Car Essentials

Safe and sound

The 2015 road casualties report for Great Britain showed that car defects were a contributory factor in 1,131 accidents. Furthermore, over 75% of the defects that contributed to these accidents were either braking or tyre issues. That is why it is essential to make sure your vehicle is in tip-top condition.

Which Garage?

Having your car serviced and checked is a vital part of reducing collisions on the road. Making sure your brakes and tyres are working at their best might not only save you money, it may save your life. Having your car regularly serviced and ensuring that the fuel and oil system is cleaned will make the engine work more efficiently, use less fuel and produce less CO2. Check and adjust your tyre pressures regularly and also before long journeys. Under-inflated tyres increase CO2 but over-inflated tyres can be unsafe. Check your car manual for the correct tyre pressures. Using your gears wisely by changing gear a little earlier can also reduce revs. If you drive a diesel car, try changing up a gear when the rev counter reached 2000rpm. For a petrol car, change up at 2500rpm. But how do you chose which garage to use, a recommendation from or friends is always a good place to start. There are a number of schemes now running to give advice on finding a reputable garage to service your car.


Everyone who uses a vehicle on the road must keep it in a roadworthy condition. The MOT test checks that vehicles meet road safety and environmental standards. The first MOT test for a vehicle is required when it is 3 years old. There are different rules if it is used for a taxi. Amazingly more than a third of all MOT failures could be avoided if people carried out simple vehicle checks and maintenance (DVSA 2017)..

What the MOT Test Includes

The MOT looks at some important items on your car to see that they meet key legal requirements at the time of the test. 

  • The Body and Vehicle Structure - is free from excessive corrosion or damage in specific areas and there are no sharp edges likely to cause injury.
  • The Fuel System - has no leaks and the fuel cap fastens and seals securely. The fuel cap will need to be opened so be sure the key is available.
  • The Exhaust Emissions - The vehicle meets the requirements for exhaust emissions, dependant on age and fuel type of the vehicle.
  • The Exhaust System - is secure, complete, without serious leaks and silences effectively.
  • The Seat Belts - All belts installed are checked for type, condition, operation and security. All compulsory belts must be in place.
  • The Seats - The front seats are secure. Front and rear backseats can be secured in the upright position.

Components to be Inspected

  • The Doors - Latch securely in closed position. Front doors should open from inside and outside the vehicle. Rear doors may need to be opened to gain access to testable items.
  • The Mirrors - The minimum number on the vehicle, their condition and security.
  • Load Security - Boot or tailgate can be secured in the closed position.
  • The Brakes - Their condition, operation and performance (efficiency test). Note the removal of wheels is not part of the test.
  • The Tyres and Wheels - Their condition, security, size, type and tread depth. Spare tyres are not inspected.
  • The Registration Plates - Their condition, security, characters correctly formed and spaced.
  • The Lights - Their condition, operation and security. Headlamps for aim.
  • The Bonnet - Securely latches in the closed position.
  • The Wipers and Washers - Operate to give the driver a clear view ahead.
  • The Windscreen - It's condition and the driver's view of the road.
  • The Horn - Operates correctly and is of a suitable type.
  • The Steering and Suspension - Are of satisfactory condition and operation.
  • The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) - Is on vehicles first used on or after 1 August 1980. Not more than one different VIN is displayed except on multistage build vehicles 

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