Car MOT Manual 2012 onwards

- 2.1 Steering Control

Before carrying out this inspection, make sure that any mechanism for adjusting the steering column is fully locked. Exert reasonable pressure only on the steering wheel, particularly when the steering column is collapsible.

If power steering is fitted, the engine must be running for all checks requiring steering movement.

To fully inspect some components it may be necessary to examine them from under-bonnet, underside or in the foot well area, using an inspection lamp and an assistant to operate the steering where necessary.

For tricycles and quadricycles fitted with handlebars see Section 9.2.

The inspection of the steering lock only applies to passenger cars with:

• a steering lock fitted as standard by the manufacturer, and
• four or more wheels, and
• not more than 8 passenger seats excluding the drivers seat, and
• first used on or after 1 September 2001 The check does not apply to quadricycles.

If there is doubt as to whether a steering lock was originally fitted, the benefit of the doubt should be given.
It is acceptable for a steering lock to be removed if it has been replaced with another immobilisation device.

Some electronic steering locks, generally on vehicles with keyless ignition systems, will only activate when the drivers door is opened/closed.
Method of Inspection
1. Check the strength and condition including any modifications of the steering wheel by applying reasonable force.

2. Push the steering wheel rim in various directions at right angles to the column, while applying light pressure downward and upward. Check for:

a. insecurity of adjustable steering column
b. movement between column shaft and steering wheel
c. excessive play in top column bearing
d. insecurity at column top mounting bracket.

3. Pull and push the steering wheel in line with the column. Check for any movement at the centre of the steering wheel.

Note: Certain types of steering column e.g. those fitted with universal joints or flexible couplings may show some movement which is not due to excessive wear or deterioration.

a. With the engine running, turn the steering wheel clockwise and anti-clockwise and check that any steering lock mechanism does not engage
b. remove the ignition key if appropriate and turn the steering wheel in either direction and check that the steering lock mechanism engages
c. on vehicles with an electronic steering lock, check that a system malfunction warning is not displayed.

5. Turn the steering wheel clockwise and anticlockwise, checking steering column couplings and clamp bolts for security.

6. Check the presence and security of retaining and locking devices.

Note: It is not always possible to determine the presence and effectiveness of certain types of locking devices e.g. locking fluid or nyloc nuts.
Reason for Rejection
1. Steering wheel weakened by modification, cracks, fractures, in a condition that hampers proper control or likely to injure the drivers hands.

Note: Cracks or incompleteness of the covering skin of a steering wheel or hub, are not a reason for rejection.

2. a. an adjustable steering column will not lock in a fixed position
b. movement between the shaft and steering wheel
c. excessive radial movement play at the top of the steering column between the column and the shaft indicating a badly worn top bearing

Note: Some vehicles have flexible top bearings for the steering column. With these more than average movement is acceptable.

d. insecurity at the steering column top mounting bracket.

3. Excessive steering shaft end float.

4. a. A steering lock mechanism inadvertently engaging
b. a steering lock mechanism missing or fails to engage
c. an electronic steering lock system malfunction warning displayed.

5. Insecurity, excessive play or deterioration of a flexible coupling or universal joint.

6. A retaining or locking device missing or insecure.

Reproduced from the MOT Inspection Manual by kind permission of THE VEHICLE INSPECTORATE.

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