When your vehicle is going for an MOT, you want it to pass first time. Not only will this save you time ferrying your vehicle back and forwards to the garage or dealership, it will save you money on costly repairs.
So what are the most common reasons for failing an MOT? Here are some of the things you can do to prevent your vehicle falling foul of some MOT failure issues, and what you should ask your mechanic to take a look at.
The majority of vehicles fail their MOT due to one or more lights not working correctly. A huge 19 percent of vehicles failing their MOT have bulbs missing or not functioning properly, but this is one of the simplest things you can check yourself. Have someone sit in the car while you walk around the car checking full and dipped beam headlights, rear lights, brake lights, reversing lights, hazards and indicators. New bulbs are cheap and easy to get hold of, and are usually straightforward to fit, although it is more complex on some manufacturers’ models.
In second place, 13 percent of vehicles fail their MOTs due to issues with the suspension system. Although this is more complex, you can check to see if any shock absorbers have failed yourself. Park the vehicle on a flat, level surface and briefly apply your weight to each corner of the vehicle, then release. The vehicle should quickly settle back. If not, this could indicate a worn or failed shock absorber - ask a trusted mechanic to take a look for you.
Thirdly, ten percent of MOT failures are accounted for by a lack of tension on the handbrake. Again, this is something you can initially test yourself. If the handbrake feels loose, or if it slides up without resistance and cannot be ratcheted at a set level, it indicates a potential problem. This is another aspect that you will need a qualified mechanic’s help with, so if your handbrake is starting to feel loose, mention it to your mechanic.
The fourth most common MOT failure - eight percent of cases - are due to issues with tyres, and these are easy to check and resolve yourself. Check the correct tyre pressures in your vehicle’s manual, and inflate your tyres to this level with the air pump at your local petrol station.
Tyre tread is also a factor in the MOT inspection; you must have at least 1.6mm of tread across three-quarters of the tyre to be road legal. You can test this easily with a 20p coin – stick it in the main grooves of the tyres, and if the outer milled edge of the coin is hidden, your tyres should be legal. Remember to check all your tyres, including the spare, and if you’re in any doubt over the depth of tread, it may be time for a new set of tyres.
Other issues that occasionally cause vehicles to fail the MOT are windscreen damage, a leaking exhaust, and dirty number plates. Check for any damage larger than 10mm in the driver’s central field of view, or larger than 40mm across the rest of the swept area. If any damage is larger than this, get it fixed before your MOT – often this is covered by insurance. A leaking exhaust will make an unusual noise and may emit abnormal smoke, and this will need to be fixed by a mechanic, but dirty number plates can be easily cleaned yourself with a cloth and soapy water.
For more information on MOTs and other aftersales services in Kent, contact Beadles Group today. Our aftersales specialists can help with advising on any work required ahead of your MOT, by completing a thorough vehicle health check, and can carry out your MOT test at a time and date convenient to you.
*Information sourced from RAC and VOSA
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