PREPARING A 2CV FOR THE ANNUAL MOT
All 2CVs are at least 25 years old and subject to the annual MOT test. The list below attempts to give the owner some tips and checks to carry out, before going for the test, which may avoid a FAIL. The MOT is a minimum safety standard, not a guarantee of a vehicle's condition or roadworthiness.
It's easy enough to check that all your lights and the horn are working although you may need an accomplice to check the brake lights. You should also check to see that various combinations of lights work together as poor connections, particularly earth connections, can result in strange things happening when indicators and brake lights are on together. We've all followed cars on which brake lights wink alternately with indicators when the brakes are applied - make sure yours don't! The rear fog light is prone to corrosion as it is usually mounted in an exposed position so don't forget to check that it and its warning light are both OK (with dipped beam on).
Make sure wiper blades are in good condition and not starting to shred. Not only will worn wiper blades lead to a FAIL they can also damage your windscreen. Top up the washer reservoir and make sure the nozzles are aimed correctly.
The standard tyre size for 2CV saloons is 125x15. Many owners are switching to 135x15 for reasons of cost. The two sizes must not be mixed on the same axle. There must be no cuts or bulges in the tyres and at least 1.6mm of tread depth in a continuous band comprising three-quarters of the breadth of the tread round the entire outer circumference of the tyre (see diagram). From a safety point of view it is advisable to replace tyres at the very latest when tread depth is down to 2mm. Pressures should be 20psi front and 27psi rear.
Rust is a common problem in 2CVs. Load bearing areas of chassis and bodywork will be checked for rust during the test. Many 2CVs have now been fitted with galvanised chassis and these should be fine but if you still have an original chassis you need to check for rust. As regards bodywork, check the sills, around the seat belt mountings and on inner rear wings around the bump stops. Check for corrosion in the floor panels particularly around the seat runners .
This page is not an exhaustive list. Click on the MOT logo to view or download the full MOT tester's manual.
Rear seat belts are required for vehicles registered after 31st March 1987. Check that there is no corrosion where the front belts are mounted on the inner sill or where the central stalks are located on the chassis between the seats. If rear seat belts are fitted check for corrosion round the mountings on the inner wing. If inertia reel belts are fitted the mechanism must take up all the slack when the seat is unoccupied. The webbing must be in good condition and the locking mechanism must secure and release the belts correctly. The driver's seat must be capable of being adjusted fore and aft in two or three positions and lockable in the desired position.
These tend to be a favourite source of failure with some MOT testers. They are 'old technology' not found on modern cars.The MOT manual states the following:-
"It is not possible to lay down precise limits but the following may be helpful as a guide in determining acceptable wear at king pins. With the wheel braked, note the total amount of movement at the wheel rim when the wheel is rocked. For a 50cm wheel this should not exceed 10mm. The maximum for other wheel diameters should be in proportion to this figure".
"The king pin is loose in axle beam or its pin retaining device is missing. Excessive play in king pin and/or bush such that it is likely to adversely affect the steering of the vehicle."
Reasons for failing a car on worn king pins are given as follows:-
LIGHTS & HORN
WINDSCREEN WIPERS & WASHERS
TYRES
CORROSION
SEATS & SEAT BELTS
KING PINS /STEERING
EXHAUST SYSTEM
There must be no holes in the system or leaks where various parts of the system are joined. The mounting brackets and rubber straps must be secure and in good condition. "Excessive" noise from an exhaust system is a reason for failure. The emission of various gases in the exhaust system is part of the MOT test but it is not possible to check that yourself. The permitted levels vary according to the age of the engine fitted in the vehicle (not the age of the vehicle itself, so if your car has been fitted with a replacement engine you may need to prove its age to the test station if there is a problem with its emissions as older engines are allowed higher emissions). If your tester cannot get the car within the specified limits you could try gently screwing in the mixture control on the carb to see if that reduces the emissions but once the engine starts to hesitate don't screw it in any further as you could damage the pointed end of the screw which will make getting the correct mixture impossible.
BRAKES
If the level of fluid in your brake reservoir has been falling you shouldn't wait for the MOT before investigating! On disc-brake cars it is normal for the brake fluid level to drop slightly as the pads wear over time. The brake cylinders on the rear wheels of a 2CV have a habit of seizing up so if you suspect that has happened you may want to remove the rear drums and check that the wheel cylinders are operating correctly. There must be no sign of leaks and brake pipes must be free of corrosion. Make sure the parking brake lever travel isn't excessive, particularly on cars with front disc brakes.
Jack up your car and pump in plenty of grease before you go for the test.
The steering lever ball-joints must be free from play and, viewed from the side, should appear level i.e. with the cups centrally located on the ball of the steering-arm. If this is not the case, the steering may well bind and be unable to reach full lock - excessive wear will also result. The rubber covers on the steering ball joints must be free from splits or tears.

The 2CV need not have a steering lock as this requirement only applies to cars first used after 1/9/2001.
With effect from January 2012 the condition of a vehicle's wiring will be checked. Wiring looms must be secured by clips and insulation must be in good condition. On 2CVs check that the loom from the bulkhead to the lamp bar is secured by cable ties to the air filter housing and that it cannot come into contact with the heat exchanger or manifold. The battery must be securely mounted and free from electrolyte leaks.
WIRING
With effect from January 2012 the colour emitted by lights will be checked. The front indicator lenses on 2CVs have a habit of fading. Make sure they appear amber, not white, when flashing. If in doubt fit new lenses or amber coloured bulbs.
DRIVESHAFTS
Both the inner and outer rubber gaiters must be free from splits and capable of preventing the ingress of dust and dirt.
N.B. There is a special exemption for 2CVs. They do not need to be fitted with a main beam warning lamp as it was never fitted for the UK market. This should flag up on the tester's screen when he enters the details of the car.
FUEL SYSTEM
Ever since Ethanol has been added to fuel there has been concern that it dissolves flexible fuel lines and rubber seals, causing leaks. Any leak in the system is a reason to FAIL the MOT so check the hoses from the front chassis leg to the fuel pump and from the pump to the carb. There is another flexible hose from the top of the fuel tank to the plastic pipe (this may have been replaced by metal pipe) which runs from the back of the car to the front chassis leg. This is more difficult to check but the smell of fuel or signs of a leak under the tank after the car has been parked should be investigated. When purchasing new flexible hose check the percentage ethanol which it can withstand is at least 10%. Check that the rubber sealing washer in the filler cap is in good condition and gives an effective seal between the cap and the neck.
Check headlamp aim.
Exhaust system replacement
Parking brake adjustment
less than 1.6mm tread
Centre 3/4 of tyre not
Breadth of tyre
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