MOT Test of Steering | What is checked for MOT

MOT Test of steering

MOT Test of Steering (2)

Whilst the actual MOT test of steering is substantially unchanged, there are some aspects where there are subtle differences from the Tester’s point of view. However for motorists doing their best to check their vehicle’s steering for the MOT, much the same applies. Here are the checks the average motorist can do prior to the Test:

Under bonnet checks

This varies vehicle to vehicle; some of these items cannot be observed from under the bonnet on some makes and models.

  • security of the steering rack or steering box and its mountings
  • play in steering joints
  • Inspection of any other swivel joints which form part of the vehicles’ steering system which can be readily inspected from under the bonnet

Under vehicle checks:

  • All the steering joints are inspected by the Tester whilst the steering is loaded by turning the steering wheel from side to side, or by the use of approved wheel play detectors
    View short clip of play detectors being used here
  • Power steering systems are checked with the engine running
  • The security of attachment of the steering rack or steering box is checked both with respect to the tightness of nuts and bolts, and structural cracking or corrosion of the vehicle chassis where it is attached
  • Whilst the vehicle stands on special swivel plates the wheels are turned from lock to lock and checked for smoothness of operation and to ensure that the wheels and tyres do not foul either the structure of the vehicle or any brake pipes or hoses
  • with the wheels jacked the wheel bearings are checked
  • steering rack gaiters and front outer constant velocity joint boots are examined
  • metal and/or rubber bushes are checked as are split pins, locking nuts and other locking or retaining devices which relate to steering components
  • On some cars there will be rear wheel steering which is checked from beneath the car

MOT Test of tyres and wheels here

Steering gear condition

The following categories apply to defects in this section:

DefectCategory
a. Excessive roughness in operation of steering
Major
b. Sector shaft:
i. twisted or splines excessively worn
Major
ii. twisted or splines worn to the extent that functionality is affected
Dangerous
c. Sector shaft:
i. excessively worn
Major
ii. worn to the extent that functionality is affected
Dangerous
d. Sector shaft:
i. has excessive movement
Major
ii. movement so excessive that functionality is affected
Dangerous
d. Steering box:
i. leaking oil
Minor
ii. leaking to the extent that oil is dripping
Major

Steering gear security

‘Steering gear’ refers to any steering rack, box, idler, relay or intermediate drop arm pivot housing.

The following categories apply to defects in this section:

DefectCategory
a. Steering gear casing:
i. not properly attached
Major
ii. retaining devices dangerously loose or relative movement to chassis/bodywork visible
Dangerous
b. Steering gear casing fixing holes in chassis:
i. elongated
Major
ii. elongated to the extent that attachment is seriously affected
Dangerous
c. Steering gear fixing bolts:
i. missing or ineffective
Major
ii. missing or ineffective to the extent that attachment is seriously affected
Dangerous
d. Steering gear casing:
i. fractured
Major
ii. fractured and stability or attachment of casing affected
Dangerous
d. The strength or continuity of the load bearing structure within 30cm of any steering component mounting (a ‘prescribed area’):
i. is significantly reduced or inadequately repaired
Major
ii. is so weakened that control of the vehicle is likely to be adversely affectedDangerous

Steering linkage condition

The following categories apply to defects in this section:

DefectCategory
a. Steering linkage component with:
i. relative movement between components which should be fixed
Major
ii. excessive movement between components or likely to become detachedDangerous
b. A steering ball joint:
i. with excessive wear or free play
Major
ii. worn to the extent there is a serious risk of detachmentDangerous
c. A steering linkage component:
i. fractured or deformed
Major
ii. fractured or deformed to the extent that steering is affected
Dangerous
d. Steering linkage retaining or locking device missing or ineffective
Major
e. Track rod or drag link ends seriously misaligned
Major
f. A steering linkage component:
i. with an unsafe modification
Major
ii. modified to the extent that steering is affected
Dangerous
g. Steering rack gaiter or ball joint dust cover:
i. damaged or deteriorated
Minor
ii. missing or no longer prevents the ingress of dirt etc.
Major

Steering linkage operation

A missing steering lock stop should only be failed if it was fitted as standard.

The following categories apply to defects in this section:

DefectCategory
a. Steering linkage fouling any part of the vehicle
Major
b. Steering lock-stop missing or incorrectly adjusted
Major

Power steering

If power steering isn’t working, the Tester may have to do a road test to check if the steering is adversely affected.

Power steering fluid leaks will only be rejected where a component, joint or seal has failed.

If the power steering has a defect, that could be detectable during driving. The vehicle may be continually trying to steer to one side or the other. Or it could be very stiff – or stiff one way and not the other. Fluid leaks will show on the floor directly beneath the steering system. In any situation where the steering is adversely affected by a power steering defect, that would be considered as a ‘dangerous’ defect.

Also check the level of the power steering fluid in the reservoir. If it is empty that is a fail. But if that is the case, there may be a leak of fluid, which of itself is also an MOT failure

The following categories apply to defects in this section:

DefectCategory
a. Power steering fluid leaking or system malfunctioning
Major
b. Power steering fluid:
i. level below minimum mark
Minor
ii. reservoir empty
Major
c. Power steering:
i. inoperative
Major
ii. inoperative and steering adversely affected
Dangerous
d. Power steering component:
i. fractured or insecure
Major
ii. fractured or insecure and steering adversely affected
Dangerous
e. Power steering component:
i. fouling or misaligned
Major
ii. fouling or misaligned and steering adversely affected
Dangerous
f. Power steering component:
i. with an unsafe modification
Major
ii. modified and steering adversely affected
Dangerous
g. Power steering pipe, hose or wiring:
i. excessively damaged or corroded
Major
ii. excessively damaged or corroded and steering adversely affected
Dangerous

Steering wheel and column

The following categories apply to defects in this section:

DefectCategory
a. Relative movement between steering wheel and column:
i. indicating looseness
Major
ii. such that there is a serious risk of detachment
Dangerous
b. Steering wheel:
i. retaining device missing
Major
ii. likely to become detached
Dangerous
c. Steering wheel rim or spokes:
i. fractured or loose
Major
ii. likely to become detachedDangerous

Steering column

The Tester will check for play and condition of flexible couplings or universal joints.

The following categories apply to defects in this section:

DefectCategory
a. Excessive movement of centre of steering wheel up or down
Major
b. Excessive radial movement between the top of the steering column and the shaft indicating an excessively worn top bearingMajor
c. Excessive deterioration of a flexible couplingMajor
d. Attachment of steering column:
i. defective
Major
ii. defective or loose to the extent that there is a serious risk of detachment
Dangerous
e. Unsafe modification to steering column, forks or fork yokeMajor

Steering play

The Tester will check for play in the steering by sitting in the car and turning the steering wheel and seeing how far it turns without turning the road wheels.

The Tester will allow for construction of the mechanism and the size of the steering wheel.

The following categories apply to defects in this section:

DefectCategory
a. Free play in the steering, measured at the rim of the steering wheel is:
i. excessive
Major
ii. excessive to the extent that safe steering is affected
Dangerous

Electronic power steering (EPS)

If electronic power steering is an optional fitment on the vehicle but it’s been disconnected, the vehicle will only be failed if the steering is adversely affected. A road test may have to be carried out by the Tester to check this.

If a vehicle has a manually switched electronic park assist but the power assistance isn’t working, the vehicle will only be failed if the steering is adversely affected. The Tester may have to do a road test to check this.

For ‘fly by wire’ steering systems, the Tester will check that the steered wheels are pointing straight ahead with the steering wheel in the straight ahead position.

The following categories apply to defects in this section:

DefectCategory
a. EPS MIL indicating a system malfunction
Major
b. On ‘fly by wire systems’, the angle of the steering wheel and the angle of the road wheels is:
i. inconsistent
Major
ii. inconsistent to the extent that safe steering is affected
Dangerous
c. Electronic power assistance not working
Major

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