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MOT Checks

Updated on July 2, 2012

Mot Test Check

For most people in Europe having an Mot test is part and parcel of owning a vehicle, For those of you that are unsure of what it is, then let me explain. Mot stands for Ministry of transport and for everyone in Europe you must have this test once a year after the vehicle reaches three years of age or more. The test is designed to find any items on the vehicle that would make it unroadworthy and therefore a danger to other road users and or pedestrians.

Special technicians known as mot testers or nominated testers are permitted to test your car and look for any defects. What is strange though is that hardly any of the vehicle owners or Presenters as they are known in the trade actually know what is checked on the mot and how it is done. This Hub is going to help all of you who have no clue about cars how to go about pre mot checks, this is certainly not going to cover everything a tester will look at but if you prepare yourself with a car mot check then at least you will be giving yourself and your vehicle a head-start.


Main Groups

To make it slightly easier for those without a mechanical background I will split the items that are tested into groups, this simplifies it and makes it easier to understand.

There are a number of groups that can lead to a mot fail and these are:

  • Steering
  • Suspension
  • Wheels and tyres
  • Lights
  • Seats and seat-belts
  • Body and general condition
  • Exhaust and emissions
  • Fuel
  • Brakes
  • Drivers view of the road

These are the main groups you will need to concentrate on. There are a few things to check in each group and of course there are items that you will not have the knowledge or skill to check yourself but don't worry, we are just trying to do the best we can with the skills you have.

Steering And Suspension

To be honest with you there is not a lot you can check and if you do find a fault you will not be able to fix it yourself so it might be easier to wait until the mot, The basic checks you are doing though is looking for severe corrosion to springs and also you can do a bounce check on each corner of the vehicle to make sure that the shock absorbers are not too worn. With steering make sure there is no play or movement in the steering wheel apart from the normal movement. Steering which has height adjustment will have a little movement so don't panic.

Other than that, this is a more sophisticated area for the tester to look at. Fingers crossed.

Wheels, Tyres And Lights

Now these are easy to check and can save you getting an mot fail. With wheels you are looking for any kinks in the wheel that means it wobbles when spun, cracks are also a fail and they must also all be the same size, this applies to tyres too, Across the axle the tyres must be the same size and the right rotation if they are rotational tyres. Always fit the tyres in accordance to sidewall instructions.

With your lights you must check all the lights apart from Front fog lights and your reverse lights as these do not come into the test, Also you must check all lights on your dash, the abs and engine diagnostic light should not be showing permanently. Thats wheels, tyres and lights covered and you have saved yourself any embarassment for missing a number plate light that is out.!!

Seatbelts And General Body Condition

Seatbelts are very important as they are potential life savers, these must be pulled tight the full length of their travel to make sure they work and should be checked for any cuts or tears in the webbing. They should be plugged into the stalk and then under pressure released as they need to work if your trapped upside down. With body condition your a bit stuck because you cant get underneath but things to look out for are rust on the sills near the doors, if you can get the rust to depress with your thumb pressure then its likely to be holed and you will need to have the body welded. Also check for loose bumpers and any parts of the body that could be dangerous to pedestrians because of them sticking out etc.

Exhausts, Emmisions And Fuel

There is little you can do with your exhaust without a ramp I'm afraid but you can listen to see if it sounds louder than normal which would signify it is breaking up inside or has a hole, you can also give the tailpipe a shake and see that it is secure. Emissions are also beyond your control to a certain degree as the tester will use a machine to test these and the limits are getting tougher each year. If you regularly have the vehicle serviced then this goes along way to keeping the emissions down.

Fuel again is a tough one, You can check under the bonnet for any fuel leaks which should be quite visible and you should get a strong smell accompanying it. Other than that I'm afraid without access to the underneath of your vehicle, these items are n the hands of the tester.

Brakes And Drivers View Of The Road

Again the Tester will use a machine to test your brakes but a visual check is also carried out. Remember the tester cannot remove anything from the vehicle such as wheels etc so the visual inspection is made through the wheels, If you cant see the brakes properly then chances are the tester cannot either. Check to see what condition the brake discs are in and if the brake pads are not too thin. If you have drum brakes then you cannot check for much as you cannot remove them.

Drivers view of the road is easy, check for cracks or chips anywhere within the swept area of the windscreen, IE where the windscreen wipers have left a clearing that is where you check. Look for any stickers, satellite navigation units, car tax or anything Else that is more than 40mm into this area, Make sure you have two working mirrors, At least one of them must be the Offside mirror ( drivers side).

Check Complete

That's it for the mot test check guys and gals. It should only take around an hour for you to check these items and a good deal of them can be fixed by you before you receive an mot fail, Remember to also check mot due date, as going past the date will render your vehicle not legal. The mot checks are easy to perform and you wont get too dirty when doing the. So good luck with the mot test and lets hope you receive a pass.

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