Mitsubishi FTO and the MOT - Lighting

Mitsubishi FTO and the MOT - Lighting

Although this section should be relatively straightforward, apart from the odd duff bulb, there are still a few areas where the FTO owner can fall foul of the MOT test.

At the front for the MOT test basically what you should have is a pair of sidelights also known as position lights plus a pair of headlights that contain both main (high) and dipped (low) beams - or as one of our customers preferred - brights and dims. All of the former should show a white light when illuminated. On pre-facelift models, the side light is incorporated in the front indicator assembly whereas on the later 1997on versions the sidelight is part of the headlamp assembly.

The MOT tester will check that all lamps are securely fixed and that the alignment of your car's headlamps is correct. If the aim is wonky then it's normally just a few minutes work to correct during the test. On dipped beam only the 2 outer lamps are illuminated and when you switch to main or high beam the 2 outer lamps stay on and the 2 inner lamps illuminate additionally.

The tester will also check that the main beam warning light in the instrument cluster is operating correctly.HID (high intensity discharge) headlamps are a fairly rare option on the later facelift models. Even with this option, only the outer or dipped beam is of the HID type, with the main or high beam retaining a conventional halogen type of bulb. Theoretically HID lamps should have a longer lifespan than conventional halogen lamps, but when they do go wrong, replacement parts are expensive. The weak link appears to be the electronic ballast unit fitted beneath each light unit and if they do go on the blink then it's a pricey dealer part only job. Be careful when you are playing about with these high voltage units because they do pack a punch that would fry a heart pacemaker.

Whether your FTO is fitted with conventional halogen or HID headlamps, they tend to suffer from the same problem with the lacquer lifting on the external part of the outer plastic cover. At it's worst this problem could cause an MOT failure. At best it further compromises the already somewhat marginal efficiency of the standard headlamps. The plastic covers, as I seem to have told at least a million customers, is not replaceable and the only way to treat this problem is to completely remove the flaking lacquer using very fine grit wet and dry abrasive paper and then repolishing the whole surface with a fine cutting paste. It's certainly not beyond a capable DIYer, but it is a very time consuming process, particularly as you should ideally remove the headlamp units from the car for the best results - and that entails removing, or at least loosening the front bumper assembly to get the things out. Happy days.

You will also need a pair of front indicators and side repeaters that, in both cases, should flash orange when operated by either the column indicator switch or hazard warning switch. For forward facing lamps any colour other than white, or orange in the case of indicators, could constitute an MOT failure.

This end is far more straightforward and it should be just a matter of checking for duff bulbs and cracked lens. Emitting a white light to the rear is a definite fail, so if you a have a cracked light unit then it needs to be sorted. A decent permanent repair is normally acceptable to most testers, but a raggy bit of coloured tape slapped over a crack almost certainly isn't. Reversing lights, unless a fault is causing permanent illumination, are not part of the test. Rear number plate lights are and both bulbs need to be working.

FTOs are not originally fitted with rear fog lamps in Japan and to comply with UK regulations your car should have been modified accordingly. There are a few ways in which this modification could have been carried out - either by utilizing the inner two of the four stop lamps (MOT legal not brilliantly effective) or by fitting a separate proprietary lamp - either the ugly bolt-on variety or the tidier flush fitting version. In all cases if there is only one rear fog lamp then it needs to be positioned either centrally or to the offside (driver's side) of the vehicle. There also needs to be a tell-tale light somewhere on the dash to indicate when the rear fog lamp is illuminated.

Boring but important
Although we have been very careful in the compilation of the advice pages of our website and the content is thoroughly checked by our panel of specialists, we cannot be held responsible for any loss or damage caused if you decide to follow the advice contained herein. Please bear in mind that a job which may well be a piece of cake on a vehicle lift could easily turn into a total nightmare when lying on your back in the front street in the regulation puddle. Don't tackle any work unless you are confident that you fully understand the complexity of the job you are undertaking. Make sure that you have the correct tools to hand, always wear the appropriate protection and never, ever work under an unsupported vehicle. If you are not entirely confident that you can complete the job, then it should be entrusted to a specialist.

If you feel that there are any errors on any aspect of this or other pages of our website, or if you simply wish to comment, please call Malcolm on 0191 586 7724 or send us an email