How to prepare your car for vehicle inspection? Why is this important to know?
Well, in almost every country in the world, there is some sort of legislation that ensures that cars are road worthy, so to say.
Without it, overall traffic safety would be seriously compromised, for sure.
There are certain time intervals for this vehicle inspection also known as an MOT. The most common interval is once a year.
It’s common practice among most drivers to prepare for this inspection. Not only to pass it but to have a safe and technically sound car on the road.
So, this article will show you some of the most important things you should consider and check before going to a vehicle inspection.
Besides this, you have a video at the end of the article that you can also watch on our YouTube channel.
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR CAR FOR VEHICLE INSPECTION?
Before we start I would just like to say, as a sort of disclaimer that this article isn’t a definitive list of what you should or must do.
Legislation and laws are of course different in every country. So are the demands for a vehicle inspection although there are lots of similarities.
So take this article as a friendly suggestion and before going to an inspection, be sure to consult government offices or companies who know the exact requirements in your country.
1. CHECK THE LIGHTS AND SIGNALIZATION
See if all the light signalization (meaning all of the lights) is working properly. Check the headlights, turn signals, position lights, brake lights, reverse lights, and else.
Especially check the rear signalization. Drivers rarely do this and If it doesn’t work, it can go unnoticed for days or even weeks.
Also, know that any serious crack or damage on any of the lamps (front and rear) can also be a problem.
Don’t forget to check that the horn is working properly. If you want to see how to fix a car horn, click here to read a separate article on that topic.
2. CHECK THE BRAKES
One of the main checks at the vehicle inspection will be for the brakes and their overall condition. This applies, of course to the handbrake also.
If you notice any kind of malfunction or problem (like weaker or uneven braking, strange noises when braking, or else) try to fix it before the vehicle inspection or MOT. Also, make sure that the handbrake works at maximum efficiency.
Any problem with the brake system will show on the brake tester during the inspection for sure.
3. CHECK THE STEERING AND SUSPENSION SYSTEM
If you notice any problems with the steering and how the car behaves on the road, solve it before going.
In most cases, the technicians will go under the car and take a close look at the steering system and suspension. They usually check the tie rods, ball joints, control arms, and else.
Sometimes even the slightest malfunction will not let you pass the vehicle inspection and justifiably so.
So, if you notice things like the car pulling to one side, wobbly steering, undefined steering (the car is all over the road), or other anomalies, best avoid going until you solve it.
If you want to see some of the most common reasons why the car pulls to one side, click here to read the article or see the video.
When talking about how to prepare your car for vehicle inspection, the brakes, steering, and suspension are usually at the top of the list.
4. CHECK THE TIRES
Make sure that the tire tread is deep enough, check the DOT mark on the tires (namely, the production date, see that they are not too old), and that the tires are for the present season.
For instance, don’t go to a vehicle inspection in the winter with summer tires and vice versa.
Also, check that the tire pressure is OK.
5. CHECK THE VIN NUMBER AND PAPERWORK
If you’ve made previous vehicle inspections and you’re the owner of the car for a longer period of time, then you probably don’t have to do this.
Due to modern IT systems in most countries, the data for your car needed for vehicle inspection stays saved in the system. So, one entry is enough and only a re-check is needed later.
But if you just bought the car (especially a used one), make sure to check the paperwork. See if everything is complete and in order.
These would be things like (and this again depends on the country you live in) insurance policies, documents of ownership, and so on.
If nothing else, then at least compare the VIN or vehicle inspection number to the paperwork. This is perhaps the most important information.
6. WINDSHIELD, WIPERS, AND MIRRORS
The only thing you should check regarding the windshield is that is intact. So, there should be no cracks, chips, screeches, or other damage.
Know that if you have a larger crack on the windshield, you probably won’t pass the inspection. This is, justifiably, considered a safety risk.
Also, if there are serious scratches (like from old or damaged wiper blades for instance) that compromise visibility, you probably also won’t pass.
While you’re checking the windshield, you can also check the wipers. If they’re torn, worn out, or damaged, best replace them. Don’t forget to do the same for the rear wiper.
Regarding mirrors, make sure that there are no cracks or damage.
7. SEAT BELTS
Check that all the seat belts, front, rear, or for all the rows of seats you have in your car are working properly.
If you have problems with a slow retracting seat belt, a jamming seat belt a torn one, or else, know that you won’t pass for sure.
This is a major safety issue and solving it should be a priority.
If you want to see a couple of ways to fix a slow retracting seat belt, click here to see a separate article and video we’ve made specifically on this topic.
8. EMISSION TEST
During any vehicle inspection or MOT, the exhaust fumes will be tested if they are ecologically acceptable so to say.
In lots of countries, these laws are very strict. Any kind of irregularity or malfunction with the exhaust system or any of the systems connected with it will be noticed.
This goes double for diesel engines which have, in most cases somewhat more complicated systems for cleansing exhaust fumes.
So, check on time things like the DPF filter, EGR valve, catalytic converter, lambda sensor, and else. Check these systems regardless if you drive a diesel or gasoline (petrol) car.
Do this especially if you have the check engine light coming up on the dashboard. For more information on some of the most common problems with a check engine light, click here to read the article and watch the video.
9. CAR BODY
Two things that are most important regarding checking the car body. Check that there are no major dents or damages and that there isn’t much rust.
If any of these are present and compromise the integrity of the car body, you will not pass the vehicle inspection or MOT for sure.
A spot or two on the fender or bumper won’t be a problem but if you drive a rust bucket, best don’t bother going. Even better don’t drive the car in that condition.
When mentioning how to prepare your car for vehicle inspection, you should fix any rust problems before you go. Both for the sake of the inspection and for your own safety.
10. DO REGULAR MAINTENANCE
A vehicle inspection is a great opportunity to re-check the maintenance schedule of your car.
When was the last time the oil has been changed, all of the filters, (air, fuel, oil, and else). When was the last time the brakes were checked, the coolant, etc.
Know that if the maintenance is sloppy it can affect your chances of passing the inspection.
For instance, if you haven’t changed the oil and filters for a long time it can affect the emission test. If you haven’t serviced the brake system regularly, you probably won’t pass and the list goes on.
So, try to make a brief review and if something is missing, you’re bound to notice and do it before the inspection.
In the end one more extra tip for how to prepare your car for a vehicle inspection. Clean the car before going, and clean both the interior and exterior.
Not only is it a matter of hygiene and politeness but it will make life easier for the technician making the inspection. Not to mention that it will leave a better overall impression.
Also, and perhaps most importantly, make regular checkups and follow the maintenance schedule for your car.
This way, the vehicle inspection will be more of a formality instead of a serious and timely obligation filled with costly repairs.
Take care of your car and do so in a timely manner and the vehicle inspection or MOT won’t be a problem for sure.
Written by: Sibin Spasojevic
Former car technician, life-long car and DIY enthusiast, author for Despairrepair.com
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR CAR FOR A VEHICLE INSPECTION-MOT? YOUTUBE VIDEO