If your car is three years old or more the MOT is a regular element of ownership.
The annual test checks your vehicle’s health and roadworthiness, keeping you and other road users safe. But it can be an expensive business. The test itself has a fixed maximum price of £54.85 but any repairs needed to get your car through the test can end up costing hundreds of pounds if you’re unlucky.
Data from the DVSA, which oversees the test, shows that last January more than 500,000 cars had a late MOT, with more than 70,000 of those failing with a dangerous defect.
According to research by the DVSA, a fifth of cars are late for their MOT because drivers are afraid they can’t afford any unexpected bills. So to help drivers cope with the costs of the MOT, it has offered a series of money-saving tips to keep drivers mobile and safe.
Money-saving MOT hacks
Save: A fifth of drivers whose car failed its MOT had a repair bill of £200, according to the RAC. So, putting £15 each month into a car fund can help lessen the worry.
Split: Book the service six months after the MOT, so the car is seen regularly by a professional. Faults will be picked up at the service which can reduce costly repairs at the MOT. Regular servicing will also help save money (and the planet) because a healthy engine is more fuel efficient with lower emissions. Properly inflated tyres also reduce fuel consumption.
Schedule: Don’t ignore minor fails or MOT advisory items. Have an honest conversation with your garage about when to schedule these repairs and plan the cost. Even if a problem isn’t dangerous, having it put right is often cheaper than letting it get worse.
Sign up: Never forget when your vehicle is due its MOT by signing up for free MOT reminders
Safety checks: Simple regular checks will help save money at the MOT and help keep your family safe click here for video
Simple pre-MOT checks
Spending five minutes on simple MOT preparation can help ensure your car doesn't fail for something you can check yourself.
These defects are easy to fix yourself:
Windscreen/mirrors: check they’re clean and free from damage or obstructions. Remove stickers or items hanging from mirrors.
Washers and wipers: ensure washers have enough fluid and the wipers clean the screen
Engine: check oil and water
Tyres: check these are properly inflated
These common failures are difficult to fix yourself – so ask your garage to fix them before the test:
Seat belts: pull all the way out and check they don’t have any cuts or tears. Check they click into the socket properly
Seats: check they are secure, and the driver’s seat can be moved forwards and backwards
Doors, boot, bonnet and fuel cap: all need to open and doors need to open from the inside and outside
Dashboard: Do not ignore warning lights and get them checked by a professional
Other things to consider
Clean: Clean and tidy your car – this makes the MOT tester’s job much easier - and ensure your number plates are clean, undamaged and easily read
Go for a spin: if the vehicle is mainly driven around town, take it for a long run before the test to help clean the exhaust system
Listen: to check if the exhaust sounds louder than it used to
Look out for smoke: especially when going uphill, because this might indicate high emissions which can lead to an MOT failure