Servicing & MOT
Why servicing important to your vehicle?
Regularly servicing your car can make the difference between it running smoothly and fuel efficiently, and the risk of it breaking down and incurring an expensive and unexpected repair. It can be a false economy to avoid regular car servicing, since expected wear and tear requiring minor maintenance, can fast become a costly major repair or replacement. The service schedule for your vehicle will depend on the manufacturer and also depend on the car’s mileage and age.
What’s involved in an MOT?
The mechanic will typically work through a standard checklist that includes your:
- vehicle identification number (VIN)
- registration plate
- steering and suspension
- wipers and washers
- seat belts and seats
- wheels and tyres
- fuel system
- exhaust system
- vehicle emissions
What if your car fails its MOT?
If the inspection picks up a major problem related to any of the listed things, your car will fail the test. You’ll receive a VT30 certificate outlining the reasons for the failure.
You’ll then have to fix these and take your car for another MOT. This time around, the test can be partial to cover only the faults discovered during the first test.
Depending on what needs fixing, you may get it re-tested for free or at a reduced price.
However, if you want to take it elsewhere, the car will have to be fixed within 10 days.
The test can also identify other, less immediate problems. The mechanic may include some ‘advisory notices’ on your certificate. These are problems which aren’t yet serious enough to cause your car to fail its MOT. For example, worn tyres, although not yet below the legal limit.
However, these problems should be addressed sooner rather than later, as they may worsen. If unattended, these may cause you to fail your MOT the following year, or become dangerous.
How to avoid failing your MOT
Taking your car in for a test can be a daunting experience. Often the reasons for failure is minor faults that could be fixed beforehand. Be sure the carry out the following checks to avoid some of the most common reasons for failure:
- Check if all lights are working correctly – headlights, rear lights, fog lights, brake lights, indicator lights and hazard lights. If any blown bulbs, check your car’s manual to see if your able to replace them yourself.
- Test the brakes, handbrake and steering wheel for anything unusual. Be sure that they’re working as they should.
- Check if all tyres are inflated to the correct pressure. Also, check if the is at least 1.6mm – the legal minimum.
- The driver’s view of the road shouldn’t be obstructed. Check wiper blades for damage and remove any stickers that might block the view. If there’s any worn blades, you could replace them yourself.
- Mirrors should be secure and intact.
- Registration plates must be easily readable and in good condition. If you own a personalised number plate, make sure it still meets DVLA’s requirements.
- The VIN (vehicle identification number) should match the VIN in your car’s log book (V5C registration certificate).
- Check that all warning lights on your dash are working correctly.
- Inspect the filler cap and the seal around it for any damage.
- Check if the horn works and is loud and clear.
- Make sure the car, inside and outside, is presentable. The tester could refuse to carry out the inspection if the car is cluttered and dirty.
If you pass the test, your garage will supply you with an MOT test certificate, and you are then legal to drive off.