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Ka MOT Guide
Much of this information is taken from www.ukmot.com a great information source. This has been combined with specific experience from Ka Owners Klub GB. Below is the specific information from ukmot.com with experience notes from Ka Klub in bluePlease note that all advice is just advice.  If in doubt talk to your garage or MOT tester.  If you spot anything that is wrong or you wish to change, please use the Contact Form to let us know.
With the Ford Ka launched in 1996, most owners of the original Ka will now have an MOT each year.  According to ukmot.com for Ford Ka's manufacturered in the following years, these are the failure rates:
1997, 51.7%
1998, 45.1%
1999, 44.1%
2000, 40.6%
2001, 34.8%
2002, 32.5%
2003, 29.3%
2004, 21%.
2005, 19%
2006, no data
2007, 25%
The most common fault for all cars were lights, followed by tyres and wheels, then drivers view of the road.  For the Ka the data looks like this:
For Ka's, the data shows that suspension, lights and brakes to be the biggest causes of failure.  On the Ka lower arms and bushes can wear badly.  Lower arms can crack and bushes can split.  It is not an expensive repair and as handling is such a key part of the appeal of the Ka, it should be a priority fix. 
Light failures are the cheapest to fix, though changing the headlight bullbs can be a frustrating job as there is so little room between the engine and the lights.  Some people advocate removing the plastic liner of the wheel arch to improve access, or even the whole front bumper.
Brakes on a the Ka are not the strongest point.  So it your brakes do fail why not take the opportunity to upgrade the pads, or the discs and pads.  
A tip from ukmot.com for avoiding MOT failures is to take your car to an MOT station that does not do repairs. Many councils have their own MOT test centers for council vehicles but the law says that they must be open to the public. Using a council run MOT test center means that they do not have an incentive to fail your car on the grounds that they can get work out of you. There is also no incentive to fail your car for faults that don't exist. You may miss out on a 'Cheap MOT deal' but in general the pass rate will be a lot higher and the work needed a lot lower. Click here for ukmot.com list of council test centers.
Many Ka Klubbers advocate independent, local garages that they know and trust.  Not everyone out there is determined to rip you off and once you have found a garage that you trust, like that staff and have lower prices than main dealers or national chains, it is often a rewarding relationship in looking after your Ka and their business.

Inside the car
Anti-lock braking system (if fitted) warning lamp is checked for:
• Function.
• Sequence of operation. Footbrake
• Reserve travel on the footbrake so that it does not go down to the floor
• Pedal rubber not worn to excess
• Correct operation of the servo assistance system.

Reserve brake
This could be a handbrake or a footbrake.
Checked for reserve travel so that it does not reach the stops on application.
The mountings will be checked for security and /or corrosion.

Under bonnet checks
• Master cylinder and servo unit are checked for fluid leaks with the engine on and the brakes applied.
• Servo unit will be checked to ensure it is operating correctly.
• Visible metal or flexible brake pipes will be checked for corrosion, condition, breakages or leaks.

Under Vehicle checks
With an assistant applying load to the footbrake:
• Flexible brake pipes and any other metal brake pipes visible beneath the car are checked
• Disks and drums checked for condition and contamination
• Brake back plates and calliper securing devices are checked for condition and security
• Condition of the brake pads will be checked if visible
• An assistant operates the handbrake while the condition of the linkages and/or cables is checked.
• On some vehicles there will be a brake compensating valve beneath the car which will need to be inspected for fluid leaks

Brake performance check
The performance of the front and rear brakes will be checked for efficiency and balance using specialised equipment.

Both front doors must be capable of being opened from the inside and outside and all doors must latch securely.

Tailgates, bootlids etc.

All these items, must be capable of being secured in the closed position.

These are checked using specialised equipment, the details of the check depending on the year that the vehicle was first used on the road. Excessive smoking is a reason for failure. Diesel emissions are checked by using a smoke meter.

Any fuel leak will result in a fail. Checked under the bonnet and throughout the run of the fuel line from the fuel tank to the engine.
• The fuel filler cap must fasten securely
• The seal in the cap must not be torn, deteriorated or missing
• No other defect should be present which could cause fuel to leak out.

• Operation.
• Control should be easily reached by the driver.
• Volume must be sufficiently audible to pedestrians and other vehicles.
• The tone should not consist of a sequential multi-tone.

All required lights are checked for:
• Operation
• Condition
• Security

Side lights and headlamps:
• Acceptable make/model.
• Dip and aim must be within specified perameters Stop lights, indicators and hazard lights*
• Acceptable make/model
• Lights, indicators and hazard lights must not interfere with each other whilst in operation.
• Indicators, stop lights and hazard warning lights function. Rear fog lamps**
• Must be fitted to the centre or offside of the vehicle.
• Tell-tale must work.
• Must not be affected by other lamps and not be obscured.
• Must be red.

Number plate lamps

All original lamps must be fitted and working.

Rear reflectors
There must be two reflectors fitted reasonably symmetrically, securely attached and not obscured.
* Must be fitted to all vehicles first used on or after 1st April 1986, but if fitted, must be tested.
** Must be fitted to all vehicles first used on or after 1st April 1980.
The clear and smoked rear lights that can be purchased commercially seem to pose no problem for an MOT.  Ensuring that the rear brake and tail lights shine red is an issue if you have tinted your lights, either dark, or to match the colour of the Ka.  You can legally tint the lights, but it is an inexact science and there have been cases in modified Ka's where the rear lights have been tinted so dark that whilst they look good for appearance, the visibility of the brake signal when travelling in convoy has been difficult to see.  The best advice is to apply the layers of tint gradually.
To determine what is an acceptable make and model of aftermarket light, look for the E-marking.  If it has not got this, steer clear.

Not all mirrors on all vehicles are subject to Test, depending on the age of the vehicle. Those mirrors which must be checked must be:

• Secure
• Visible from the drivers seat
• Not distorted or damaged so as to seriously impair the drivers view to the rear

REGISTRATION PLATES AND VIN* (Vehicle Identification Number)
For registered vehicles the plate must be:
• Present
• Secure
• Not faded, dirty or obscured
• Be composed with correctly formed letters and spacing

The VIN number must be
• Permanently displayed.
• Consistent · Legible.

* Required on all vehicles first used on or after 1st August 1980.
Many people have private registration plates and you should have a fully legal set of these on your Ka.  If you wish, you can have a show set made up and put these on the Ka for shows. Some people spend the time unscrewing one set and replacing with the show plate.  Others use velcro to attach the plates.  Another option is to stick a set of magnets behind each legal number plate and a set of magnets to the back of your show plate and just clip in on for each show.

Most vehicles after 1965 must have seat belts, irrespective of that requirement, all seat belts fitted to any vehicle must be inspected for:

• Security of seat belt mountings and locking stalks
• Security and operation of the locking/release mechanism
• Condition of webbing
• Retraction of the belt (it is permissable to manually feed it in).

1. For technical reasons the inertia locking mechanism is not checked.
2. On some vehicles the belt is attached to the seat, in which case the security of the seat to the vehicle would also constitute part of the seat belt check.

• The driver's and the front passenger's seats must be secure
• All seat backs must be securable in the upright position.

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.

• 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
When bigger wheels have been fitted, especially 16" and above, (though it can happen on 15" wheels depending on offset and lowering) the wheels can foul brake pipes and hoses, or the edges of the arches.  A steering rack limiter can be fitted which restricts the full lock that can be achieved to avoid this, however it does make parking harder as you can turn the wheels less.

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.

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.

Tyre condition
A failure with respect to tyre wear will result where:
• The grooves of the tread pattern are not at least 1.6mm throughout a continuous band comprising:
• Central 3/4 of the breadth of tread
• Entire outer circumference of the tyre.

Tyres must be correctly matched with regard to:
• Type
• Size
• Structure
• Location on the vehicle with respect to the axles.

Also examined:
• General condition of tyre
• Condition of valve

Tyres fail if they have serious cuts, bulges or other damage. The wear on the tyre is checked with a tyre tread depth gauge to ensure compliance. The tyres are examined to ensure that there is no fouling with any part of the vehicle.

The condition of the spare tyre is not part of the MOT.

Wheel condition
Inspection to reveal:
• Damage
• Distortion
• Cracks
• Distorted bead rims
• How securely attached to the vehicle
• No wheel-nuts or studs missing

An externally fitted spare wheel or spare wheel carrier must not be so insecure that it is likely to fall off.
With the position of the spare wheel on the Ka, carried under the Ka, many people remove it all together and choose tyre weld instead.  If you have upgraded to bigger wheels, then it is worth ditching the spare tyre and carrying tyre weld instead as it is just extra weight.

Body condition and security
• The vehicle body must not insecure or displaced so as to constitute a risk of loss of control of the vehicle when driven, or a danger to other road users.
• There must be no dangerous sharp edges or projections caused by corrosion or damage

A vehicle can fail with respect to corrosion for:
• Excessive corrosion in a 'prescribed area' - within 30 cms of certain components, e.g. brakes, steering, suspension, seat belt mountings etc.
• Excessive corrosion in a 'prescribed area', but which is likely to adversely affect the vehicle's brakes or steering.

'Excessive corrosion' can mean a hole or a significantly weakened structure.
The problem areas for the Ka are the sills. You can have a look yourself by opening the front doors and lifting up the rubber seal and the carpet around the sills.  In the worst case corrosion or even a hole will be clearly visible. However sanding back and rust treating the area, or cutting out and welding a new piece of metal can solve this.

The inspection has to ascertain all items affecting the driver's view of the road: the condition of the windscreen, the wipers and washers.
Sunstrips are the issue here.  The experience tends to be that if the wipers miss the sunstrip, you will probably be ok and they may let you keep it on.  If the wipers hit any part of the sunstrip then it is a fail.  Some testers will give you a technical note for any sticker on the windscreen other than your tax disc.  The technical note is not a failure, just something the inspector is pointing out to you. 
Some people fit smaller wipers to try and avoid the wipers touching the sunstrip.  The cost of a new sunstrip is probably a better option than messing around with smaller wipers.
Your MOT certificate confirms that at the time of the test your vehicle met, as far as can be reasonably determined without dismantling, the minimum acceptable environmental and road safety standards required by law. It does not mean that the vehicle is roadworthy for the life of the certificate and is not a substitute for regular maintenance.

The new MOT certificate is your receipt for the MOT test. It shows the information that is held on the MOT database. The certificate is no longer proof of an MOT and should not be relied on as such. Only the computer record can prove a vehicle has a valid MOT.



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