Help and advice

Car Maintenance

MOT – do your bit, save money!

In the UK if you have a car then you have an MOT, if you don’t then your car insurance may be invalid and when it comes to getting a car tax you won’t be able to. Basically, having an MOT on your car is the law, and one way or another you will be caught out.

The penalty for no MOT can be anything up to £1000 but you will not always get points on your licence depending on the circumstances.  Its worth noting that even if you do have a valid MOT you should still keep your car maintained, if you do not then you can pick up fines and points.

Using a vehicle in a dangerous condition can get you points and fines even if you do have an MOT, such as bald tyres, defective steering, and dodgy brakes.

If you are caught driving a vehicle which is considered dangerous for whatever reason, then you could be looking at fines up to £2500 for cars and if you are in a lorry up to £5000.

You can rack up some penalty points also, for example with each bald tyre costing you 3 points each.

What is checked in an MOT

MOTBody, vehicle structure and general items, Towbars, Fuel system, Exhaust emissions, Exhaust system, Seatbelts, Seats, Doors, Mirrors, Load security, Brakes, Tyres and wheels, Registration plates, Lights, Bonnet, Wipers and washers, Windscreen, Horn, Steering and suspension, Vehicle identification number (VIN) and Electrical.

You do not have to be a qualified MOT inspector to see if there is something wrong, which could make your car fail its MOT.

Don’t fail your MOT on something silly!

It is worth doing a check on the following items before your MOT, which you can easily do without any mechanical knowledge.  

I have to tell you now that my classic car was failed on its mirrors as they were dirty, ok my bad I should have cleaned them, but really the guy could have given them a wipe, instead I got a fail!!! 

Check your seat belts –Are the mandatory seat belts in the car, and are they suitable for the car?  Are they in good condition and are working.
Seats – Make sure the driver seat can be adjusted, and that the seats are securely fitted.  Make sure the seat backs can be fixed in the upright position.
Doors – Is the door latch secure in the closed position? Do the front doors open from the inside and the outside and in the back do the doors open from the outside. Take a look at the hinges and catches to make sure they are in a good condition.
Mirrors – Makes sure that they are clean the correct mirrors are attached, secure and free from damage
Load Security – Make sure that your boot or tailgate close correctly
Tyres and Wheels – Look at the condition, are they secure and are the correct tyre size and type.  Check the tread of your tyres, a handy tip is by using a 20p coin.  Place the coin in the tread and if the outer band of the coin is hidden then your tread is above the legal limit.  Remember to test all around the tyre.MOT
If your spare wheel is not in a good state then do not put it in the car as spare wheels are not tested.
Registration Plates – These needs to be secure in a good condition, the right colour with the right size lettering – You will know if yours is not, as it will look totally different to other car plates on the road.  Make sure they are clean and readable.
Lights – Get your mate for this quick test – check all the beams are working correctly and all the indicators.
Bonnet – Does the bonnet close correctly and securely
Wipers and washers – Are they working and do you have sufficient screen wash
Windscreen – Check the condition for chips and cracks, if there are any major cracks these need to be fixed.  Any small chips which are in the drivers visibility will also need sorting.
Horn – Does it work and is it adequate for your vehicle.

Save money and reduce your chances of failing an MOT

By carrying out your own little MOT checks you can make your own replacements, which will be a lot less that getting the garage to do it.  Simple checks of your own should save the pain of having to get a re test for silly things that could have been avoided.  If you are unsure of how to change a wiper or perhaps a bulb then have a look on YouTube where you will find lots of people videoing themselves carrying out such tasks!
If you are driving a car with a long list of problems and need an upgrade but have a bad credit score, take a look at bad credit car leasing as an option for you.

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