A little bit of MoT planning never goes amiss

Car in garage on two post lift

To those people running vehicles that are more than three years old, writes motoring journalist Iain Robertson, the annual roadworthiness test is a vital but sometimes horrific on-cost, even though it is an expectation.

Punctures, oil leaks, clutches and other breakdowns, to which ‘emergency’ status can be allocated, are all unwelcome, especially when your monthly expenses have not anticipated them. It is little wonder that the shocked first reaction to the Service Receptionist is usually, “How much?!”.

Yet, every year, around 37million vehicles in the UK require a new MoT. Although the name has not been changed for many decades (it stood originally for Ministry of Transport), it is a familiar test requirement that is carried out on all motor vehicles aged over three years, although passenger and goods carrying vehicles also have understandably more stringent tests to adhere to.

The MoT Test must be carried out at an authorised facility by an appropriately qualified Tester. Whether you are a DIY mechanic, or you rely on the services provided by a garage, the same rules apply and you must contact the MoT centre, book an appointment and attend it, preferably with your vehicle.

The concept of an annual roadworthiness and environmentally sound test is essentially quite simple. To be safe on the road, as well as attending to the Highway Code, your vehicle must be in a legally healthy state. The only way to achieve that is to test it against pre-determined parameters. If it fails, a retest must take place as soon as is feasible and once repairs are carried out afterwards.

All aspects are considered, from brakes and lighting, to the proper tyre tread depth and exhaust emissions. Naturally, if it has been twelve months since the last service, the possibility exists that something may be about to, or has already gone wrong with your vehicle. While the normal MoT Test fee at a Mr Clutch Autocentre can be as little as £21, with discount vouchers applying, it is far preferable to shouldering an up to £1,000 fine for driving a car without a test certificate.

Mr Clutch always advises a Pre-MoT Check. Even if you suspect that something might have to be renewed in the period running up to your vehicle’s MoT, it is advisable to deal with it and whatever the Pre-MoT Check highlights, before taking the test, as a means to reduce extra expense. Of course, you can elect to have the pre-test check carried out at a Mr Clutch Autocentre, as many of them are authorised MoT Test Centres too.

Check online, via the Mr Clutch website (mrclutch.com/mot), where you can download the DVSA Inspection List. Naturally, you might be able to carry out many of the listed items personally, although the Pre-MoT Check is likely to highlight other, more deeply-rooted issues. In order to keep your motoring costs within reasonable bounds, invest in a Mr Clutch Pre-MoT Check.