Avoiding MOT Failure

Steering & Suspension

Inside the car checks
Steering wheel and steering column:
Steering wheel condition
The steering wheel must be securely attached to the steering shaft
The upper bearings of the steering
column are inspected for wear
The steering shaft is checked for excessive end float
Clamping bolts security
The split pins and locking nuts
The 'free play' in the steering
Flexible couplings and universal joints.

Under the bonnet checks
Vary according to the vehicle;
Some of these items cannot be observed from under the bonnet on some makes and models. However in all cases checks
will be made for:
The security of the steering rack or steering box and its mountings
Any discernible play in the steering joints
Swivel joints which form part of the steering system which can be readily inspected from under the bonnet will obviously be inspected.

Steering & suspension
The new test includes a check on the presence and correct function of the steering lock where fitted as standard.
Missing, or split/damaged dust covers on steering and suspension ball-joints will result in failure if they will allow dirt to enter the joint.

Power steering fluid level must be above the minimum level indicated on the reservoir.

Whilst the vehicle stands on special Swivel plates the wheels are turned from lock to lock and checked to ensure that wheels and tyres do not foul of either the structure of the vehicle or any brake pipes or hoses.
Wheel bearings are checked.
Steering rack gaiters/front outer constant velocity joint boots are examined.
Metal and rubber bushes are checked as

Under vehicle checks
All the steering joints.
Power steering systems.
Security of attachment of the steering rack or steering box is checked both with respect to tightness of the nuts and bolts, and structural cracking or corrosion of the vehicle chassis where it is attached.
Also, split pins/locking nuts and other locking or retaining devices relate to steering components. Some cars have an element of rear wheel steering which is checked from beneath the car. The front suspension is checked, but also the rear for:
Excessive wear to Wheel bearings.
Condition of front drive shafts/CV joints.

More Information

Steering Wheel >>>
Steering Mechanism >>>
Wheels & Tyres >>>

Steering & Suspension

Under bonnet checks
• Upper suspension joints
• Any other suspension components which can be inspected from beneath the bonnet

Under vehicle checks
Both the front and rear suspension are checked to ensure.
• No split pins or nuts missing, no components broken or bent
• Road springs function effectively, no excessive wear
• Suspension joints function effectively, no excessive wear
• Shock absorbers must not leak and must be secure (the vehicle will be 'bounced' by the Tester to check that they damp the springs adequately).

Suspension is checked for wear by the assistant applying loads in various ways with the wheels jacked up whilst the Tester observes the result from beneath the vehicle.

Electronic Stability Control
Checks of antilock brakes will be extended to include Electronic Stability Control if fitted. The tester will check for the presence and correct operation of the ESC malfunction warning light together with looking for obviously missing, excessively damaged or inappropriately repaired or modified components and electrical wiring, as well as an ESC switch missing, insecure or faulty.

These tests need an assistant.

Jack the car up so that the front wheels are off the ground.

Have your assistant turn the wheel from side to side slightly while you grab each of the front wheels in turn and check for excessive play. Play in the steering could be due to a worn steering rack, coupling or insecurity of the steering column. All would fail an MOT.

While you assistant turns the wheel more vigourously examine all the joints and linkages for signs of wear or damage. Everything should remain solid. Watch your fingers! Make sure no pieces rattle or wobble. Any worn or damage peices must be replaced including the rubber bushes at the linkage joints. The rubber must be solid. Old bushes can become to pliable to do their job. If you check all the bushes a worn one should stand out from the rest by providing more movement than the rest. It is unlikely that all the bushes would need replacing at the same time so worn ones should stand out.

Check power sterring pump for any signs of leakage and as prevoiusly mentioned check that the steering goes lighter when engine is running. Check the condition of the belts that drive the pully wheel on the front of the pump and the hoses/pipes that come from the pump.

Make sure that all suspension parts are secure and intact. Also any torsion bars, hyraulic displacer units etc. Check mountings and brackets for any sign of excess wear or damge/corrosion. Any hydraulic suspension pipes should be checked for leakage and damage.

Further Help
Check suspension
Check steering

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