If your car is more than three years old, it must be booked in for an MOT each year. This will determine whether it’s fit to be on the road. As well as having to pay for the inspection of your car, you will also have to cover the cost of any necessary repairs, which can get costly — especially if any serious problems are identified. Fortunately, by carrying out some simple maintenance between MOTs, you could save yourself a lot of trouble and money.
We’ve put together our three top tips for keeping your car in the best condition all year round. If you take these on board, your car will be far more likely to pass its MOT first time round.
Check all of your lights are working
Defective lights and signals are the most common cause of failed MOTs, according to figures recently released by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. So, when you’re preparing to take your car for an MOT, checking that all of your lights and indicators work should be a priority.
Your car’s headlights, fog lights, rear lights, brake lights, hazard lights, and indicators should all be working perfectly. It’s easy enough to check most of these yourself — you simply have to switch on your lights and step out of your car to make sure they’re working. Although, when it comes to your brake lights, you will need someone to stand behind your car and check that they work when you press the pedal.
If you find that any of your bulbs aren’t working, don’t worry — they’re very simple to replace. Just follow the instructions in The Telegraph’s video tutorial, which walks you through the process, and all of your lights will be shining bright again in no time.
Ensure your tyres are fit to be on the road
You should be checking your tyres’ pressure, tread, and general condition at least once a month. This is because driving around on tyres that aren’t roadworthy can put you and other motorists at risk. Plus, if your tyres aren’t fit to be on the road, your car is guaranteed to fail its MOT.
Checking the pressure of your tyres is quite easy. First, you need to find the correct pressure rating for your car’s tyres in the owner’s manual. Once you’ve found it, you should remove the dust cap from one of your tyres and fix a reliable pressure gauge on to it. Take note of the number it gives you, and repeat this process for all four of your tyres. Compare the pressure of your tyres with the figure given in your owner’s manual. If any of them require extra air, you can inflate them quite easily using the facilities you’ll find at most petrol stations.
You also need to check the tread of your tyres, as you could lose your licence and be given a £10,000 fine if its inadequate. And, of course, your car would fail its MOT. In the UK and Europe, the tread of your tyres must be at least 1.6mm deep. To test yours, Tyre Safe recommends using the 20p test. To do this, place a 20p into the main tread grooves of your tyres and check whether the outer band is totally obscured. If it is, your tyres are safely above the limit. But, if it isn’t, you should arrange for any offending tyres to be replaced as soon as possible.
Replace your worn wiper blades
During your MOT, the tester will decide whether your view of the road is obstructed. To do this, they will check your windscreen for any cracks, inspect your wipers to ensure they’re in good condition, and look at the level of your washer fluid. Therefore, you should ensure that everything is in working order — you don’t want to end up paying for another MOT for something as simple as not replacing your wipers.
Your windscreen wipers should be changed every six to 12 months. Although, if they’re making unusual noises, leave streaks on your windscreen, and look worse for wear, it’s wise to change them sooner. If you’ve never done this before, check out Lookers’ guide to changing your windscreen wipers, which will tell you everything you need to know.
If you take these tips on board, your car will be far more likely to pass its MOT first time, which will save you a lot of time, hassle, and money.