According to the DVSA/VOSA (what are they called this week?) around 40% of cars fail their MOT first time while 50% of MOT failures are down to simple maintenance tasks you can easily doat home yourself. This is our top tips to help you pass your MOT first time!

1). Lights & indicators

Around 30% of all MOT failures are down to minor faults with lights, mostly blown bulbs. Checking for blown bulbs really is something anyone can do. To make this easy grab a second person, one to operate the lights and the other to act as the spotter.  However, If you can't find someone to help, park up directly across from a shop window - this will allow you to check the operation of the brake lights in your rear view mirror.  Some cars have 20+ exterior bulbs now so remember to check them all, from mirror indicators, to side lights, main lights and full beam. The "headlights" are often 3 separate bulbs! 

If you find any blown bulbs Euro Car Parts, Halfords or your local garage should be able to help quite cheaply. One last tip; fitting bulbs wrongly and affecting the alignment can be an MOT failure in its own right. So if you are not confident consider sending as little as £19.99 purchasing a Haynes Manual or getting your local garage or Halfords to fit the bulbs you pre-purchased.

 Or for a simple but extensive guide to all things light bulb related, head over to our friends at Auto Bulbs Direct. They have a great guide available over at https://www.autobulbsdirect.co.uk/blog/the-simple-car-bulb-guide-2019-edition

2). Tyre wear and pressure

Yeap that's right, running tyres significantly under pressure is also a MOT failure, not only that but it ruins your fuel economy and makes the tyres wear uneven across the surface. Pop down your local petrol station and check those pressures!

Not sure what pressure your tyres should be? Have a look behind the petrol flap or in the drivers door well. 

While your at that petrol station its a great opportunity to check the Tyre wear. Every tyre sold in the UK comes with 3 outer, middle and inner wear markers that show you how much a tyre has worn. See the pic below. If any of the wear markers are even with the tread the tyre is most likely needing replaced. 

What about the age of your tyres? Don't do many miles? Tread depth isn't the only way tyres age, UV and harsh weather conditions dry out the chemical compound causing cracking and potentially premature failure. Kwik-Fit have produced this guide showing you how to check the manufacture date of the tyre. Anything over 5-6 year old should be checked by a pro.

For further tips, have a watch at this DVSA video:

3). Drivers line of sight, windscreen, mirrors and window wipers.

You will want to check the windscreen has no unpaired chips, that window wipers function and there is a full tank of washer fluid. 8.5% of MOT failures are due to the driver not having an unobstructed line of sight, this includes mirrors being operational and use of the washer fluid leaving a streak free line of sight for the driver - if not get down to Halfords, Euro Car Part or your local garage and get a new set fitted. If you are confident doing it completely on your own, you might want to check out Amazon. The DVSA recommend fitting a new set yearly!

4). Brakes and brake fluid levels

Brakes are really one of those things you will want to check frequently! When it is safe to do so, and at low speed, press the foot brake and listen for ANY strange noise. At the same time assess whether the car is 'pulled' to one side, did you have to correct the steering? If anything appears out of the ordinary get a professional to check them out. Brake pads are often cheap to replace, and left unattended will prematurely age the brake disks - which are certainly not so cheap to replace. A little preventative maintenance can save you a fortune here!

While you are under the bonnet checking those window washer levels, you will also want to check the brake fluid levels. Make sure the levels are kept between the Max and Min warnings. Check your cars handbook for what fluid is required should the levels need topped up.  Again Halfords,Euro Car Part, or potentially even Amazonwill have everything you need here!

5). Check what the MOT tester said last year and signup for a reminder!

It is well worth reviewing last years MOT certificate to see any warnings or advisories left by the MOT assessor. have any of these got the potential to be failures this year?  If you have lost the MOT certificate from last year, you can easily do this online on the GOV.UK website here.
This is a feature we are also hoping to add ourselves in the near future, so if you have not already done so, now is as good a time as any to sign up for your automatically tracked free renewal reminder over here.