What Does a Garage Check in an MOT?

When booking an MOT for your vehicle, it’s essential to understand what a garage will check during the test. The MOT (Ministry of Transport) is an annual inspection ensuring your vehicle meets safety and environmental standards.

While many people opt for larger chain garages for their MOT, there are several advantages to choosing a local garage. This comprehensive guide will explore what a garage examines during an MOT and why trusting your local garage can be a smart choice.

The Importance of MOT Testing

Before diving into the specifics of what a garage checks during an MOT, it’s crucial to understand the significance of this inspection. The MOT test is a legal requirement for vehicles over three years old in the UK. It ensures that roadworthy cars, vans, and motorcycles meet emissions standards. Failing to have a valid MOT certificate can result in penalties, including fines and points on your driving license. Therefore, it’s essential to book your MOT with a reputable garage and ensure your vehicle passes the test.

Choosing a Local Garage for Your MOT

When booking an MOT, many drivers consider going to a large chain garage or a local establishment. While chain garages may seem more convenient or offer perceived benefits, trusting your local garage can have significant advantages.

Local garages, like our MOT garage based in Sheffield, provide a personalised service, competitive pricing, and the opportunity to build a relationship with the mechanics. Additionally, local garages are often invested in their community and strive to provide excellent customer service. Now, let’s explore what a garage typically checks during an MOT.

Lights and Indicators

Mechanic hold up a headlight bulb ready to replace

One of the primary areas a garage examines during an MOT is your vehicle’s lights and indicators. Ensuring all headlights, brake lights, indicators, and hazard lights function correctly is crucial for road safety. During the test, the garage will check each light to ensure it illuminates appropriately and is not excessively dim or flickering. They will also inspect the lenses for any cracks or damage. If any bulbs are burnt out or broken, the garage may replace them as part of the MOT service.

Suspension

Your vehicle’s suspension system provides a smooth and comfortable ride. During the MOT, the garage will inspect the suspension for any signs of damage or wear and test the shock absorbers to ensure they are functioning correctly. Faulty suspension components can affect your vehicle’s handling and stability, so having them checked during the MOT is essential.

Battery Condition

The battery of your vehicle powers various electrical components. During the MOT, the garage will check the battery’s condition to ensure it is securely mounted and corrosion-free. If the battery is weak or damaged, the garage may recommend replacing it to avoid any potential issues.

Brakes

Mechanic checking brakes ona car

The braking system is another critical component a garage assesses during an MOT. They will test the responsiveness of your brakes to ensure they engage promptly and effectively. The mechanic may also listen for any unusual noises that could indicate a problem with the braking system.

Additionally, the garage will check the brake fluid level and top it up if necessary. Faulty brakes can significantly compromise the safety of your vehicle, so it’s crucial to have them checked during the MOT.

Windscreen and Wipers

A windscreen with a crack in it

The windscreen and wipers are essential for maintaining clear visibility while driving. During the MOT, the garage will inspect the windscreen for any chips or cracks that could impair the driver’s view. If the damage is significant or in the driver’s line of sight, it may result in an MOT failure. The wipers will also be checked to ensure they effectively clear the windscreen. If the wiper blades are damaged or worn, the garage may recommend replacing them.

Horn Functionality

A functional horn is a crucial safety feature of any vehicle. During the MOT, the garage will test the horn to ensure it’s working correctly. A non-functioning horn can result in an MOT failure. If there are any issues with the horn, the garage may recommend repairs or replacement to ensure your vehicle meets the necessary standards.

Fluid Levels

Oil being added to a car in MOT test

Proper fluid levels are vital for your vehicle’s smooth operation. During the MOT, the garage will check engine oil, coolant, and screenwash levels. If any of these fluids are low, the mechanic may top them up as part of the service. Adequate fluid levels help prevent engine damage, overheating, and other issues that could affect your vehicle’s performance.

Seatbelts

Seatbelts are critical for the safety of both the driver and passengers. Therefore, a garage will inspect all seatbelts during an MOT. They will check for any signs of damage or wear and ensure that the seatbelts fasten securely and retract smoothly. If the seatbelts are found to be faulty or damaged, the garage may recommend repairs or replacement.

Mirrors

Clear visibility is essential for safe driving. During the MOT, the garage will inspect your vehicle’s mirrors. They will ensure the mirrors are clean and properly adjusted to provide a clear road view. The garage may recommend repairs or replacement if any mirrors are damaged or misaligned.

Exhaust and Emissions

Car exhaust emissions

The exhaust system and emissions are closely monitored during an MOT. The garage will listen for any unusual noises from the exhaust that could indicate a problem. They will also check for leaks or damage to the exhaust system. Additionally, excessive smoke emissions can lead to an MOT failure. Therefore, the garage will assess your vehicle’s emissions to ensure they meet the necessary standards.

Registration Plate

Your vehicle’s registration plate must be securely attached and visible. During the MOT, the garage will check the condition of the number plate and ensure it meets the legal requirements. If the number plate is damaged or unclear, the garage may recommend replacing it.

Tyres

Checking the tread on a car tyre

The condition of your vehicle’s tyres plays a vital role in its safety and roadworthiness. Therefore, a garage will thoroughly inspect your tyres during an MOT. They will check the tyre pressure to ensure it meets the manufacturer’s recommended levels.

Additionally, the garage will measure the tread depth of each tyre. The legal minimum tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre. If the tread depth is below this limit or there are any signs of damage, such as cuts or bulges, the garage may recommend replacing the tyres.

Additional Checks

In addition to the specific areas mentioned above, a garage will comprehensively examine your vehicle during an MOT. They will review the dashboard for any warning lights and address will discuss any issues causing them. The garage will also inspect the overall condition of your vehicle, including the bodywork, doors, and windows. It’s worth noting that the specific requirements for an MOT may vary slightly depending on the vehicle’s class and age.

Conclusion

Booking an MOT for your vehicle is crucial in ensuring its safety and roadworthiness. Understanding what a garage checks during an MOT can help you prepare your vehicle for the inspection.

Additionally, choosing a trusted local garage, like TM Automotive MOT garage, can provide personalised service, competitive pricing, and the opportunity to build a relationship with the mechanics.

Following the tips and recommendations outlined in this guide can increase your chances of a successful MOT and enjoy peace of mind on the road. Regular maintenance and servicing are vital to keeping your vehicle in optimal condition and passing your MOT with flying colours.