Wednesday 14th January 2015
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Saving money on your MOT is a good idea, but how can you do it?

Use council test centres

Some motoring and money saving experts claim that using council test centres is a better idea than going to your local garage.  These experts claim that garages end up being more expensive as the mechanics will ‘fail’ your car and advise you to get ‘repairs’ that could be unnecessary.  The idea is that the council garages only do MOTS and don’t do any repairs so they have no vested interest in failing your car.  Some people dispute this and it is up to you to make up your own mind.

Find your local Council MOT test centre here

Save money on your MOT

Remember to get the MOT done in time

Make sure you have your MOT done in time.  If you don’t have an up to date MOT certificate you can be fined up to £1,000. So make a note of the date the MOT is due to expire and ensure you get it booked in for an MOT before that.

Know the maximum cost for a MOT

Check out gov.uk to find out about the costs for MOTs for different types of vehicles so that you don’t pay more than you should.  Garages shouldn’t charge you more than what is listed on the site.  Some companies may charge less to get business in but make sure that they are carrying out the full MOT test.

Do your own MOT first!

This way you can avoid having to pay the cost of simple repairs and another MOT test.  40% of cars fail their MOT the first time and often it is because of poor car maintenance.

Here is the Breakeryard guide to doing your own MOT:

Screen wash:

Ensure this is topped up.

Clean your car:

Clear mess from inside the car and clean the windows and mirrors.  Check that the wipers work.

Registration plate:

Make sure this can be read clearly and that personalised plates follow DVLA rules.

Windscreen:

Ensure all stickers and non essential items do not obscure the driver’s view.  Small chips in the windscreen are OK but the car will fail if there are large chips in the driver’s field of vision.  Damage bigger than 40 mm and any damage more than 10 mm in the ‘sweeping’ area of the windscreen will cause MOT fails.  The wipers must work and any holes or cuts in the wiper rubber can result in an MOT fail.

Dashboard:

Check that all warning lights do light up.

Tyres:

Check the pressure – the legal minimum of tread depth is 1.6 mm.  Examine the tyres to check for cuts, bulges or other signs of damage.  One in 10 cars fail their MOTs because of issues with tyres. A little trick to measure the depth of tread is to take a 20p and put it on its edge into the main grooves of the tyre tread.  If you can’t see the outer rim of the coin then the tyres are legally OK.  However, if you can see the edge of the coin then the tyres need checking out properly by a mechanic.

Lights:

Walk all around and check that all the light bubs are working, including brakes, indicators, headlights, sidelights, rear and hazard lights.  Almost a third of MOT fails are due to lighting faults. Changing bulbs is easy to do and you can always use your car manual to help you.

Horn:

Check the horn works and is loud and clear inside and outside the car.

Mirrors

As well as being very clean they must be adjustable and in good condition.

Seats and seatbelts

The driver’s seat should be adjustable forwards and backwards.  Test the movement of seats.  Examine all seatbelts to make sure they work properly and tug on them sharply to check they would work if you braked suddenly.

Fuel and engine oils

Ensure the car has sufficient fuel and engine oil.  Check with your manufacturer if you aren’t sure about the oil. The garage can turn you away if you don’t have enough of these fluids as these are needed to test emission levels.

Exhaust:

Check that the exhaust is not leaking by starting the engine, go to the rear of the car and listen for odd noises or unusual smoke.  These factors would indicate a leak and you should get this fixed prior to the MOT.

Suspension:

This can be difficult to assess but you can check if the shock absorbers no longer work by quickly applying your weight to each corner of the car and releasing.  If the shock absorbers work then the car should quickly settle back.

Handbrakes:

Should the brakes feel loose and not responsive or the handbrake slides up without any resistance and cannot be ratcheted at a set level then that would indicate there is a problem and you will need a mechanic.

So good maintenance of your car is really critical in helping your car to pass its MOT first time.  If you need parts for your car contact Breakeryard.com to save up to 85% off car parts that can arrive the next day.  We can help your car to pass its MOT.