Complete MOT Guide
An overview of an MOT
An MOT is a test carried out on a vehicle which ensures that the vehicle has passed the bare minimum safety tests and is fit to operate on the roads. As well as checking your safety in the vehicle, an MOT will also make sure that your car is safe enough to operate and does not pose a danger to other motorists.
A test is carried out by authorised examiners, usually at a garage or a local authority to check on the safety of your vehicle, with the staff who carry out your MOT being exceptionally well-trained individuals who are held accountable to VOSA standards.
Getting an MOT. What is checked?
As well as performing the most basic safety checks on your vehicle, an MOT will check the following features on your car to make sure they are safe.
- Registration Plate
- Fuel System
- VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)
- Wipers and Washers
- Exhaust System
- Exhaust Emissions
- Suspension and Steering
- Vehicle Structure
- Tyres and Wheels
While your MOT is a legal requirement, your vehicle passing an MOT should not be considered as a guarantee of the vehicles general mechanical condition.
MOT and Service Pricing
While an MOT is essential to the legality of your vehicle, at Strathclyde Tyres, we offer MOTs for an exceptionally low cost. Our standard MOT test costs as little as Â£54.85, with any additional costs being billed for separately. It is important to note that you cannot drive your vehicle if it has not had an MOT when it is due, however, when you consider the fact that an MOT will ensure your safety in a vehicle, it could be one of the best Â£54.85 you ever spend.
At Strathclyde Tyres, we have over 25 years experience in dealing with vehicles and carrying out MOTs, our team of experts can offer you an MOT at an exceptionally reasonable price. We pride ourselves on our low-cost approach while remaining local to our customers. If you require advice regarding an MOT, contact our team today.
When Does a Car Need an MOT?
If you have purchased a brand new car which has had no prior use on the road, then you will need to get an MOT three years after the date of registration. You must get an MOT for your vehicle by either the third anniversary of its registration or the anniversary of its last MOT if itâs over three years old. For example, if your vehicle was registered on the 1 November 2014 then you must get an MOT no later than November 2017.
If you are unsure of when your vehicle was registered, you can normally tell by the first letter of your registration plate. Furthermore, details should be included when you purchase the car.
What do I need to take with me to an MOT?
When taking your vehicle in for an MOT, you should take certain documents especially if your vehicle is undergoing its first MOT. If it is your first MOT with the vehicle, then you will need to bring your log book (a V5C vehicle registration certificate) is required. Such a document will also need to be provided if your vehicle has had a change of registration plate since its last MOT.
Although it is not compulsory, if your vehicle has had an MOT in the last year, it is also good practice to take your certificate from the previous test. As well as this, please provide basic details of your vehicle such as the registration number.
Your MOT will check aspects of your vehicle such as fuel caps and possibly wheels; thus, it is important that you have any relevant keys to open caps or to remove items if needed.
What Should I do if my car fails an MOT?
If your car fails to pass its MOT, then it is deemed unworthy to use on the roads as it could be a danger not only to yourself but to others. If it is deemed unroadworthy, then you will need to have the necessary repairs carried out before you can once again legally use your car on the road. Furthermore, before using your car once the repairs have been carried out, your vehicle must also pass another MOT before it can be deemed roadworthy. At Strathclyde Tyres, we will inform you of the reasons you failed your MOT and also offer to repair any of the parts upfront on the same day.
If you fail your MOT and wish to appeal against the decision, then you should ask for a VT17 form at the test centre. As part of a successful appeal, you'll receive all or part of your test fee back, however, you should not have any car repairs carried out in the meantime it may affect the outcome of your appeal.
If you had your initial MOT with Strathclyde Tyres, then you will be offered another MOT at a discounted rate. Subject to VOSA conditions a Â£20 retest will apply if vehicles are removed from any of our Strathclyde Tyres premises for repair.
The MOT Test
An MOT tests the most important aspects of your vehicle and makes sure that your car is fit and proper for the road to make sure it is suitable and safe to drive. While an MOT covers many different aspects of your vehicle, it does not cover the condition of the engine, clutch of the gearbox.
However, an MOT will give an extensive test to the majority of parts of your vehicle.
Body and Structure
The body and structure of your vehicle will be checked to make sure that they are free excessive corrosion or damage in specific areas and that there is no sharp object in the metal work or body of the vehicle which could cause injury.
Towbars will be monitored to ensure that they are in good condition, are still secure and there are no questionable repairs or modifications that may cause damage. As well as checking the towbar, at Strathclyde Tyres, our team will also check that the 13 pins electrical socket are working correctly,
the speedometer is in good working order and that the engine mountings are secure.
Throughout the MOT, your fuel system will be checked to make sure that there are no leaks in the fuel line, the parts of the system, such as the pipes and hose are in good working order and are secured and that the fuel caps fasten safely and securely. ,
Depending on the age of your vehicle, your car may be breaching exhaust emission rules, thus, during the MOT, it is likely that your vehicle will be checked.
It is important to note that you will not test your exhaust system if they believe that the tests carried out may damage your vehicle. If you believe that this may damage the exhaust, you should inform those carrying out the test beforehand.
As well as checking the emissions, an MOT will also check the exhaust system in place to check that it is fitted securely; there are no parts missing from your exhaust system and that the system in place is still relatively efficient.
As part of the numerous safety checks carried out throughout an MOT your seatbelts will be checked. The MOT will assess whether the mandatory seat belts are still in place and whether or not the seatbelts you have in your vehicle are appropriate. They will also be checked to make sure they are securely fastened and still work properly.
As well as checking the basic safety features of your seat belt, warning systems on your dashboard will be checked including
- air bags
- seatbelt pre-tensioners (which remove the slack from a seatbelt in the event of a collision)
- seatbelt load limiters
Seats will be checked to make sure that they can be adjusted and that they can still be fitted in the upfront position.
The doors of your vehicle will be checked to make sure that they are still in working order and that all doors open from both the inside and outside. Hinges and latches will also be checked to make sure they are still in good working condition.
Your vehicle will be inspected to check that it has the minimum required the number of mirrors and that they are in good condition. Indirect vision devices will also be inspected as part of your MOT.
Your brakes will be inspected to check:
- their condition, including inappropriate repairs or modifications
- their operation and performance
- the anti-lock braking system (ABS) and electronic stability control (ESC) if applicable
As well as checking the brake system, the warning systems will also be measured to check that the brake lights and the fluid warning lights still operate properly.
During your MOT, your tyres will be checked to inspect the condition of the tyres, the size and the type are correct, the tread depth and the security of the tyre. At Strathclyde Tyres, we specialise in tyres and if you do require new tyres, our team can inform you of your options and offer the best prices to replace your tyres.
It is important to note that during your MOT your spare tyre will not be checked for any of the above conditions.
Your registration plates will be checked for the following:
- whether they are securely attached
- characters correctly formed and spaced
Throughout your MOT, there will be constant checks on your lights to make sure they are in good, working condition. The headlamps will also be checked for cleaning, self-levelling and security with other brake lights and indicators tested. Headlamps will also be tested for aim and to make sure the main lights are in good condition.
Load Security and Bonnet
Your vehicle will be checked to make sure that the boot can be closed property, with a similar check carried out on the bonnet.
Wipers and Washers
These will be inspected to make sure that when driving, the driver has a clear view of the road and does not run the risk of being involved in an accident due to poor vision.
During an MOT, the windscreen will be checked for any chips and the general condition to make sure it is safe and that the driver has an appropriate view of the road.
The horn of your vehicle will be checked to make sure that it is in working order and that it is appropriate for your vehicle.
Steering and Suspension
Steering and suspension will be checked and reviewed to check their condition, the steering oil level, their level of operation, that the steering locking mechanism works correctly and that there are no inappropriate repairs that have damaged the steering or affected the suspension of your vehicle.
Any visible electrical wiring and the performance of your battery will be checked during your MOT.
To best prepare for your MOT you should ensure that the tyre pressure is correct and you should also test some of the other items listed that may be simple to do. This ensures that your vehicle is in the best possible condition for your MOT and may also mean that you are not in for any nasty surprises following an MOT.
A Guide to Brakes
Most modern day vehicles have brakes on all their wheels operated by a hydraulic system with the type of brakes varying from either disc or drum brakes.
The brakes at the front of your vehicle tend to have a greater impact on stopping a vehicle than the back brakes as when you brake; the weight of the car is pushed against the front wheels. Due to this, back brakes are usually made to be weaker than the front.
When it comes to choosing brakes, there are a number of important factors to consider when making the choice between discs or drums. Considerable heat is created during braking and for effective operation this heat has to be shared by all wheels equally. Studies have shown that disc brakes are more efficient and more capable than drum brakes as they are much less susceptible to overheating.
To reduce the amount of effort that drivers need to put into braking, many vehicles have power-assisted brakes which make it easier to slow down, once again operating on a hydraulic system.
While many people naturally associate braking as the pads near tyres, many forget about another key braking system in vehicles, and that is the handbrake.The handbrake gives limited braking if the hydraulic system fails completely, but its main purpose is as a parking brake. The handbrake lever pulls a cable or pair of cables linked to the brakes by a set of smaller levers to lock the tyres when stationary. Parking brakes can be difficult to operate; thus, it is vital that you test your brake if buying a new vehicle.Â
How do Brakes Wear Out?
Naturally, with continual use, brakes will eventually wear down. Brake pads or discs will eventually wear down. Corrosion may occur that can be managed, however, eventually the brake pads will need to be replaced. For safety reasons, vehicle manufacturers specify a minimum thickness for brake discs and when they reach this point, the discs must be replaced. It is vital that when replacing discs, it is done in pairs to ensure that your brakes age at the same time and operate at a similar level of functionality. Front brakes tend to wear quicker than back brakes. However, this is due to more heat and pressure applied.
Uneven heating can also be a major factor in the wearing of brakes with uneven heating and cooling causing the brake pads to change shape. This can be detected if your car judders back when braking, indicating that something is wrong regarding the shape of your pads. Sadly, the longer you have the discs, or the thinner your disc is, the more likely you are to suffer from some sort of distortion.
To try and prevent distortion, you should try and not hold the car back, especially when going downhill. By braking when going down a hill, you could further damage the pad and put more heat in to the discs. As well as applying the brakes less, you should also use a low gear when travelling downhill to make use of the engine braking rather than the braking discs.
How do Brakes Work?
While everyone knows that pushing down on the brake pedal makes the car stop, many people do not know exactly how brakes work. A hydraulic brake system operates by depressing a piston in the master cylinder, forcing fluid along the pipe which then travels to slave cylinders at each wheel and fills them, forcing pistons out to apply the brakes. The fluid pressure is then distributed evenly across the system.
This hydraulic brake system, which is exceptionally common in the vast majority of vehicles allows a greater force to be exerted by the brakes. This is similar to the way that long-handled lever can easily lift a heavy object a short distance.
Most modern cars are fitted with twin hydraulic circuits, with two master cylinders in tandem, in case one should fail. Often one circuit controls the front brakes and the other the back brakes.
The brakes transmit pressure to the tyres via friction which transmits the force to the tyres causing the vehicle to stop.
A disc brake involves a disc that turns with the wheel which is straddled by a calliper which has pistons attached. The pistons press on pads to slow down the vehicle. There is often more than a pair of pistons to improve overall braking. The pistons require a minimum amount of movement to apply braking pressure. The pistons slip forward gradually as the pads wear down so that the tiny gap remains constant and the brakes do not need adjustment, however, it is when these pads are worn out that drivers must be careful.
A drum brake has a hollow drum that turns the wheel with two curved backplates that carry friction linings that can be pushed against the wheel. When forced against the wheel by hydraulic the brake pads are pushed against the linings in the inside of the drum to slow the wheel down.The rotation of the drum tends to pull the leading brake back firmly against it when it makes contact, improving the braking effect.Some drums have twin leading pads, each with its own hydraulic cylinder.
One of the major issues with drum brakes is their efficiency following continual use. Drum brakes may fade if they are repeatedly applied within a short time and if they heat up, they can lose their performance ability until they cool down again. Discs, with a more open system, are much less prone to fading.
All cars have a handbrake acting, normally, on the two rear wheels with the main purpose of the break being for when parked, although it can technically be used to brake the vehicle. A handbrake utilises a pair of cables linked to the brakes by a set of smaller levers, pulleys and guides which can be different for each model of vehicle.
A ratchet on the handbrake lever keeps the brake on once it is applied while a simply push mechanism frees the lever.
Anti-Locking Brake System
An anti-locking brake system or ABS was designed to allow drivers to maintain some steering ability and avoid skidding while braking. The system is exceptionally popular especially with all four wheel drives and allows drivers to brake but still steer.
ABS operates by having wheel speed sensors to on a singular, if not all wheels. If a wheel is attempting to lock up during braking, a series of hydraulic valves limit and reduce the braking impact on that wheel allowing it to continue to rotate. This allows drivers to maintain control of all wheels and steer even if trying to break. Regardless of when you brake, with ABS your wheel will never stop turning giving you total control.
One of the most important tools for your brakes is the addition of brake fluid. Brake fluid is a hygroscopic and absorbs water from the atmosphere with most of the absorption taking place through the flexible rubber hoses.
When carrying out heavy braking brakes often get hot and heat up the brake fluid. In extreme cases, water in the brake fluid can boil and vaporise. While a liquid cannot be compressed vapour can which could lead to the brake feeling soft and spongy. If this occurs, full braking performance will be lost.
You should aim to replace your brake fluid every two years, regardless of mileage.
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