Many drivers have taken advantage of the MOT extension because of Covid-19 that was recently put in place by the Government.
If your MOT was due between 30th March and 31st July, then you have a 6-month extension. If you have an older car, however, this can present challenges because you are still expected to keep the vehicle in good running order.
A lot of drivers use their MOT to have a full service and carry out any repairs that are needed to ensure roadworthiness, but also to identify future issues.
Not all problems with cars are easily spotted by the average motorist, however, especially if they are not mechanically minded.
Keeping Your Vehicle Safe During Covid
If your MOT fell between the stated dates, it will have been extended automatically so there is nothing that you need to do. Drivers may be facing financial hardship at the moment, either because their income has been affected or their job is in jeopardy, so actually getting that MOT done sooner is just not viable.
Your vehicle still needs to be safe to drive at all times and it’s still your responsibility. The first thing you must ensure is that you monitor for any potential problems. You can be fined if your car is stopped or is in an accident and it’s deemed unroadworthy, whether Covid is around or not.
Simple steps you can take are to make sure that the windscreen and windows are clean before you go for a drive. Check that every light works, including your brake lights. Replacing lights in your car is relatively easy and only costs a few pounds for a bulb.
The other important things to check are your brakes. If you are finding braking is impaired, especially during wet weather, you must find a garage or mechanic that can change them for you if you can’t do it yourself. You should also check your brake fluid level and top up if it is too low.
Checking Your Tyres
The tread for your tyres should be a minimum of 1.6 mm and you can easily check this with a 20 pence coin. It takes only a few seconds. Place the coin in the tread. If you can’t see the outer rim of the coin that circles the Queen’s head, then you are fine. If you can see it, however, the tyre needs to be replaced.
Also, make sure that your tyres are properly inflated. You can find this in your manual or on the inside panel of the petrol tank outlet. Again, this is a simple job that anyone can do.
Regular Vehicle Checks
There are other things that you can keep track of to ensure your vehicle remains in decent health:
- Check the windscreen wash system to make sure that it has enough water and cleaning fluid.
- Check your oil levels. Low levels can mean that engine parts start to grind and wear down which can lead to damage that is expensive to repair.
- If you have an old battery and your vehicle has difficulty starting, especially in the colder weather, consider replacing it. Again, this is a simple job and there are plenty of how-to videos online.
Is It Time to Scrap Your Car?
If your vehicle has struggled passing its MOT over the past few years, you may want to consider replacing it. Old cars or vans that have seen better days generally start costing more money in the long-term whether it’s because of repairs or the work need to pass the MOT.
Scrapping a car can often be the most economic way forward. A fuel-inefficient vehicle can be immensely costly. Models built before 2014 usually have this problem and it’s something that declines as they get older.
If you feel that your car is not safe to drive, you certainly need to consider scrapping it and buying a newer model that is fit for the road.
While the MOT extension has proved useful to many vehicle owners during Covid-19, it is still the owner’s responsibility to ensure that the car or van is safe to be on the road. Regular checks will give you peace of mind and the chance to get repairs in a timely manner if you need them.
Interesting related article: “The rise of the electric vehicle.”