If you are the owner of a car carrying a 10 registration plate you will need to arrange for it to have its ﬁrst MOT test.
You also need to be aware of what this will entail.
Many motorists regard the MOT test as an ordeal, but however awful it may seem, the test exists for your protection.
It is the only statutory test for safety and environmental legislation so you should look on it as an important safety measure.
The MOT test is actually a very reassuring way to get your car checked over by an expert, to make sure it is safe for you to drive and to ensure that it also meets the legal requirements.
All vehicles three years and older need to be taken for an annual MOT test.
Since 1995, the MOT test has included an emissions output monitor to ensure that cars are not polluting our air excessively.
Hopefully you will have kept the car well-maintained from the day you bought it but there are still a few basic checks you can make before heading to your local MOT testing station.
The following may help:
n Are the seats secure? Seatbelts should not be frayed
n Check the steering wheel for cracks and too much free play
n Make sure the boot is not cluttered and does not hinder the tester in any way
n Check your lights are in good working order, clean and not damaged
n Bear in mind that garages can refuse to test extremely dirty vehicles
n Tyres need a minimum tread of 1.6mm across two thirds of the tyre
n Cracked number plates could mean a failure
n Has the windscreen any damage?
n Is the horn working properly?
n The fuel cap must ﬁt securely
n Is the exhaust making too much noise?
n Are the brakes working properly?
n Does the hand brake work properly?
n Are all the controls, such as indicators and switches, in working order?
If you are satisﬁed your car meets these requirements there is little need to panic, but do remember this list is by no means exhaustive.
There are other areas that need to be taken into account, such as under the car body checks, that are less obvious to general motorists. Make sure that your car is booked in well before the MOT is due.
These days the MOT test is designed to be customer friendly and testers should have an area where you can wait – or even watch – and then discuss the test and any issues that might come up in future.
Once the test is over and you have your pass certiﬁcate you can have peace of mind that your car is safer, cleaner and smoother to drive.
But remember that the test does not cover the condition of the engine, clutch or gearbox and also bear in mind that it does not mean the vehicle is going to be roadworthy for the length of time that the certiﬁcate is valid – you still need to keep a close eye on it and check it in for a regular service to keep it in good order.