What is an MOT?
An MOT is an assessment that tests the roadworthiness of your vehicle. In other words, it determines if you vehicle is safe to drive on the road.
All UK vehicles aged three years or older are required to pass an annual MOT, a process put in place by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. You can check the MOT status of your vehicle online which includes MOT history and when your next test is due.
How To Arrange An MOT
It is easy to arrange your MOT, although you will need to do this well in advance of your pass expiry date. The most straightforward way is to book your MOT online at a local test centre, or alternatively, you could ring your local garage and make an appointment.
Make sure to choose an approved MOT center that carries the blue sign with three white triangles.
Why Could I Fail My MOT?
If you get your vehicle serviced regularly, it is likely that you will pass your MOT. However, as the car ages there is more chance of significant wear and tear in between your safety checks which might lead to a failure. Here are the most common reasons for MOT failure:
Nearly 20% of MOT failures is due to faulty lights. Before you take your car to the garage, check your headlines and brake lights to make sure that everything is working as it should.
You may find it useful to ask a friend or family member to help with this. Ask them to walk round the car and watch the lights as you apply the brakes and switch through the headlight options.
Tires are exceptionally important for vehicle safety as this is the part of the car that grips the road. If your tires become shiny and lose their tread, you could easily lose control of the car – especially in wet weather or icy conditions.
You should check your tread depth regularly throughout the year, not just before your MOT. This can be done using a 20p coin: when inserted into the grooves, the outer band should be hidden. If not, your tires do not meet the minimum 1.6mm tread depth and you risk a fine or penalty points on your license as well as MOT failure.
Being able to control your speed and stop quickly in an emergency is obviously vital to safe driving on the road. Testing your brakes is therefore a key component of an MOT test.
One in ten cars fail their MOT due to brake problems. Warning sounds include squealing or grinding sounds when you apply the brakes, and the car pulling to one side as you stop. You should also test your handbrake on a hill to make sure that it is capable of securing your car.
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