Taking our car for its yearly MOT is right up there with a visit to the dentist or a letter from the tax office when it comes to the things we dread the most.
And even those of us with a relatively new vehicle (almost a fifth of three year old cars fail their first MOT) aren’t exempt from that sick feeling of being told the car has failed.
So here are the top 5 reasons cars today fail their MOT and what you might be able to do about it.
1. Lights and Signalling Faults
You need to be able to see where you are going when it’s dark as well as people seeing you.
So it’s not surprising that the most common reason for an MOT failure is problems with lights and indicators. If your car has any issues with its headlamps – including faulty brake lights and broken indicators – it’s a pretty safe bet you’ll paying for a re-test in a flash.
A simple check around the car before you take it for an MOT and investing in a set of spare bulbs might just save you a pretty penny in the long run.
2. Poor Quality Tyres
The basic requirement that an MOT tester is looking for with your tyres is that the tread is above the legal limit of 1.6mm, as well as being in generally good condition including the valve and the wheel.
They are also looking for tears, bulges, cracks in the sidewall and any other form of damage; with the basic principle being that if your tyres are not safe enough to drive on they WILL fail the MOT test.
Of course this could save your life, but also a lot of money as illegal tyres in the UK can incur a fine of £1000 – per tire!
3. Faulty Brakes
It goes without saying that brakes are an extremely important part of a car. But it’s not just a case of whether they bring your vehicle to a stop or not. It’s all about condition, operation and performance.
A braking system will be subject to an inspection of the physical brake components, as well as efficiency. The MOT inspector will check the brake pedal for travel and excessive free play in the mounting and also inspect the individual braking components for wear and leakage.
Some dealerships and garages actually offer free brake tests and can give you a good idea whether your car needs work before passing an MOT.
4. Suspension Issues
Hearing a squeak or a clunking noise from under your car when you are turning the wheel or going over bumps in the road?
Most of us drive without even noticing steering and suspension faults, so these problems are only picked up when we take a car for an MOT test.
Suspension is checked by applying loads in various ways with the wheels jacked up and in order for your car to pass no split pins or nuts missing, no components broken or excessively damaged and Shock absorbers must not leak and must be secure.
A number plate doesn’t just exist so that people can spend huge amounts of money on incredibly vain personalised versions.
It’s there so your car can be identified.
In the UK it’s a legal requirement to have your number plate clearly visible at all times, so an excessively damaged or obstructed number plate, or even one that is unreadable, will result in an MOT fail.
More tips on caring for your car: http://www.carcare.org/diy/tips-and-videos/