‘Strong argument’ to carry on MOT tests during lockdown

There is a ‘strong argument’ for fleets to continue MOT tests during lockdown measures, despite the six month suspension, says FleetCheck.

In response to the current measures, the government announced a six month extension of MOT tests in efforts to maximise forms of social distancing.

Peter Golding, Managing Director of FleetCheck states, “When the six-month suspension was first announced, the conventional wisdom was that the vast majority of workshops offering MOT tests would probably effectively close but many are operational”.

“With this in mind, there is a strong argument for fleets to continue with MOTs as normal; whether their vehicles are currently in use or not. Employers need to remember that they are liable for the safety of vehicle, whether it has been officially tested or not. If something goes wrong during that six month period, it is still very much their responsibility”, he added.

It is thought that there will be a testing overload towards the end of the extension period. As a result of this, fleets may end up going longer than six months without MOT testing, which could potentially lead to an increase of serious faults.

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Vehicle maintenance during lockdown: how to keep your car roadworthy

On the 25 March, the government announced that any car, van or motorcycle MOT due from 30 March 2020 will be extended by six months. The notice is great news for key workers and drivers who drive for essential travel and work during this critical time. However, it is important to consider that your vehicle must be roadworthy as it is a legal obligation.

Here are a few tips on how to look after your vehicle during lockdown:

Tyres

There are two important aspects to maintain when looking after your tyres.

The first is tread. The legal requirement states tyre tread must be at least 1.6mm deep. You can buy tread depth tools that are available in petrol stations or online. Alternatively, you can put a 20p coin in the treads. If you can’t see the outer band, your tyres will need replacing. Plan to ensure you can drive to a garage safely to reduce any unnecessary journeys.

The second feature is pressure. Tyres need to be kept at their optimum pressure found on their sidewall as pressure is gradually lost over time. Even if left stationery for an extended period of time, the tyres can develop flat spots and lose their roundness. If your car may be idle for several months, roll it carefully now and then to keep them even.

Keep your vehicle clean

It is important to maintain car cleanliness to prevent damage.

Give your car, van or motorcycle a deep clean by scrubbing and waxing the exterior. Not only will this keep your vehicle looking great, but will keep your paintwork in top condition.

Nurture your tyres by cleaning away mud and grease which can help reduce corrosion.

During this time, ensure the interior is sanitized. Disinfect hard and soft surfaces to reduce the risk of spreading. Cleaning the inside of any food residue will also limit the likelihood of insects infesting inside.

Vehicle liquids

It is sensible to check the levels of fluid to ensure when you do return to the road that your vehicle is car ready.

Ensure your fuel, oil, engine coolant and window cleaner are topped up, so your vehicle is prepared for its next outing.

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Is your car prepared to pass its MOT?

One of the responsibilities you have as a motorist – as well as things like paying tax and getting
insurance – is taking your car in for an MOT inspection every year to ensure it’s roadworthy and
safe to drive.

This process becomes much easier – and less expensive – if you make the effort to maintain your
car and keep it in good condition. Even the most basic regular checks can help your car pass its
MOT every year with zero fuss.

With that in mind, here are the most common causes of MOT failure and what you can do to
avoid them:

Faulty lights

According to the RAC, problems with the lights and signals are the number one reason for cars
to fail their MOT, with nearly a fifth (19 per cent) of vehicles getting the thumbs down for this
reason.

It’s often something as simple as a blown bulb that can cause the failure, so regularly checking
all of your lights – including easily overlooked ones like the fog lamps and reversing signal – is
essential.

Suspension

RAC patrols attended 20 per cent more pothole-related breakdowns in the fourth quarter of
2019 than in the same period a year earlier, so it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that
suspension issues are a common reason for MOT failure.

You can monitor your suspension by listening out for unusual noises when you’re cornering or
driving on bumpy roads, and by parking on a flat surface and checking to see if the car sits level.
Brakes

Approximately one in ten cars fail their MOT because of issues with the brakes, and it goes
without saying that this is a vital part of your car to look after if you want to drive safely.

One of the biggest warning signs to look out for where your brakes are concerned is a squealing
or grinding sound, which usually means the brake pads are worn out and need replacing.
If you want to have maximum confidence that every part of your car is working as it should,
take it in for regular servicing and maintenance.

Fuel Card Services makes this easy with MyService.Expert, which provides access to thousands
of garages all over the UK.

Govt confirms 6-month MOT exemption period

As the government continues to enforce strict constraints on public movement to curb the spread of coronavirus, it’s been confirmed that vehicle owners will be granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing.

The Department for Transport and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency said the decision had been made to enable ‘vital services’ to continue and to help people get to work and buy food and medicine.

 

More time for drivers

All cars, vans and motorcycles with an MOT test due from March 30th 2020 will be granted an exemption.
The government said garages will remain open for essential repair work and also stressed that owners must keep their vehicles in a roadworthy condition. It’s still possible that motorists could be prosecuted for driving an unsafe vehicle.

You can keep your car in a good condition by regularly checking that:

● The windscreen, windows and mirrors are clean
● All lights work
● The brakes work
● Your tyres have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm

It’s also advised that you conduct regular inspections of your vehicle’s:

● Engine oil
● Water level in the radiator or expansion tank
● Brake fluid
● Battery
● Windscreen washer fluid

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We must ensure those on the frontline of helping the nation combat Covid-19 are able to do so.

“Allowing this temporary exemption from vehicle testing will enable vital services such as deliveries to continue, frontline workers to get to work, and people to get essential food and medicine.”

When the time does come for your car’s MOT inspection, you can increase the likelihood of it passing by taking action to avoid some of the most common causes of MOT failure.Faulty lights and signals are particularly common reasons for MOT failure, along with issues
with the suspension and brakes.

You can keep your car in good condition with the help of MyService.Expert from Fuel Card Services, which offers money off parts and labour at thousands of garages across the UK.

Drivers advised on tyre care for laid-up cars

The coronavirus outbreak has had many consequences for the British public, one of which is not
being able to go outside other than for vital reasons like buying food or going to work, if you’re
unable to work from home.

These restrictions mean huge swathes of the population will be making less use of their cars.
There are some benefits to this – like spending less on fuel – but there are also some potential
disadvantages, like the risk of your car experiencing problems because of sustained lack of use.

Since one of the biggest dangers is your tyres sustaining damage, Falken has offered some
advice on how you can maintain your tyres and make sure they’re in good condition.

Increase the pressure

One useful tip is to check your tyre pressures and, while your car is laid up, to increase them by
about 15 PSI over the normal recommended level. This should help to avoid damage and flat
spots while the vehicle isn’t being used.

Leaving a note in the car to remind you to put the pressure back to normal when you start using
it again is a good idea.

Keep the car inside if you can

If you have access to a garage or an indoor space where you can keep your car, this is the time
to use it.

According to Falken, darker and cooler conditions are more conducive to tyre health. If you
have to leave your car outside, you can protect the tyres with covers made from reflective
aluminium material.

Consider jacking up your car

If you expect your car to be out of use for a particularly long time, it might be an idea to jack it
up so the tyres aren't in contact with the ground at all.

You can also use ‘tyre trainers’ that reduce flat spots and prevent degradation of the rubber.

When life returns to normal and you can get back to looking after your car with regular
maintenance, MyService.Expert from Fuel Card Services can provide access to thousands of
garages nationwide and also save you money on parts and labour.