There’s a time of year that many motorists dread, dropping your car off at the garage for its MOT and waiting nervously for the call that tells you whether your car has passed, failed, or how much it’s going to cost to put it right.
We rely on our cars for so much and keeping them on the road can be expensive. That said there are some checks you can carry out on your car before your MOT, which can help you to avoid failures or at least brace yourself for some parts of your repair bill. Being prepared for your MOT can help you avoid any nasty surprises and even save money.
#01 | Brakes
It’s worth giving your brakes a quick check. A major part of your MOT is checking them for any wear, tear, and warping. Aside from that quick visual check, it’s worth checking your brakes to see if they stick or feel spongy; the same with your handbrake.
You need to check your brakes periodically. It’s important that you’re confident in them, any problems with your brakes need to be taken care of quickly. There’s no point waiting until your MOT.
#02 | Fluid levels
There are simple things that you should check on your car periodically. Oil level, washer fluid, antifreeze, etc.
These all help keep your car working at its best and help protect your car from potentially getting damaged. Running a car without them can also be an MOT fail, something a lot of people don’t realise and ultimately get caught out by. Something as simple as filling up your windscreen washer bottle can save you money in the long run.
These are all simple things to put right on a car, often just topping up the various reservoirs around your engine (make sure you put the right thing in the right one though). Checking them before the weather gets cold or before a long journey is a really useful habit to get into.
#03 | Tyres
Much like the fluids in your car, having a quick look at your tyres should be something you check often. Look out for any lumps, bumps or worn patches on the tyre, then to check the tread depth pull out the most useful of automotive tools, a 20p coin.
The rim around the edge of a regular 20p coin should fit inside the tread on your car tyre. If you can see a lot of that edge when you check your tyre, it’s a good sign that the tread is worn to a point where it needs replacing.
If you need tyres, they generally tend to be cheaper when ordered in deals or from specialist retailers. Checking in advance and sorting your tyres early could be much cheaper than getting hit with a larger bill from the garage.
#04 | Seatbelts
One of the first lines of defence for a driver in an accident, your seatbelts need to be in proper working order. There are a couple of things you should look for:
- Check whether they are worn and damaged
- Give your seatbelts a firm tug. You need to see if they retract and move freely
- Check your seatbelts fasten securely
#05 | Windscreen and wipers
Chips and scratches in a windscreen can make your car fail its MOT. Keep an eye on your windscreen wipers. The blades (the part in contact with your windscreen) need to be in a good condition, if they aren’t they stop being able to clear your windscreen properly and can scratch your windscreen.
Wiper blades are one of the easier things to take care of on a car, with some stores like Halfords even offering a service where they will fit them for you.
#06 | Lights
There are many ways for drivers to communicate while they’re on the road. There are hand signals (they aren’t necessarily recommended) and then the signals and indicators built into a car.
That’s why it’s worth checking they work, either before a big trip, your MOT or even as the weather starts to get darker because of how reliant on lights they are.
To check them you’ll need a friend.
Have someone walk around your car while you check all your lights and indicators are working. Make a note of any that aren’t. On some car models, it’s easy to change the bulb in a light, in others, you might need help.
The benefit of checking early
Checking these key areas on your car can help you save money when MOT time rolls around.
Ignoring all these different checks on your car means that the cost of putting them all right gets added to your repair bill. Instead of one large bill, the cost of these simple checks could be spread out further and keep your car in better working order.
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