By Tom Brett
30th March 2020

Checking your Car During Covid-19



During these difficult times, the government has put restrictions to limit our movements whilst Covid-19 (coronavirus) is impacting our lives. Mandatory gov MOT checks have been postponed for at least 6 months, and for some drivers, this will mean their MOT is technically expired. This restriction could also be extended over time and it is important to keep on top of your car in order to keep it safe and reliable. Please read our recommendations below that will help keep you safe and sound when driving.

An MOT check at a garage near you will consist of the following factors and provide you with either: a complete pass certificate, pass with advisories or minor faults, or a fail with major faults:

Vehicle identification number (VIN)

Registration plate

Lights

Steering and suspension

Wipers and washers

Windscreen

Horn

Seat belts and seats

Doors

Mirrors

Wheels and tyres

Brakes

Fuel system

Exhaust system

Vehicle emissions

 

CHECKS AT HOME

Although it is not likely you will be able to carry out a full MOT service, there are plenty of aspects of your car you will be able to check for free. Make sure the car is stationary on a flat surface and the engine is cold as you may have to touch it at some point. Simply follow our guide in keeping your car roadworthy:

Beep Beep!

Make sure your horn is loud and clear. Simply sound the horn from your steering wheel.

Lights


Check if all lights are working correctly. This includes:

Rear lights

Fog lights

Brake lights

Indicator lights

Hazard lights

If any bulbs have blown or look deteriorated, check to see if you can change them yourself.

Dashboard Warning Lights

View your vehicle handbook whilst checking any warning lights that are present when the car is turned on. You will be able to see any signs that there may be something wrong with any parts of your car such as: the engine and engine oil, brakes, airbags, and tyre pressure. This will save you valuable time and money if you get these sorted before they turn into a major fault.

Brake Fluid

Find the master cylinder in your engine. There will be markings that state ‘min’ and ‘max’. The optimum level would be between these two values. By finding the correct brake fluid for your make of car (usually in the manual), simply top up if the dial is on the lower end.

The brake fluid tends to be an amber colour or clear and turns brown getting older. You can buy chemical strips that you can dip in the container to check this.

Check Mirrors


Obligatory mirrors must be in tact, meaning you have a clear view in at least one interior and one offside mirror. Ensure none of these are cracked or showing signs of damage. If you are unable to fix these, please apply devices and equipment from a local store that will give you a clear view.

Tyre Pressure and Tread

We recommend checking your tyres every month or so to ensure they are at a desired pressure. It is dangerous if your tyres fall below the required level as skidding and poor handling could be dangerous.

The tread of your tyre is equally crucial to stopping distances, especially in wet conditions. Poor tread is against the law and is punishable with a fine and points on your licence.

The minimum depth of tread in 1.6mm along the whole band of the tyre. By inserting a 20p coin into the grooves and you are unable to see that outer band, you can class them as safe.

Engine Oil


Many people forget to check and change the engine oil in their car. Use your dipstick after it has been wiped clean and dip back into the container. Like the brake fluid, check the markings that are on the stick and ensure it is sitting at an optimum level. Top it up with the right engine oil.

Windows and Field of View

Your windscreen should have no marks that are larger than 10mm whilst all devices in the car do not obstruct your view. There are some products that can help you fix any small cracks in your windscreen to prevent them from becoming a bigger problem.

Car Battery

There are plenty of products out there to ensure your battery does not diminish during the lockdown. You can also clean the cables, check the level of electrolyte, or change the battery altogether.

Clean and Maintain your Car

Cleaning your car will give you peace of mind that you are keeping on top of everything. Making sure your number plates can be seen clearly is also a mandatory requirement. By performing all the checks above, you can be confident that your car will be healthy, safe and reliable for the months to come before you have to go back to the MOT garage near you.

 

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Pauline Butler

Why have mots been stopped mine due 17/4