MOT tests are usually a scary time for the typical car owner, with many terrified at the prospect of handing over hundreds of pounds to make their car roadworthy. While it’s possible get an MOT performed for as little as £20, a lot of garages have been known to abuse their position and conjure up countless faults that make the final price astonishing.
Bearing this in mind, you really should analyse the state of your car before venturing over to the local garage. If you can correct a few minor imperfections, you could in theory shave hundreds of your total bill. We’ll now take a look at five of the areas where it’s easy to find faults, fix them, and ultimately stop the mechanic from boosting his profit margins unnecessarily.
This is probably one area where it will be difficult to fix yourself, but if you at least know that there is a genuine fault it will make the pill a bit easier to swallow when it comes to paying the total sum.
The usual handbrake problems revolve around excessive movement and if you can pull it suspiciously high, there’s a chance that one of the cables needs adjusting. Alternatively, the lever mountings can become unsecured, causing a sudden release of the part in some cases.
The easiest way to test the footbrake is to see whether or not the pedal touches the floor when you push against it. If it does, there’s a chance there is a problem with the master cylinder and you should be seriously wary about even driving it to the garage. Other signs to look out for include excess fluid around the pedals, with this sometimes a sign of leaking brake fluids.
Brakes are one area which garages tend to exploit as most people don’t have a clue of how they function. Therefore, if you do have some knowledge of the area, take a look underneath the car to see any parts, such as the calipers or pads, have come loose. Alternatively, if it’s clear to see that some parts have failed, it might be advisable to purchase them in advance from a website such as www.caliperengineeringltd.co.uk so that you can avoid being ripped off by the initial cost of the part at the garage.
This is another common area of exploitation, although you can resolve a lot of tyre issues on your own. Make sure you check the tread depth of each tyre before traveling to the garage, with the legal minimum 1.6mm. While you’re at it, keep a look out for any cuts or damage to the tyres that could lead a mechanic to suggest a replacement, while also make sure they are correctly pressured. If you notice anything wrong in these regards, you can either fix them yourself or buy a new tyre at a fraction of the cost that a commercial garage will charge.
Windscreen and Mirrors
This is another very simple area to check and you simply have to ensure that the windscreen does not have any significant cracks. If it does, your insurance is very likely to include a free windscreen repair service that won’t affect your no-claims bonus – so you may as well take advantage of this rather than utilise the garage’s services.
Check for the same faults on the wing mirrors, and also make sure they are secure in position.
It’s not been unheard of for some establishments to fail a vehicle based on the number plate being illegible – even though it would take a simple wipe for the car to pass its test. Therefore, make sure you can read every digit and letter clearly, whilst also check that it is the correct format as specified by the DVLA.