Vehicles that are more than three years old, are legally required to take an MOT test every year to check it is roadworthy. Here we will cover all of the points you need to consider before your MOT is due, this will give you a more peace of mind, as well as possibly saving you paying out a lot of money all at once.
What work is carried out on an MOT?
Even though, the MOT doesn’t cover the condition of the engine, gearbox or clutch, the MOT tester will look at the structure and general condition of the vehicle. They also look at the exhaust/fuel system, doors, mirrors, seatbelts, brakes, tyres, lights, the bonnet, the steering/suspension, the windscreen, wipers, the horn and electrical components.
Although, you won’t be able to check all the elements of your vehicle yourself, you can inspect most parts to make sure they are in good working condition. By making simple checks, this will reduce the risk of your vehicle failing the MOT.
The simple checks before your MOT is due
The body work, is a simple check that you can do before your MOT is due. When you check the bodywork of the vehicle, look for sharp edges caused by corrosion or accident damage. Rust on a vehicle is an MOT issue, particularly for older vehicles. Excessive corrosion on safety-related parts, such as the steering and brakes, is a no-no, while rust within 30cm of these components may also result in an MOT fail.
All the vehicle lights must be working correctly, including headlights, tail lights, indicators, hazard lights, side lights, brake lights and rear fog lights. This is easy to check and will stop the risk of your vehicle failing its MOT, for a small issue that can be resolved quickly.
To check that the horn is in working order is the simplest check, the horn must work, and be loud enough for the other vehicles to hear, in order for the vehicle to not fail the MOT.
Checking that the doors can be opened from inside and outside the car, and that all openings, including the bonnet and tailgate can be shut securely, is a 1 minute easy check that can be carried out by yourself.
Seats and Seatbelts
Seats should be securely fixed, with seatbelts as this is a legal requirement. Seatbelts need to be securely fixed, including the clip/locking mechanism and in good condition. This applies for all the seats in the vehicle.
Tyres and Brakes
Checking your tyres, and your brakes are the most important components of all, and they must work properly to pass the MOT. When checking the tyre tread depth, you can easily do this by using a 20p coin. Simply place the coin in the tread grooves in three different places on the tyre. If any part of the outer band of the coin is visible, your tyre tread is too low and your tyres need to be replaced before you take your vehicle in for MOT.
The only way to ensure that your brakes are in working order before the vehicles MOT, is to make sure that the rubber on the peddle is not worn and the ABS warning light is working if anti-lock brakes are fitted. The handbrake/parking brake must work and hold the car firmly, even on a steep incline.
Windows and Mirrors
The most common cause of MOT failure is windscreen damage. Chips or cracks must measure less than 10mm across, if within the area swept by the windscreen wipers. Outside this area, up to 40mm is allowed. The wipers must work correctly and the rubber blades must be in good condition, as well as the rear-view mirrors. If your do have any chips or cracks get them fixed before your MOT is due.
Results of an MOT test
Once your vehicle has passed the MOT, you’ll get an MOT test certificate with the date of test on it, and the date of expiry so you know when the vehicle requires a new MOT.
If your vehicle passes its MOT, it may still have minor faults, which should be fixed as soon as possible to prevent it getting worse. It could also be passed with advisories, which means you should keep an eye on the issue and repair it if it gets worse.
If your vehicle fails its MOT, then you can only take your vehicle away if your current MOT certificate is still valid, and no ‘dangerous’ problems were listed in the new report from the failed MOT. Otherwise, you must get it repaired before you’re allowed to drive.
However, if you decide to take it to another garage to have the failed defects addressed, then your car will still need to meet the minimum standards of roadworthiness at all times or you can be fined.
How can I find out when my MOT is due?
You can find out when your vehicles MOT is due, by looking at your previous MOT Certificate. However, if you have lost your MOT Certificate you can obtain the details by going on the Government website; https://vehicleenquiry.service.gov.uk/ . On the Government website, you will need to enter your Vehicle Registration Number Plate and the vehicle make, and it will tell you when your vehicles MOT expiry date is, along with the tax expiry date. You can also request a new copy of your MOT Certificate free of charge.
Is there a grace period for an MOT?
There is no grace period for an MOT. As soon as your MOT has expired it becomes illegal to drive your vehicle on the road. If you drive your vehicle without a valid MOT, this risks prosecution. Moreover, you cannot tax a vehicle without a current MOT certificate.
Can I drive without an MOT?
You can’t drive a vehicle without it having a valid MOT certificate, as this is illegal. The only exception is that you’re able to drive your vehicle for its MOT test, as long as the test has been booked.
If you are an owner of a vehicle and are not planning on driving it you must keep it off the road and will have to declare it SORN.