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Condition, operation and performance. Suitable vehicles will be tested on a roller brake tester. Vehicles such as those with permanent 4-wheel drive will be tested either on a suitable road using a properly calibrated and maintained brake testing gauge or, if one is installed at the test station, a plate brake tester.

Braking system

Testing procedure

The braking system will be subject to two detailed inspections. One will be an inspection of the physical brake components. The other will be a test to determine the brake efficiency. The MOT inspector check the brake pedal for travel and excessive free play in it's mounting. he/she will then inspect the individual braking components for wear. and leakage. This will include but is not limited to brake servo unit, brake master cylinder, brake pipes and mechanical braking components.

The second test will usually be carried out on a rolling road brake testing machine. This machine will test the performance of the cars braking system. The test will determines if the braking system is safe for the road. It will take a reading from each wheel. This will help determine brake efficiency and brake balancing.

Common faults

  • Excessively worn pads/shoes can often result in an MOT failure. Brake pads and shoes are designed to wear through time due to use. The lining component will wear when it rubs against the brake disk or brake shoe. When the lining wears down it is possible for contact to occur between the metal of the pad and the disk. When this happens the disk will become scored. A scored disk will reduce the braking efficiency on the effected brake unit. You should regularly inspect your brake pads and shoes, or have them inspected for you by a competent mechanic. If components are worn they should be replaced.
  • Brake fluid leaks will always result in a vehicle failing it's MOT test. Cars use a hydraulic system to operate the brakes. Fluid leaks can cause severe loss of braking efficiency. Hydraulic braking systems should be inspected at every service and any faults repaired.
  • Hand brake not operating to within MOT standards. The handbrake needs to be able to meet a certain level of effectiveness in order to pass the mot test. It is important to ensure the actual brakes have been adjusted correctly, and not just the hand brake cable. By simply taking up the free play in the handbrake cable you will create an illusion of the handbrake lever feeling tighter. The truth of the matter is this will not improve the overall effectiveness of the handbrake by much. It may however reduce the braking efficiency of the main braking system. If you are not sure how to make adjustments to your braking system please consult a competent mechanic.
  • Uneven braking performance will be diagnosed during the MOT test using a rolling road brake testing machine. Uneven braking needs to be further investigated. It can often be a result of brake component wear or uneven adjustment of the braking system.

Also see: brake maintenance

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