We all know that a yearly MOT is an unavoidable expense as a motor owner, but many MOT failures could be avoided by simply getting into some good car maintenance habits. Don’t wait until your car is in the garage for its MOT to find out that you need a new lightbulb or a new wiper blade. These things can be bought quite cheaply in motor accessory shops and are fairly simple to replace at home. Of course, if you don’t feel confident tackling any of these, our friendly and experienced mechanics will be more than happy to help.
At Osborne Motors in Dunfermline we believe passionately in delivering an honest, fair and trustworthy service to our customers with the benefit of our many years of experience. With that in mind, here’s our roundup of some cheap and easy habits to get into that will save you time and money when MOT time comes around:
1. Keep your oil level topped up
Oil is essential for any engine to work efficiently, it lubricates the moving parts and reduces friction. Try to get into the habit of checking your car oil level once a month, using the dipstick under the bonnet. Check the owner’s manual for your car to find the correct grade of oil for your own vehicle and keep it topped up. If you aren’t sure about how to check and top up your oil, this video from The AA might help, or ask one of our experienced mechanics to advise next time you pay us a visit. [https://www.theaa.com/breakdown-cover/advice/how-to-check-and-top-up-your-oil][/hoot_one_third]
2. Are your tyres legal?
By law in the UK, tyre treads must have a depth of a minimum of 1.6mm in a continuous band around the central three quarters of the tyre. The quick and easy way to check this before your car goes for an MOT is to measure it using a 20p coin. Measure at least 3 different points on the tyre, and if the rim of the coin cannot be seen then your tread is fine. If you CAN see the rim of the coin then have your tyres checked by a professional. You can find lots of information and advice on tyre tread and pressure at https://www.tyresafe.org/[/hoot_one_third]
3. Check fluid level
The cooling system in your vehicle should be well maintained to ensure your engine runs smoothly and efficiently all year round. As a general guide, a mix of 50/50 water and antifreeze will help prevent frosting in winter as well as overheating during warmer spells. This video from The AA should keep you right if you aren’t sure how to top up the fluid, but please ask us for advice when you next visit us at Osborne Motors in Dunfermline and we’ll be happy to keep you right. https://www.theaa.com/breakdown-cover/advice/how-to-check-your-engine-coolant[/hoot_one_third]
4. Test your lights
Getting into the habit of checking your car lights regularly can be a real time and money saver. It’s no surprise that, taking into account parts and labour costs, it will cost more for a garage to replace any light bulbs than if you bought and replaced them yourself. Most auto accessory shops will be happy to advise on which bulbs to buy and how to go about replacing them. Test all of your lights prior to your MOT and replace any faulty bulbs. If there is a more complex electrical problem, please contact us to book your car in for our mechanics to look into it in more detail.
So now you know what to keep an eye on. Get to know your car and learn how to carry out a few small jobs yourself and MOT time should be a much less stressful affair, for both you and your wallet![/hoot_one_third]
5. Windscreen care
Similar to learning how to change car light bulbs, taking the time to learn how to replace your car windscreen wipers can save you time and money and also keep you driving safely. Keep a spare set of wiper blades in your car so you are always prepared for any faults developing. Check the condition of your car wiper blades regularly as even a very small tear in them can affect the visibility through your windscreen in adverse weather.
If your windscreen gets chipped, deal with it as soon as possible to prevent it becoming a crack.
Your car will most likely fail its MOT if:
• There is damage larger than 10mm across if it’s in the ‘A-zone’, a 290mm wide band centred on the steering column and reaching top and bottom through the windscreen wiper swept area
• There is damage larger than 40mm across anywhere else on the windscreen within the wiper swept area
Most small chips can be filled by windscreen repair companies who can deal direct with your insurance company and it often doesn’t affect your No Claims Discount – check your cover with your own insurance company.[/hoot_one_third]
6. Drive smoothly
Some of the most common reasons in the UK for MOT failure are brakes and suspension. Be aware of hazards on the road and try to avoid driving through potholes if possible to do so safely.
Constant hard braking will cause your brake system to wear down prematurely and cost you more money than it should. Know and observe your safe stopping distances so you can slow down gradually if required to.
So now you know what to keep an eye on.
Get to know your car and learn how to carry out a few small jobs yourself and MOT time should be a much less stressful affair, for both you and your wallet!
Thank you for visiting our blog, we hope you liked it and we hope to see you soon at Osborne Motors Dunfermline.
From all of us, Safe and Happy Motoring.