Tring dealer urges drivers to spend two minutes on simple checks before an MoT

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A nationwide campaign backed by Specialist Cars in Tring and 5,545 other manufacturer main dealers across the UK launched this week to help motorists put a brake on MOT failures.

Research from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders indicates that around 1.5 million MOT failures each year could be avoided if motorists notify the dealer of simple problems with the vehicle before the annual roadworthiness test is carried out.

In the biggest campaign of its type, Specialist Cars – one of 5,545 manufacturer main dealers across the UK – will give guidance to BMW and MINI owners across the region on the simple pre-MOT visual checks they can carry out on their own car.

The 10-step checklist will take BMW and MINI owners through a series of quick-and-easy checks – from headlights and tyres to windscreen wipers and fluid levels.

By forewarning the dealership of any required work in advance of the MOT, motorists can then give their vehicle the best chance of passing the test first time around. The full ‘Minute Or Two’ checklist can be viewed at www.passmymot.co.uk, where visitors can also use a Garage Finder tool to locate Specialist Cars Tring, on London Road.

“The message that we are keen to get across to motorists is that an MOT fail could very easily be avoided if a simple visual check is carried out beforehand,” says dealer principal Julian Bourne.

“Technicians at manufacturer main dealerships across the UK are ready and willing to help vehicle owners carry out the visual inspection before the test, and to rectify any issues before conducting a manufacturer-guaranteed MOT.

“With the introduction of a number of new additions to the annual MOT test just last month, it is even more important for vehicle owners to understand the advantage that a few simple checks could make to the outcome of their test. Indeed we would encourage the simple checks to be conducted regularly between MOT tests to ensure the vehicle is safe.”

For more information on carrying out the ‘Minute Or Two’ checks, visit Specialist Cars on London Road, Tring or call 01442 890666.

The ‘Minute Or Two’ checklist

1. Headlights and indicators Check that all of your car’s lights function properly – headlights, sidelights, rear lights, hazard lights and indicators.

2. Brake lights Press the brake pedal and ask a friend to check that the rear brake lights come on – including any supplementary brake strip light. Alternatively, carefully reverse up to a reflective surface (window, wall or garage door) and look behind to see for yourself.

3. Number plate Make sure that the number plate is clean and legible – even a quick wipe with a cloth can make a difference. The font and spacing of letters must also comply with legal requirements to be passed by the MOT station.

4. Wheels and tyres Check that wheels and tyres are undamaged. The minimum legal tyre tread depth is 1.6mm and any tyres with less than this will be marked as an MOT ‘fail’ (though it’s recommended that tyres are changed when tread reaches 3mm). If you’re in doubt about how much tread is left on a tyre, your local manufacturer main dealer can check for you. The dealer can also advise on the type of tyre that is right for your car if a replacement is required.

5. Seats and seatbelts The driver’s seat should adjust forwards and backwards and all seatbelts should be in good, working order. Test movement of the seat and inspect the seatbelt’s full length for damage. Tug sharply on all seatbelts to check that they react as they’re supposed to if you have to brake severely.

6. Windscreen Check the view out of the front of the car for damage – any damage larger than 40mm will cause a ‘fail’, as will any damage wider than 10mm in the ‘swept’ area of the windscreen in front of the driver.

7. Windscreen wipers Make sure your wipers are able to keep your windscreen clean – any tears or holes in the wiper rubber can be an MOT fail.

8. Screenwash Top up the washer bottle before taking the car in for a test – something as simple as an empty container can cause an MOT fail.

9. Horn Give a short blast of the horn – if it doesn’t work, your dealer will need to repair or replace it.

10. Fuel and engine oil Make sure your car is filled with enough fuel and engine oil – you can be turned away from the MOT without suitable levels of either, both of which are required by the dealership when running the car to test its emissions levels. If you are unsure about the type of oil that should be used, ask your manufacturer main dealer. When checking fluid levels and handling parts that could be become hot to the touch (eg bulbs), it is safest to ensure that the vehicle has had an opportunity to cool down fully.