For all car owners, getting your annual MOT is a normal, if slightly worrying, part of looking after your vehicle - but how many of us have actually considered what an MOT is and why we need one?
An MOT applies to all vehicles over three years old and is designed to ensure your vehicle is roadworthy and meets road safety and environmental standards. You need to put your car through a MOT each year before the renewal date is up. If you drive your car without a valid MOT certificate and aren’t on the way to get it repaired or a pre-arranged test, you could face a fine of up to £1,000.
What happens during an MOT?
During the MOT, which typically takes 45-60 minutes, the mechanic will check and test important parts of your car, such as its tyres, brakes, emission levels and bodywork, to make sure they meet the legal safety standards. You will either receive a pass, which means you don’t need to do anything else until the following year, or a fail. If your car fails, your mechanic will present you with a list of the reasons why it failed which will be categorised by dangerous, major and minor problems. You can drive your vehicle away if your old MOT hasn’t expired and if there are no dangerous items listed. If you drive your car when a dangerous problem has been identified, you can be fined up to £2,500 and be banned from driving. Once your car has failed, you'll need to fix any problems and have your car re-tested before being issued with a valid certificate.
Helping your car through the MOT
According to statistics, almost 2 out of 5 cars fail their MOT first time and this is often due to minor faults that could have been sorted beforehand. When you take your car in for its MOT, make sure you:
• Top up your screen wash • Clear your car of all rubbish and clutter • Clean the outside of your car and make sure to wipe all mirrors • Make sure parking stickers and permits are removed from the windscreen • Check all lights are working including headlights, full beams, indicators and brake lights