as topping up screen wash, removing stickers on the windscreen, and ensuring the interior is clean and free of clutter.
As mentioned above, avoiding simple errors can be a good way to make sure you pass the MOT. Performing your own checks before the test will allow you to intercept any issues that might cause a fail later on.
The list of checks is extensive, and can be viewed here, covering everything from checking all the lights are working properly, making sure the tyres have the minimum legal tread depth, keeping the tyre pressure at the correct level and checking the handbrake tension, among other things.
Maintaining your car’s emissions at the required levels can seem to be one of the most insurmountable challenges related to passing an MOT, but they can be managed with a little forethought.
Some simple but effective steps can include driving at a steady speed, avoiding long-term idling, reducing excessive battery usage through things like air conditioning and plugging in excess devices.
4: Registration plate
Making sure your registration plate meets government-mandated requirements can be one of the easiest ways of ensuring your pass your MOT.
This includes making sure the letters are correctly spaced and distinguishable, which would have to be handled well ahead of time. As well as this, it can be a simple case of making sure it is kept clean, that dust or mud is not obscuring the lettering.