The MOT test - how to avoid failure

The MOT; three simple letters that can people with dread. A bit like a visit to the dentist maybe, or facing up to sorting out the cupboard where everything falls out at you when you open the door (how many times have you just rammed it all back in and thought 'I'll sort that out one day'?).

Around half of us do indeed have a cause to be worried; statistics from VOSA (the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) show that 40% of cars and 50% of light commercial vehicles fail their annual MOT at the first attempt. But why are the failure rates so high?

It's all in the preparation

Many of these failures, it appears, are due to lack of preparation. In fact half of the failures could be easily and rather painlessly avoided by some simple checks and attention before you take your vehicle to the Test Centre. Like lighting and signalling for instance - during 2012-2013 the Department of Transport note that almost one in five failures were down to faulty lights or indicators, whilst one in twelve were due to worn or faulty tyres, and a further one in fourteen because of the driver's view of the road being subject to an obstruction.

A few minutes spent checking out these and other common issues (an empty windscreen wash bottle can even fail you) can be worth it to avoid a repeat visit to the centre for a re-test. The Society of Motor Manfuacturers and Traders (SMMT) have produced a handy guide called the Minute or Two MOT Check that covers just about everything you need to take into account before test day. You can find it here.

When deciding where to take your vehicle for an MOT, bear in mind the test centre's policy on re-testing.  Some centres make a charge and others don't. If you are one of the 40-50% that do fail, this could be relevant!

Check your last certificate and book early

If your vehicle has been through an MOT before, have a quick check of last year's certificate. Were there any advisory items detailed? If so, the opinion of the MOT Tester at the time was that these would need iminent attention. Have you addressed them during the year? Of course you should have, but if the answer is' no' it's almost certain that your vehicle will fail.

When is the MOT due?  You can have your test done one calendar month before the due date and your new certificate will still run for a year from the expiry of your current MOT.  A note of caution though; if yu have your MOT done early and it fails you still need to address the repairs and re-test as a priority. Although still covered by a current MOT certificate, you will be driving knowing that the vehicle is not considered to be fit to pass an MOT.

So many people leave it until the very last minute to book their test and then panic. If you have your vehicle MOT carried out at Kenhire, we will text, email or write to you in advance to remind you when it's due. You can find details of our MOT test pricing here.

Of course, once a year shouldn't really be the only time you pay any attention to your vehicle.  Regular checks and maintenance can extend your vehicle's life, reduce overall costs, increase fuel efficiency and most important of all make sure that you are safe on the road. So why not make regular checks part of your routine and avoid the annual MOT trauma?

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