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.

How to protect your car from overheating

If you want to keep your car in the best condition and reduce your risk of suffering breakdowns
or any other unfortunate incidents on the road, pretty much the most important thing you can
do is look after the engine.

As well as taking your car in for regular checks and servicing, you can maintain your engine by
sticking to positive habits that will help you avoid common problems like overheating.

How to avoid overheating

According to the AA, overheating causes thousands of breakdowns every year across the UK.
To protect against it, you should check your coolant level once a week to see if it’s between the
minimum and maximum levels. Make sure you wait until the engine is cold before conducting
this check.

The coolant – a mixture of water and antifreeze – is found in the expansion tank, which has
minimum and maximum marks on the side. If you need to top up the coolant, make sure you’re
adding the fluid to the right tank, since putting it in the screen wash, brake fluid or power
steering reservoir could cause damage.

Most modern cars have a sealed cooling system, so you shouldn’t need to top up the coolant
too often. If you find that you’re regularly having to top up, it could be a sign of a leak, which
will need to be checked out by a professional.

Another useful step that can reduce your risk of overheating is to ensure the radiator’s electric
cooling fan starts running when the engine gets hot.

You can check this by running the engine when the car is stationary, or you can get it examined
at a garage.

With MyService.Expert from Fuel Card Services, you can keep up with these sorts of inspections
with the help of regular calendar reminders and money off parts and labour.

5 essential tools to always keep in your vehicle

Driving can be one of life’s great joys, but it can also be a stressful experience if you find yourself stuck in a difficult situation on the road without the items you need to get yourself out of it.

 

You can reduce your risk of suffering motoring disasters by ensuring your car is always stocked with vital tools. The objects on this list might go unused a lot of the time, but you should always ensure you have them ready for an emergency.

1.    Spare tyre and jack

 

While these are clearly two separate items, they can be counted as one since neither is much use without the other.

 

Problems with the wheels and tyres are a common cause of vehicle breakdown, so you should always be prepared with the equipment you need to change a tyre, especially just after the winter when potholes are a big problem on many roads.

 

It’s wise to check your spare tyre regularly so you know it’s in usable condition should you need it.

2.    Jump leads

 

A flat battery is another common reason for cars to break down, and jump leads can be a lifesaver if you’re stranded on the side of the road and a helpful fellow motorist offers to help you out.

 

You can give yourself extra protection against your vehicle’s battery dying by keeping a portable battery pack in your car. This handy device allows you to get the battery running again without having to rely on another vehicle.

3.    Basic toolkit

 

You never know what situations you might find yourself in out on the road and what mechanical problems your car might encounter, so it’s a good idea to have a selection of basic tools with you at all times.

 

Having a toolkit in your vehicle means you’ll always have easy access to implements like screwdrivers, pliers and a hammer, which could come in handy if you have car problems of your own, or if you need to help someone else who has broken down.

4.    Tyre pressure gauge

 

Making sure your tyres are always inflated to the correct pressure level is vital for a number of reasons. It ensures you can brake and control the car properly at all times, and also has additional benefits like helping you get maximum mileage out of every tank of fuel.

 

Having a tyre pressure gauge accessible at all times makes it easy to check your tyres and to know when they need inflating.

5.    Empty fuel can

 

Running out of fuel is a common fear among all motorists, and it can be particularly problematic if you’re on an important journey or if you need to get somewhere in a hurry.

 

With an empty fuel can in your car, you can feel confident that running out of petrol or diesel won’t be an insurmountable problem as long as you’re within walking distance of a refilling station.

 

As well as having these items in your car, it’s wise to get your vehicle serviced regularly so it’s always in good condition and you’re aware of any mechanical problems.

 

You can save money on parts and labour, and also get useful benefits like calendar reminders, with MyService.Expert from Fuel Card Services.

Save on fuel by keeping your tyres in top condition

There are various costs involved in owning and running a car, some of which you have more control over than others.

 

When it comes to fuel expenses, the good news is that there are a number of measures you can take to reduce the amount you spend.

 

You can be vigilant and keep your eye out for particularly low prices at the garages near you, and you can stick to efficient driving practices and positive habits to get maximum mileage out of every tank.

 

Another step you can take is to ensure your tyres are always in the best condition, which can have a big impact on how much fuel the engine requires to get the vehicle moving.

How tyres affect fuel consumption

 

The RAC points out that regular servicing and maintenance contributes to the overall efficiency of your vehicle, helping you optimise your fuel consumption. Making sure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure is one of the most important checks to make, since incorrectly inflated tyres will adversely affect fuel economy.

 

If your tyres are underinflated, the surface area of rubber in contact with the road increases, which results in more drag on the wheels. Consequently, the engine has to work harder to move the wheels and uses more fuel.

 

Past research has shown that if your tyres are just 10 PSI under the recommended pressure level, your fuel consumption could increase by 2.5 per cent.

 

It’s also important to remember that the level of pressure you need in your tyres is related to the load you’re carrying. If you’re about to embark on a long drive with four passengers and lots of luggage in the boot, for example, you’ll want to inflate the tyres to the maximum recommended pressure to get the best fuel economy.

Other fuel efficiency tips

 

Making sure your tyres are in good condition and inflated to the correct pressure isn’t the only thing you can do to boost your car’s fuel efficiency.

 

Other useful steps include:

 

  • Reducing excess weight by getting rid of things you don’t need, like a roof rack that hasn’t been used for years or unnecessary items in the boot.
  • Limiting drag on the car, which you can do by closing the windows when you’re driving at high speeds.
  • Planning trips in advance, so you know where you can fill up. This will help you pinpoint the garages with the lowest prices and also avoid refuelling at the last minute, which could cause you to panic and get more fuel than you actually need.
  • Ensuring all acceleration is gentle and driving in the highest gear possible within the speed limit. Excessive speed is the enemy of fuel economy.

 

It’s generally a good idea to make sure your car is well maintained and running efficiently to get maximum mileage out of every tank of fuel.

 

You can keep up to date with your maintenance and servicing easily with MyService.Expert from Fuel Card Services.