Is Your Car MOT Ready?

Tuesday, 02 April 2013

According to the latest figures released by Halfords, MOT failure rates have increased significantly over the past two years, with a surprising 2 in 5 cars failing to meet standards, and being deemed not roadworthy. Halfords has put this down to a lack of basic maintenance on the part of drivers and a widespread 'hope for the best' attitude when it comes to MOTs.

This year, MOTs will become stricter than ever, however, due to revised guidelines courtesy of the EU. The updated test includes more thorough checks on brakes, steering, suspension and lights, along with new tests on dashboard-based technology such as malfunction indicators.

Failing to properly maintain your car could affect your car insurance and render it invalid in the event of a claim. So, before you put your car in for its annual test, it's a good idea to check the following things yourself to improve your chances of passing.

Lights: Make sure all the lights and indicators are working. You can check this yourself by parking in front of a reflective surface, or ask a friend to have a look while you switch your lights on and off.

Wipers: Check that these work properly - if they leave streaks on the windscreen, they may be in need of a thorough clean or replacement. It’s easy to fit new windscreen wipers yourself, and you can pick them up relatively cheaply.

Seat belts: Part of the MOT test involves making sure that belts catch and release properly. So, test all of the belts in your car, even if you rarely use the back seat. It's also a good idea to leave them plugged in - this will show the mechanic that you have a little bit of knowledge about the test itself.

Tyres: It's wise to buy a tyre gauge to make sure that your tread hasn’t worn below the minimum of 1.6mm. As well as being illegal, having a shallow tread is also dangerous, as it impairs your ability to brake. If the tread on your tyres has worn down, it's likely that they will need to be replaced.

Windscreen: Check for any chips or cracks - chips in your windscreen are relatively easy to repair, and are covered under Swiftcover Comprehensive car insurance.

Oil levels: Before putting your car in for its MOT, it's advisable to check that your oil levels are sufficient, as well as taking a look at the colour of the oil itself - it should ideally be amber in colour, so if looks black and dirty, this is a good indicator that it needs changing.

If in doubt, you may want to get a pre-test by booking your car in for a check-up a month before your MOT. The garage will inform you of everything that you need to fix prior to the test, so you won’t need to go through the hassle of failure.

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