Safety warnings have been issued by mechanics across the country as lockdown measures are eased and car usage is being encouraged.
Compulsory MOT checks will be required again from August 1 after stopping during lockdown.
Car registration company, Click4Reg, have revealed the nations most asked questions leading up to an MOT:
1. How to check my car tyres?
Insert a 20p coin into the lowest tread depth of your tyres.
If you can’t see the outer rim around the edge of the coin, then your tyre is safe and has a minimum of 3mm tread depth.
If you can see the rim then your tyre tread is less than 3mm and should be checked by a professional.
2. How to check my car’s battery?
Car batteries failing can be avoided with basic maintenance.
A flat battery is a common cause for a car failing to start however this can be avoided.
Car batteries perform better in warmer weather and need to be charged through driving.
If your car sits for a long period of time it may be useful to go for a drive to recharge the battery.
If you don’t have any other equipment to hand, the only thing you’ll be able to check is that your battery is properly connected.
To do this you should check your owner’s manual for an entry titled ‘‘charging the battery’ or ‘checking the battery’.
This should show you the location of the battery charging terminals on your car. These are also what you use to check your battery, although they may not be located on the battery itself.
Ensure that the battery is properly connected or, if you have one, use a car battery tester to check the voltage.
3. How to check your headlights?
Checking your headlights is fairly simple and you can do it yourself.
Turn your car on and switch on the headlights.
Walk around to the front of the vehicle and make sure the lights are working. Both headlights should be bright.
4. How to check my car’s steering?
To check that the power assisted steering is working properly, apply a little pressure to the steering wheel, as you turn on the engine – you should feel a marked difference.
The power assist will make the wheel light and the wheel turns more easily when it is working correctly.
5. How to check my car’s power steering?
You should check your power-steering system at least twice a year or more often if it’s recommended by your car’s handbook.
If the steering becomes heavy or jerky this can mean there has been a complete failure and it is time to take your vehicle to a professional.
However, normal checks for your steering involve inspecting the power steering fluid level, which is located under the bonnet.
If the level is low, look for any leaks. Leaks may also let air in so the system will need bleeding.
There are usually two marks on the reservoir, the lower one is when the fluid is cold and the upper is for when it is hot, ensure to check your fluid level on flat ground.
6. How to check my car’s suspension?
Suspension damage is not only an MOT failure and is extremely dangerous.
Damage to the suspension of a vehicle is usually down to everyday wear-and-tear.
Look out for these simple characteristics when driving to see if your car’s suspension may need to be checked:
- Loss of grip.
- Heavy turning in corners.
- ‘Bouncing’ (or the nose of the car ‘ducking’) when breaking.
- Aquaplaning in wet weather.
- Swaying in side winds.
- Travel sickness.
Many auto repair shops will offer free suspension checks, if you notice any of these characteristics whilst driving it may be worth seeing a mechanic.
7. How to check my car’s wheel bearings?
To check your car’s wheel bearings to see if they need to be repacked you must elevate your car off the ground.
Wheel bearing usually come in pairs of inner and outer bearings,that allow your wheels to turn freely over thousands of miles by cushioning the contact between the wheel and the spindle it sits on.
The bearings are covered in grease which tends to pick up dust, dirt, and little particles of metal, even though the bearings are protected to some extent by the hub and the brake drum or disc.
To check your bearings you need to:
- Jack up your vehicle and support it on jack stands.
- Without getting under the vehicle, grasp each wheel at the top and bottom and attempt to rock it. There should be minimal movement.
- Put the gearshift in Neutral if you have an automatic transmission, or take your manual transmission out of gear.
- Rotate the wheel.
If your wheel does not turn freely and easily you should visit a mechanic.
8. How to check my car’s breaking system?
Failure of the car’s braking system is extremely dangerous and should be checked immediately.
To check the life of the brake pad, you need to determine its thickness.
You might need a flashlight to get a good look at the brake pad.
If the pads look thin, less than 1/4″, it might be time to get them replaced.
On some brake pads, you might see a wear indicator slot down the center of the pad.
9. How to check your car’s exhaust system?
There are three key signifiers of exhaust problems for cars: noise, smell and performance.
If the engine is noisy, rattling or thumping this is usually a sign that something is wrong. Over time linkages can become loose and the muffler can break or fail.
If you notice a smell inside of the car this usually means there is a leak, although carbon monoxide is odourless the other gases aren’t.
Loss of performance and reduced gas mileage are also common signs that the engine is working harder than it has to.
To do a simple check without going under the vehicle you will need a torch and jack to inspect the exhaust.
Look out for any cracks, loose linkages and bolts.
If you notice any issues with your exhaust you should visit a mechanic.
10. How to check my car speedometer?
Checking your speedometer involves simple maths and a stop watch.
Choose a speed at which you wish to test the speedometer and drive the car at exactly that speedometer speed for one mile – at the same time record the time with a stopwatch.
Use tenths of a mile portion of the odometer to measure a mile.
Simple things including the quality of your tyres can have an effect on the speed at which you travel. Therefore, general car maintenance is essential to the performance of your vehicle.