The MOT test checklist
The dreaded annual MOT might feel like an inconvenience but they’re actually really important. Your MOT test, or Ministry of Transport test, is designed to help keep you and other road users safe. This is done by checking vehicle safety, roadworthiness and exhaust emissions of vehicles that are more than 4 years old.
We’ve compiled a checklist of things you should test prior to your next test.
Ensuring your engine is cool and on a flat surface, check your brake fluid is between the minimum and maximum lines indicated on the side of the container. It should be a clear or amber colour. You can purchase brake fluid from most garages however ensure you get the right stuff for your make and model.
You are required to have functional mirrors to pass your test. These are the driver’s side wing mirror and your rear view mirror however this depends on the vehicle and sometimes a passenger side mirror is required too. In some newer vehicles cameras are permitted instead of mirrors.
Your tyres tread and air pressure will be checked during the test. We have a dedicated blog post on keeping your tyres healthy and you can read it here.
You are required to have a functional horn to notify other road users of your presence. It’s easy to test – just give it a hoot.
As with the checking of brake fluid, ensure the engine is cool and on a flat surface. Locate the dipstick and remove it before wiping it clean. Re-insert it and remove it once more. The oil should be between the minimum and maximum marking on the dipstick. If you need a top-up you’ll need to purchase some. Remember to double check which kind you need for your make and model by referring to your car’s manual.
Your front and rear lights, including brake lights are a necessity to remain a safe road user. We compiled some tips on maintaining safe and legal headlights in a blog post that you can read here.
Hopefully you haven’t been driving around with a warning light visible but if you have you may want to consult your vehicle’s user manual immediately. If a warning light displays during your MOT test you will fail immediately and they won’t identify if the light was caused by a real problem.
Whilst it won’t literally score you bonus points on a MOT test, MOT mechanics do appreciate it if you give the underside of your car a hose prior to the test. Small courtesies like this show the tester that you’re a responsible and courteous road user.
Although the MOT test is only once a year it really pays to do these checks periodically throughout the year in order to keep on top of things. Not only will this spread out cost of repairs, but it’ll help keep both you and other road users safe on your journeys.
If you have any doubts whatsoever about your vehicle's ability to pass the MOT test you should consider having it serviced by a professional. This will prevent spending time and money on a retest if it does fail. The service history will also help maintain the vehicle's value in case you decide to sell it later.
You can learn more about MOT tests in Northern Ireland here.
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