Handy tips on passing an MOT

If I’d spent as much time worrying about exams as getting bangers through their MOT then today I would be a brain surgeon.
The MOT test is as scary as taking A-levels – if your car fails it almost always results in a nasty bill.
And in the days when cars started rusting as they left the showroom it often meant the motor’s next journey was to the crusher.
Cars are much better made today and very reliable but, even so, an enormous number still fail their annual MOT.
A BBC journalist, a tenacious fellow by the name of Martin Rosenbaum, has gone through the freedom of information act and forced VOSA (the Government agency which oversees the test) to publish details on which cars pass, which fail and why.
Probably the most interesting statistics are those for cars which are going for their first-ever MOT test and are therefore exactly three years old. The French makers don’t come out well. A shocking 24.7% of Peugeot 307s failed their first MOT test and Renault’s Megane is even worse. Sacre bleu.
But hold on a minute. Imagine that you bought a brand new Rolls-Royce Phantom, a fairly well knocked together motor as I’m sure most of us would agree.
Then you smoked it around for three years covering a large mileage without ever once checking (or asking Jeeves to) the tyres, brakes or any other component, or ever having the car serviced. I’m fairly sure it would fail its MOT test.
The statistics might be telling us that people who own Meganes don’t look after them. Or perhaps that Meganes are so good to drive and economical that people do large mileages in them so that, of course, problems are likely to be found when a lamp is shone under their bottoms or bonnets.
What is a cast-iron fact is that it’s a right pain when your car fails its MOT and even more so if a bit of forethought and fettling could have prevented it.
So roll up your sleeves and follow some Hammond Handy Hints for getting your car through the dreaded MOT test…

Not only must you have a minimum of 1.6mm of tread across 75% of the centre of the tread but your tyres must be free from splits or cracks.
To help you judge tread depth, most tyres have a band of raised rubber running across the tyre called the depth gauge. When the tread is level with this bar the tyre needs replacing.
Incidentally, the spare tyre is not a part of the MOT test.
Rubber brake hoses
While you’re grubbing around looking at driveshaft boots, have a look at the flexible rubber brake hoses – any splits will be a fail.
Driveshaft boots
Sorry, you’re going to have to get on your hands and knees for this…
The driveshaft boots are flexible rubber covers that go over the driveshaft joints and keep water and muck away from them. They often split and that will mean an MOT fail.
Headlamps and other lights
Check for non-working bulbs and cracked lenses. The MOT tester will also check headlamp alignment – tricky without the right equipment though you can shine them against a wall to get a rough idea.
Number plates
A right nuisance if your car fails on a loose or cracked number plate.
Look for missing mounts because the car will fail if the exhaust is jiggling about. And if it’s leaking or excessively loud that’s a no-no, too.
Windscreen wipers
Here’s a common failure: cracked or split wiper blades. Your car will fail on this, so run your finger along the blade and check that it’s not coming to bits. Now check that the washers work. If one is blocked try unblocking it with a pin. Filling the washer bottle will help, too.
There must be no cracks or chips in your line of sight – a 290mm wide band directly in front of you and above the steering wheel.
You are allowed a crack or chip no bigger than 40mm if it’s out of your line of sight.

source: mirror.co.uk