Any car that is over three years of age will require an annual MOT test to make sure the vehicle is roadworthy. If for any reason the car fails this test, you need to conduct the necessary repairs so that it matches up to these standards. Many of the checks are basic, so even when you do not know a lot about cars, you can still conduct your own pre-Mot check in order to lower the chances of your car failing. For anything more than basic, the garage services Reading which are carrying out your test will be able to advise and make repairs. General Turn on your ignition and ensure: • The horn works. • Your windscreen wipers and washers are working. • Your screen-wash has been topped up. • The rubber on your windscreen wiper blades is intact and not loose. If they are missing pieces or they are loose, you can source a replacement from most of the motor retailers. They are also easy to fit. • Your seat belts must be in good working order and they cannot be cut or frayed. • The mountings need to be secured, while the belts need to disengage and engage correctly. • When you pull the belt sharply your inertia-reel needs to lock. Tyres Walk all the way around your car and examine all your tyres, make sure: • There are no cuts or any bulges along the sidewalls. Also, check for any objects which may be lodged into the tread. • The tread needs to be a minimum of 1.6 mm deep. You can either use a 20-pence piece or a tread depth gauge. If you are using a coin, put it inside the groove and run it around your tyre. If the rim of the coin is standing proud, you need to replace your tyre. • Make sure that each of your tyres matches up to the opposite on the axle when it comes to construction and size type. • Your spare tyre needs to be road-legal. Lights Lighting is a common cause for MOT failure, make sure: • All the exterior bulbs work. • The lens on each light is free from damage or cracks. • Check that your headlights, which include the main beam, dipped, rear and front sidelights, the reverse lights, stop lights, rear and front fog lights, your indicators, and the number plate light are all working. Bodywork You need to make sure that the outside of your car is free from sharp edges which could injure pedestrians. The bumper needs to be secure, and you should be able to access your car from any door as well as open the doors from both the outside and inside of your car. Brakes Even though it is not possible to check on your brakes accurately if you do not have the right equipment, here are a few things you are still able to do: • Look under your bonnet to ensure the fluid levels inside the reservoir for your brake system is between the minimum and maximum indicators. If you are not sure where the reservoir is located refer to your manual. • Pull up the handbrake. If you need to pull up your lever very far through a number of clicks, let the tester know that the cable needs adjusting. • At the same time, if the lever releases with a slight tap, it will usually require tightening. Steering Similar to your brakes it is not easy to check on your steering without the right equipment: • The steering wheel on a car should usually be relatively tight on its column. If there are unusual movements when turning or it feels loose, the support of the column may have worn down. • Listen for any knocking sounds when you turn your steering wheel all the way to the right and then all the way to the left. In addition, if you hear an excessive whining coming from the power-steering pump, this is usually an indication of worn components. Shock Absorbers Your dampers or shock absorbers cannot have any differences or leaks when it comes to absorbing pressure. You can get an idea of whether the shock absorbers have become faulty by bouncing on each corner of your car. The car should be going downwards when placed under pressure, followed by rising back up to its full height, before it settles down slightly. Bouncing that is excessive is an indication of worn-out or faulty dampers. Mirrors and Windscreen Small chips caused by stones doesn’t mean your car will instantly fail but: • The areas that the wipers sweep over should be free from chips and cracks. • Any damages outside of these areas cannot exceed 10mm in diameter. • The mirrors need to be attached securely, while the glass should be clean and in a good condition. Exhaust Your exhaust needs to be corrosion-free and secured. Rev your engine while your car is stationary. With the doors open and parking brake on, listen for any unusual noises or rattles which might be a sign that it may need replacing soon. If there is any smoke present, your vehicle might fail when it comes to the emissions portion of the test.