MOT test centre

Half a million cars have a late MOT test in January

MOT emissions failures double inside a year

Half a million cars had a late MOT in January 2019, as cash-strapped motorists deferred the test until payday. Of these, around 70,000 cars FAILED with a dangerous fault – that’s 14 percent.

January is a tough period for the household budget, with many families still paying the price for over-indulging at Christmas. The problems mount when the credit card bill arrives towards the end of the month.

Deferring an MOT is illegal and could be expensive. Anyone caught driving a vehicle without an MOT is likely to be fined up to a maximum of £1,000. It’s for this reason that Highways England is urging drivers to make sure their car has a valid MOT. 

There’s no excuse for a late MOT. While some garages will contact a customer up to a month prior to the date of expiry, there are some things you can do from the comfort of your home. These include:

  • Putting a note on the calendar. Make sure you transfer the date when you get a new calendar at the start of the year. Alternatively, use the calendar on your smartphone and set a reminder for a month before the test is due.
  • Sign up for a free MOT reminder via the government website. You need the vehicle’s registration number and a mobile phone number or email address. If you own a car, van or motorcycle, you’ll receive a text message or email one month before the MOT is due.
  • Download an app to keep track of your car’s service and maintenance. The AA app includes special offers, a map and information about your car, including when the MOT is due, tyre pressures and the VED renewal date. You’ll receive a reminder before the MOT runs out.

If you’ve lost your MOT certificate, it’s worth remembering that you can check the MOT history of a vehicle at any time via the government website. You’ll need the vehicle’s registration number.

According to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), around 50 percent of all faults found during the MOT test could be avoided by carrying out regular maintenance or by checking some basic items before the test.

Further MOT data reveals that around 40 percent of cars fail their MOT at the first attempt. Check out our guide to 10 easy pre-MOT checks to increase the chances of your car passing first time.

Simple regular checks for drivers

Get a Grip tyre campaign to get young drivers educated

Highways England has issued further advice for drivers, regardless of when the MOT is due. These include:

  • Check tyres
    • Prior to a long journey, check your tyre pressures are suitable for the load and the condition of your tyres. Look out for cuts or wear and make sure the tyres have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm.
  • Check engine oil
    • Use your dipstick to check oil regularly and before any long journey. Take your car back to the garage if you’re topping up more than usual.
  • Check water
    • To ensure you have good visibility, always keep your screenwash topped up so you can clear debris or dirt off your windscreen.
  • Check lights
    • If your indicators, hazard lights, headlights, fog lights, reverse lights or brake lights are not functioning properly, you are putting yourself and your family at risk. In addition, light malfunctions can be a reason for your vehicle to fail its MOT.
  • Check fuel
    • Before setting out, check your fuel levels and make sure you have enough to reach your destination.

For more hints and tips, please visit our motoring advice section.

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