As we all know, cars seem to cost an arm and a leg to keep running. Here at moneystepper we have already discussed:
- Why you should avoid financing a new car and buy second hand instead
- Why PCP is not a good way to finance a new vehicle
- How to make your car more fuel efficient
- Why you should consider changing your daily commute
Generally, we recommend that people should be buying second hand vehicles paid for in cash (or 0% credit cards that you can pay off before they begin to incur interest). This is because new cars lose value so quickly after purchase that they greatly impact your net worth. Our exception to this rule is if you have a net worth of at least £100k. This may seem like a lot, but is conservative compared to Dave Ramsey’s advice of $1 million!
The problem is, when you buy second hand cars, the MOT becomes a bit of a bigger issue. In fact, after a few years, getting through your MOT can actually start costing you a significant chunk! Therefore, today we discuss how you could save money on your MOT.
Luckily, motorparks.co.uk have done a lot of the research and have made some very interesting findings which they have summarised in a series of infographics that we have recently come across.
The top three reasons for failing an MOT are:
- Lighting and signalling – 18.7%
- Suspension – 12.5%
- Brakes – 10.2%
But, what can you do about these things and how can you prepare your little motor to save money on your MOT?
Step 1: Check your lights and suspension
These are the two most common reasons for cars failing their MOTs. This is not something you should only be thinking about at the time of your MOT. As the infographic below shows, you could be hit with points on your license or a monetary fine if you are caught driving without functioning lights!
Step 2: Brakes and tyres
The next most common problem is brake failure and then tyre issues. This is often caused by a similar problem: braking too hard. Braking quickly and sharply not only will wear out your breaks more quickly, it will also have a detrimental impact on your tyre tread, meaning that they will need replacing more often. If your tread has worn down, you might find it much cheaper to get your tyres replaced at a garage before the time of your MOT, than having the MOT garage add it onto your bill.
Furthermore, as The Discovery Channel proved, driving on tyres which are underinflated leads to a use over 1% more fuel. This might not seem like a lot, but when you think that your average tank of petrol is now over £50, each fill up costs you an extra 50p – certainly something that you could be adding to your piggy bank!
Step 3: Windscreens, exhaust & fluids
These are definitely areas which you need to check before your MOT and, as you can see from the graphic below, it is relatively easy to do so.
Step 4: Mirrors, seatbelts, doors & horns
This is one that I have personally been caught for in the past. I took the car into my MOT with the middle seatbelt in the back not functioning. I thought I’d get away with it (and no one ever used the middle seat so it posed no danger), but these MOT testers are a thorough bunch!
Again, if you note any issues with these, it will usually be cheaper (and quicker) to get them addressed before you put your car through your MOT.
Step 5: Registration plate, VIN, bodywork & fuel
Don’t worry – only a few more checks to go and they are pretty easy to do. Registration plates and vehicle identification numbers need to be visible, check over the bodywork to ensure that there are no clear issues and finally ensure that the fuel cap comes on and off fairly easily.
If you have got your MOT coming up, checking all these things and getting anything fixed that you can before the day of your MOT will probably end up saving you a good few pounds!