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Roadworthiness and the MoT test

Moving parts will wear out over time, no matter how well a car is serviced and cared for. When it comes to brakes, you may unconsciously adjust your driving to compensate for their deterioration. Rust can be quite content with its destructive work for a long time before it is discovered. This is why Kenya’s Ministry of Transport should institute an annual test.

Previously, this only applied to the brakes, lights, and steering. It is well worth thoroughly inspecting the vehicle just before it is due for a test.

There is no particular order in which the checks should be performed, but a good place to start is to sit in the car and check the steering wheel for play in any direction. By wobbling each front wheel top and bottom, front and back, you can check the front suspension and steering wear.

Make sure there is no play in any of the suspension or steering pivots and that the rubber boot around the drive shaft joints is not split before the MoT test.

Working under the car with the jack is never a good idea. Axle stands should always be placed beneath a solid component, such as a spring platform. It is worthwhile to look under the hood. A conscientious tester will confirm this by having a helper press firmly but intermittently on the brake pedal while you check for movement in the fluid reservoir. If there is, inspect any mounting bolts; if all else fails, visit a garage.

Examine the drive shafts and universal joints for worn out rubbers, as well as split rubber boots or gaiters that allow lubricant to escape and water to enter. A silencer with a hole is not worth attempting to repair; instead, replace it or have it replaced. It will not suffice for the MoT test. Examine the brake lines under the car for corrosion. If in doubt, replace the offending pipe for your own peace of mind and the sake of the MoT. Look for areas of major corrosion on the body/chassis, prodding any likely patches with a screwdriver; rust in a door, such as a door sill, would cause failure.