From the cheapest budget car to the most prestigious performance model, every vehicle in the UK is obliged to pass an annual MOT test once it is over three years old. Research by the RAC indicates that the MOT failure rate for cars is approximately 40%, and higher still for commercial vehicles. Drivers may be more surprised to hear that the reason a car is not deemed roadworthy is usually a minor and easily resolved fault, rather than a major mechanical flaw.

Such common problems as a dead headlamp bulbs, split windscreen wiper blades or a hole in your exhaust can all result in an MOT failure – meaning that you will have to make another appointment, be without your vehicle for longer, and pay more to keep it on the road. Some simple car checks and small adjustments before your MOT, however, can keep your annual test as quick and painless as possible.

The skilled technicians at Jardine dealerships are usually able to complete your MOT test in an hour or less. If your car should still happen to fail its test, we will provide you with the requisite detailed record of why it did so – along with other, less serious items of damage or wear and tear that may become an issue at a later date. Contact your nearest Jardine Motors Group dealership to book your vehicle in for an MOT.

How to Prepare for your MOT

Don't book too late

You can make an appointment for an MOT test up to a month before your existing certificate runs out. Booking too late may cause an interlude where your car does not have a valid MOT certificate, so it is best to contact your nearest garage. If your car does fail its test, then booking early also gives you the necessary time to have the issues that caused the failure resolved before your certificate runs out.​​

Examine your headlights

A dead bulb is a common cause of MOT test failure – careless drivers often take their car to the garage unaware that not all their lights are working. Not noticing that a numberplate light has gone out is a frequent mistake, so make sure to note their condition as well as that of your headlights, sidelights, indicators, and brake lights. If one of your lights is defunct, details on the right bulb to replace it can be found in your vehicle's manual; the items themselves will almost certainly be available from local retailers.​​

Inspect the bodywork

Widespread corrosion, damage, or dangerous sharp edges are all potential causes of test failure. Front and rear doors, bonnet and boot must also open and close satisfactorily – all things that you can easily check for yourself.​​

Check the mirrors

To be sure of passing your MOT, main or wing mirrors need to be intact and secure, with no cracks on the glass. Impromptu repairs with string or duct tape are not a lasting solution if one of your mirrors has been damaged.​

Check your windscreen (and wiper blades)

MOT rules state that cars can fail their test if chips, cracks and scratches in the driver's field of vision are judged to hamper visibility. Marks over 10mm wide in your direct line of sight, or over 40mm wide in the area covered by the wiper blades, result in failure. Also ensure that the rubber of your wiper blades has not become split or perished.​​

Scrutinise the wheels and tyres

The legal minimum tread depth of your tyres is 1.6mm or more over 75% of the tyre's area (although their performance starts to decline significantly when tread depth is around 3mm or below). A depth measuring gauge is an inexpensive and accurate way to assess the condition of your tyres. It is also wise to inspect the surface of your tyres for notable splits, bulges, or cuts.​​

Examine the exhaust

An inadequately secured exhaust, or one with a hole in it (aside from the obvious one) can hurt your chances of passing the MOT. Listen carefully for any unusual rasping or echoing sounds when you press the accelerator (while parked). A clunking sound when you encounter a bump could signify that the mountings of your exhaust are becoming worn.​

Go for a drive on the motorway (if you don't very often)

If you only drive infrequently, or only use your car for low-speed town journeys, there is a possibility that sooty deposits may have built up in the engine mechanism, skewing the results recorded for vehicle emissions. To avoid any chance of this happening, take your vehicle for a short drive at motorway speeds to clear out any deposits.​​

Test the horn

Use of the horn should be restricted to alerting other road users to your presence (when approaching a blind bend on a country road, for example), rather than as an outlet for aggression. Although not used very often, the horn is very important in ensuring safety, and one that does not meet requirements will result in an automatic MOT failure. It is therefore best to check that your horn is working properly before taking your car in for its test.

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