Did you know one in five vans fail its first MOT test? This statistic is down to poor maintenance by its drivers and businesses. But should we be surprised? Vans typically cover a lot of miles when used for business purposes and are exposed to a lot of wear and tear. Failing your MOT test is not just an unwanted distraction; the knock-on effect can reduce your work productivity, cost you time and money in repairs at the garage.
As providers of van insurance, we’ve put together this guide to give you some tips on what you can do to give your van the best chance of passing its MOT test first time.
FINDING OUT YOUR MOT EXPIRY DATE?
You can check by looking at the expiry date on your last test certificate or alternatively you can register for a free email or text MOT reminder to receive a notification a month before it’s due. It’s possible to book your MOT test up to a month in advance. This’ll provide you with plenty of time to book with a garage that you know and trust or alternatively to find a reputable one.
PREPARATION BEFORE YOUR VAN MOT TEST
Putting your van in a test centre for its MOT can be a stressful experience but it needn’t be provided you put some time aside to carry out the following exterior and interior checks:
CHECKING YOUR VAN EXTERIOR
Raise your bonnet and refer to your vans service manual to locate the engine coolant, screen wash and oil cap. Check each fluid is at the correct level according to the service manual, if they’re not give them a top-up yourself, as a garage could charge for this.
Check all of your windscreen wipers for any splits or tears and replace them. Enter your van and test squirting screen wash on the front and back screens to check if wipers are clearing the windows correctly. Inspect your windows for any chips or cracks, if you discover any, have them repaired.
Ask a family member or friend to assist you in checking your exterior lights. Whilst you sit in the van and test each light, ask them to walk around the vehicle and to check if any of the lights aren’t working. Refer to your service manual for instructions on how to change any bulbs that need replacing.
Check all your tyre treads are not below the minimum 1.6mm legal depth. A tip is to place a 20p coin in the tread grooves. If the outer edge of the coin is completely hidden then the tyre tread depth is ok.
Inspect both your number plates to check that they’re clean and have no cracks. If you discover any damage that causes any numbers or letters to be incorrectly spaced then unless you have this replaced your van will fail its MOT.
All your van doors must open and close freely. Once you’ve shut them, they must remain closed. Front and back doors should be able to open from the inside and outside of your van.
CHECKING YOUR VAN INTERIOR
Check that all your seatbelts are in good condition with no fraying or damage. They must be able to lock securely and smoothly when you pull on them and can be released correctly.
Your horn is a simple but necessary test. Just a quick toot will let you know if it’s working correctly.
Inspect your rear-view and wing mirrors. Ensure that they’re clean and don’t have any damage to the mirrors, so you have a clear view when looking at them.
Ensure you’ve enough fuel in your van for the emissions test. Failing to have sufficient fuel in your van could lead to the tester refusing to carry out the MOT.
Warning lights on your dashboard are an indicator that something needs attention. Make sure you get this checked out before the test date. Delaying the investigation into the problem could cause even greater damage to your van.
An MOT pass is no guarantee that your van will remain completely safe for the next 12 months. Ignoring maintenance work to your van is a false economy, as it’ll only cost you more in repair work in the long run. A less reliable van will increase the likelihood of you needing to call a breakdown provider. With that in mind, here are some things you could do to keep your van on the road and in its best condition:
- Book an annual service to help identify any problems early
- Make regular checks to the interior and exterior
- Carry out any repair work as soon as possible