Motorists have been told to maintain their vehicles if proposed changes to MOTs come into force.
Experts from Quotezone.co.uk have warned drivers to ensure their vehicles are roadworthy after proposals to extend the period between tests.
The proposals have come via a consultation jointly published by the Department for Transport (DfT) and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), affecting cars, motorbikes and vans.
Currently, all new vehicles must be tested after they reach three years old, to ensure they do not present a danger to other road users.
But if the new proposals are adopted, this period will be extended to four years, in line with many other countries across Europe.
Advances in technology and the increase in popularity of EVs and hybrid cars mean new vehicles are less likely to need major attention at three years old.
They also suggest that the period between MOT tests could also be extended from one year for newer vehicles.
While the experts from Quotezone.co.uk welcome the chance for drivers to create savings, safety must always be the number one priority and both the government and the motorists themselves have a duty to ensure their cars, vans and motorbikes are safe to operate.
Many countries across Europe have the four year policy, and the proposals would bring Britain in line with countries like Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal.
Government analysis shows less frequent MOT tests could save UK drivers around £100 million per year.
Quotezone.co.uk did a sample survey in Northern Ireland – where all vehicles must be tested at a dedicated MOT centre – putting the system under increasing pressure to clear the pandemic backlog. 43% of drivers were said to be waiting over 3 months for an available test date and 59% were driving on the road pass their test due date.
These proposed changes may alleviate some issues but it’s important to remember 1 in 10 vehicles fail their MOT first time, under the proposal these vehicles would now be on the road for an additional year which some experts fear may increase the number of unsafe vehicles on our roads.
Quotezone.co.uk Founder Greg Wilson has said: “These proposals to have less frequent MOT tests is likely to put the onus on the driver to more regularly maintain the vehicle and ensure its roadworthy.
“Whilst of course money saving benefits are great in this economic climate, getting into an accident or driving an unsafe car could result in costs far bigger than a £40 MOT.
“There are several routine checks which drivers can do at home to help their vehicle stay in a safe and roadworthy condition.”
Quotezone.co.uk has provided checks you can make on your car:
- Check tyres:
Before setting off, it is important to check for any cuts or wear. It is also good to check if the tyre pressures are appropriate for the load and condition of the tyres. The minimum and legal limit for tread depth of the tyres is 1.6mm – drivers can insert a 20p into the tread to double check, the tyre thickness should be more than the first line on the coin.
- Check lights:
You need to make sure your indicators, hazard lights, headlights, fog lights, reverse lights and brake lights all work. Having any of these not working or in a temperamental condition could put you, passengers and other motorists at risk.
- Check brakes:
The braking system needs to be in good working order. If the car pulls to one side when applying the breaks then this indicates an issue. Look at the handbrake too and ensure it works well, especially on an incline. If you have alloy wheels, it could be possible to do a visual inspection of the brakes without actually removing the wheel.
- Check fluid levels:
Keep your screen wash topped up so you can clean dirt off your windscreen and ensure you have good visibility and top up break fluid and oil.
- Check mirrors:
All mirrors must be secure and free of cracks. If they need replacing you can normally find ones for your car model online, but stay clear of self-adhesive types as these are not durable.
- Check windscreen and wipers:
Ensure there is no damage to your windscreen. A chip or crack that exceeds 40mm will actually result in a failed MOT test. On top of the windscreen, the wipers and washers should be functional to ensure good visibility at all times.