We understand that owning a car is an expensive commodity. Petrol, car insurance and diesel prices have risen in the last decade, as has the price of purchasing a vehicle. Bearing this in mind, we should look at how to keep costs at a low in relation to motoring. Advice such as driving at a steady speed, not carrying unnecessary items in the car, and not excessively accelerating or braking are all ways to save money in terms of your fuel intake. Meanwhile, shopping around, fitting a black box, and paying a one-off premium — similar ways to reduce the cost of your insurance.
But, when it comes to your MOT what should you do? Research has found that two out of five cars fail their MOT on the first attempt. Although an MOT test costs, at the most, £54.85, the bill can grow quicker than Pinocchio’s nose when the mechanic begins to recognise faults within a vehicle.
According to What Car? Magazine, the top reasons your vehicle may fail are as follows:
- Not having screen wash topped up
- The drivers view is impeded by something on the windscreen
- A light is out
- The plates don’t fit within the DVLA guidelines e.g. wrong font or wrong spacing
- The car is dirty on the inside or outside
These are all aspects which are unavoidable and, quite often, a quick fix. Here, we take a look at the various ways in which can help make your MOT test day a smooth experience and one which isn’t going to break the bank.
The checklist helping to keep you organised
Firstly, you should write yourself a checklist. There are so many different ways in which your car will be examined, you will simply forget to give each and every one, the once over.
If you’re not an expert, opening your bonnet can be a bit like opening a can of worms. However, it’s pretty simple. Top up your oil so that it sits between the minimum and the maximum marker. Following this, top up your washer fluid bottle, your fuel tank, and your anti-freeze. It’s cheaper to do it yourself than paying a mechanic to do it for you!
Okay, so you may not fail for a dirty car, but is it worth risking it? Declutter your car of any food wrappers, water bottles, and generally anything that doesn’t need to be there. Following this, give it a hoover, before power washing it on the outside and on the underneath of the vehicle. What will take you an hour in cleaning will save you a re-test and a major inconvenience.
Check all your lights, such as hazards, headlights (dipped and full beam), indicators, and brake lights. For the latter of the list we advise getting someone to help you, as you’ll not be able to them yourself. If any of the bulbs have blown, visit your nearest reputable vehicle dealership or parts store and you’ll be able to purchase a new one.
It’s well known that your tyres are very important in terms of safety — they are the only part of your vehicle in continual contact with the road. Therefore, checking of your tyres will be particularly stringent during an MOT test. In advance, check your tread is more than 1.6mm. You can do this with a tyre tread depth indicator or a 20p coin. Likewise, check the tyre for any bulges, cuts, or splits, alongside checking your tyre pressure is correct and it aligns with that of the manufacturer’s guidelines.
If your windscreen has damages larger than 10mm and it’s impeding the driver’s line of sight, this will be considered a fail. So too will a 40mm damage on any part of the windscreen. Remember to remove any air fresheners or parking permits which could be considered to obstruct vision.
As of 2012 the MOT test has included lit-up warning lights as part of its procedure. If there are any dashboard lights appearing on your car, find out what they mean and get them resolved prior to your test.
Your MOT could end up being an unnecessary expense if you’re not careful. However, following these simple steps, collated by VW service specialists, Vindis, you can make sure you don’t succumb to hefty charges on the day!