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MOT checklist: what to look out for

If the MOT is an annual hurdle dreaded by most drivers, it needn’t be. With some simple preparation it’s possible to apply some basic checks to ensure your car won’t fail for something as seemingly insignificant as a bulb that needed replacing. And nothing on this MOT checklist actually requires the use of tools.

MOT checklist: some basic precautions

The fact that faulty bulbs account for just under one-fifth of all MOT failures is an obvious starting point. Ideally, get a friend to help pinpoint whether all your bulbs are lighting properly, fore and aft, as you drive by. Remember to test your brake and reverse lights, as well as headlights, sidelights, indicators and hazard lights.

Any MOT checklist should include checking your tyres to ensure the front and rear are the same size. The minimum legal tread depth is 1.6mm around the tyre. Look out for damage, such as splits or bulges in the sidewalls.

Your windscreen must be free of chips and the wiper blades able to clear the screen across their entire length. Lift the blades to rule out splits or perishing in the rubber.

Prior to taking your car for its MOT, ensure the screen wash is topped up. If a nozzle is blocked, a pin can clear the obstruction.

The vehicle’s fuel cap must be firmly screwed into place, and the inside seal free of splits. Underneath your car, the exhaust needs to be securely held in place. If you ever notice it sounding suddenly louder, this usually indicates a hole.

Give your horn a quick blast, as one that fails to make a noise will fail the MOT.

MOT checklist: emissions

The best way to ensure sailing through the MOT is to arrange a service prior to the test. Another aspect to add to your MOT checklist is an emissions test. If your car has only been on a series of short journeys lately, embark on a motorway jaunt to experience a higher engine speed to clear out sooty engine deposits.

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