With 246,500 miles worth of road stretching up and down the British Isles, it cannot be denied that the UK is built for drivers. However, whilst owning a vehicle can be a real benefit to your day to day life, it’s important to remember that it is your responsibility to keep it roadworthy. Aside from taking care when on the road, there are two tests that all drivers will need to regularly carry out when owning a vehicle; a service and an MOT.
Out of the two, the legally required MOT is an important test that all registered vehicles must take in order to maintain a safe environment for drivers on the road. However, for new and old drivers alike, the dreaded MOT strikes fear.
Although it can seem daunting taking your car in for an MOT, with the right preparation and understanding of the test, you can ensure your vehicle remains roadworthy. With this in mind, read on to discover what the MOT entails and what you are legally required to do as a registered vehicle operator.
First introduced in 1960, the Ministry of Transport test (MOT) was originally brought into place to carry out basic test on the brakes, lights and steering of a vehicle. These days the test is much more in-depth and is carried out on all UK registered vehicles after three years and then every year after this point.
When your vehicle is in need of its MOT, it becomes illegal to drive it on the road; if you are found to be driving without a valid MOT certificate, you could be fined up to £1000. As there is no grace period when it comes to getting your vehicle MOT tested, it is important to take it to your local MOT tester before your certification expires.
MOT tests are broken down into eight different classifications depending on the vehicle you drive. This covers everything from motorbikes all the way up to HGVs. Depending on whether you pass or fail your MOT, you will receive a certificate allowing you to legally park and drive your vehicle on UK roads. If not, you will need to invest in repairs to bring your vehicle up to legal standards.
Whilst there are some things that cannot be sorted without the help of a trained professional, there are a range of checks and maintenance tips you can carry out to ensure your vehicle is as ready as possible.
Start by checking your car’s lights are all working as they should; this should include your headlights, indicators, brake lights and sidelights. Once they have been thoroughly inspected, check your vehicle’s tyre pressure (the correct psi will be noted in your owner’s handbook) and make sure there isn’t any unreasonable tread wear.
Checking your vehicle’s oil levels is also a good idea and something that’s easy to do yourself. Simply remove the dipstick from the engine and give it a wipe. Put it back into the engine and pull it out again; the oil level should be between the minimum and maximum markers. Also, consider filling up your water levels.
Finally, spend time testing your brakes. If it feels as though your car is pulling to one side any time you apply the brakes, this is something you should look to sort before your MOT.
So, you’re MOT is coming up and you’ve carried out all of the necessary pre-checks, but what does an MOT actually cover? Taking around 45 minutes to carry out, a car MOT is by no means an exhaustive inspection of your vehicle. However, a mechanic will carry out an in-depth check on the various components that regard a vehicle’s general safety when on the road.
Your brakes are arguably the most vital safety component in your car, which is why they must be in good condition in order to pass. This is usually done by testing the vehicle on rollers to see if it’s correctly balanced when decelerated. The handbrake will also be checked in order to ensure the vehicle can remain parked on an incline.
The condition of your brake pads, calipers and discs will also be examined to check for any significant faults.
Worn wheels can create a significant hazard both to you as the driver and other people on the road. The minimum tread a vehicle must have is 1.6mm and remain as a continuous band around the circumference of the wheel. A mechanic will also check for missing bolts and damage to the rims.
To pass your MOT, all lamps on the vehicle need to be working properly and the alignment of the headlights will also be examined and adjusted if necessary. It should be noted, however, that cars built before 1986 will not be tested on rear fog lights.
A steering fault is both difficult to define and fix without the proper training. A tester will carry out the necessary checks on the steering wheel and column to ensure that there isn’t any excessive free play.
Aside from the above, there are a host of other checks that an MOT tester will carry out. From the exhaust and emissions to the seats and seatbelts, no stone is left unturned to ensure your vehicle is safe on the road.
The importance of regular servicing
Whilst servicing is not a legal requirement, taking your car to a trained mechanic on a regular basis will maximise your chances of passing your MOT. Although there are, of course, some checks you can carry out yourself, it’s important to remember that any vehicle is a complex piece of machinery that requires a professional engineer to carry out in-depth checks.
If your vehicle is suffering from a complicated issue that could affect your chances of failing your MOT, a service will be able to diagnose and fix it, saving you money on potentially costly repairs later down the line.
Also, it’s important to remember that an MOT doesn’t cover everything, meaning components such as your engine, clutch and gearbox will go untouched. A service mechanic, however, will incorporate every component into their more in-depth offers, meaning you can be safe in the knowledge that your vehicle has been inspected thoroughly.
Although an MOT is a legal requirement for all UK drivers, by working with a quality garage you’ll never have to worry about it again. Here at Adderley Green Garage, our team of experienced team of mechanics are on hand to offer a range of comprehensive auto repair services to customers throughout Stoke-on-Trent.
Whether you’re in need of a top-quality service for your vehicle or require an MOT from a garage you can trust, Adderley Green is here to help with gold-standard solutions at a fair price. We also have a range of other auto services from used car sales to local breakdown recovery, making us Stoke’s one-stop-shop for your vehicular needs.
For more information on how Adderley Green Garage can help you, visit our website or get in touch with our team on 01782 312 510.