Drivers shunning MOT extension, poll finds

Relatively few drivers are making use of the six-month extension to their MOT certificate that has been available as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, a new poll has found.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced at the end of March this year that any car, van or motorcycle requiring the annual test would be exempt for six months in order to help frontline workers do their jobs and to assist people in adhering to the lockdown.

Garages were to be open for essential repair work only, the government said.

Keeping to the same routine

However, a new study by RAC Approved Garages has found that the majority of drivers are not intending to make use of the MOT extension, opting instead to keep servicing their vehicles as usual.

Only 14 per cent said they will use the exemption, with 44 per cent reporting they would be booking their car, van or bike in at their garage just like before.

More than half (52 per cent) said this is because they want to ensure the proper safety checks have been made when they are due, while 16 per cent pointed out there may be a long waiting list to book an MOT once lockdown formally ends.

Some 27 per cent of respondents to the survey revealed they hadn’t heard about the MOT extension and therefore did not know it was available to them.

RAC spokesperson Adam O’Neill said: “It’s encouraging to see that a large proportion of people clearly care about the condition of their cars and aren’t being put off from getting them through their MOTs or serviced as normal.”

However, he added that anyone planning to make use of the exemption must take their car to a garage as soon as possible if they believe there is a problem with its running.

“Every driver must remember that the safety and roadworthiness of their vehicle remains their responsibility,” Mr O’Neill added.

Tom Cosway, brand representative for Fuel Card Services, comments: “The MOT extension has been a useful initiative, particularly for fleet owners whose businesses have been on hiatus. However, remember that all garages are taking great pains to be COVID-safe, so they are still there if you need them and want to book in your usual services.”

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Tips for safely rejoining the road

With many drivers taking to the roads for the first time since lockdown was imposed, it is crucial to ensure your vehicles are roadworthy. The government announced that any car, van or motorcycle MOT due from 30 March 2020 will be extended by six months, however, you should have an obligation to check the safety of your vehicle before you drive it after a long period of time.

Here are a few tips on how to check your vehicles:

Lights

Ensuring your lights are fully functional is vital. However, there are specific lights that can be missed to double check: front and rear headlights, licence plate light, hazards lights, indicators, brake lights. If any of your warning lights are coming on intermittently, it’s worth getting them checked out before booking your MOT.

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 stationary for an extended period, 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.

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 windscreen cleaner are topped up, so your vehicle is prepared for its next outing.

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MyDriveSafe.Expert is our daily vehicle checks app that gives drivers a simple, comprehensive range of checklists, covering almost all vehicles and compliance with up to date safety standards. The Company Managers portal allows the fleet manager or business owner to monitor their fleet in one place easily. Any defects registered can then be actioned by the fleet manager or business owner.

For further information on MyDriveSafe.Expert, visit https://www.fuelcardservices.com/my-drive-safe or download our app to improve service, savings, security immediately.

‘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.

With MyService.Expert, you can make savings of 30% on parts and labour for your vehicle maintenance, repairs, and MOTs. Find out how much you can save on your next booking. Find out more here.

Service, savings, security.

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.

With MyService.Expert, you can make savings of 30% on parts and labour for your vehicle maintenance. Service, savings, security. With MOT extensions, find out how much you can save on your next booking. Find out more here.

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.