Over two million Brits risk a £1,000 MOT fine

28 Mar 2018 In the last five years, millions of drivers have risked a £1,000 fine because they have forgotten to renew their MOT certificates, according to new research from AA Cars, the AA’s used car website.

In the first instance those driving without an MOT risk a £100 fixed penalty notice – and then £1000 if they are taken to court.

The AA-Populus poll, which surveyed over 21,000 drivers, found that two million Brits have been late renewing their MOT by up to a week, while more than a million forgot to renew it for up to a month.

It is not uncommon for a vehicle to be considered unroadworthy as according to the DVSA over a third of cars fail their initial MOT tests. On top of this our data shows that almost two million drivers have been alerted to a serious fault that they were unaware of before the test.

Which means those who are forgetting to renew their MOT certificates could be driving a car with a serious fault – most likely considered a vehicle in a dangerous condition.

Irrespective of whether you’ve got a current MOT or forgotten briefly to renew the MOT, if your car’s in a dangerous condition then you are risking a £2,500 fine, three points on your licence and being banned from driving.

Although two thirds of drivers usually pass their MOT with no problems, some 5% of drivers frequently fail and their cars have to be repaired and retested.

Simon Benson, Director of Motoring Services at AA Cars, says: “For drivers across the country, MOT tests should be part and parcel of car ownership – or so we’d have thought. Despite the MOT test being an annual statutory obligation for cars over the age of three, it’s the sort of thing that can easily slip through the cracks.

“It is crucial that drivers book their test in advance – they are not just a routine checkup, but a legal imperative to make sure your car is still fit to be on the road.

“From the 20th May there will be new categories for MOT test faults – failures will be categorised as either dangerous or major – which should bring some clarity to the “can I drive it away from the test centre” question.

“You can get the MOT up to a month early and still keep the same renewal date – so there’s nothing to gain by leaving it to the last minute.

“Either set your own reminder or sign up to the government’s MOT reminder service – you just need your vehicle registration number, email address and mobile number at the ready.

“It is worth noting that your MOT is a snapshot of time and regular servicing is vital to keep your car in a safe condition all year round.

“It’s also worth carrying out a few quick checks on your car before your MOT to avoid failing your test and being stung with expensive repairs ”

Checking your car before your MOT to avoid costly repairs:

  1. Headlights and Indicators: Have a quick scout around the car and check your headlights, sidelights, indicators and number plate lights are working. If not then head to your local garage to replace the bulb or contact your manufacturer to source a replacement. It should be quite straightforward to replace them yourself using the handbook but if you are unsure then ask your garage to fit them for you.
  2. Brake lights: You can either get someone else to help with this or park your car so you can see a reflection so you can stand on the brake pedal and see if your brake lights light up and then turn off as you release it.
  3. Number plate: Make sure your number plate is clean – you can fail due to your number plate being dirty or unclear to read. Just a quick wipe with a cloth could save you time and money further down the line.
  4. Wheels and tyres: Make sure your tyres meet the minimum legal tyre tread depth that is 1.6mm. You can measure this using a device that you press into the tyre tread to measure the depth for you. If your tread depth is below the legal limit or your tyres have cuts or bulges then they must be changed.
  5. Seats and seatbelts: You will need to check all your seatbelts are in working order and make sure the driver’s seat can adjust backwards and forwards.
  6. Windscreen: Check your windscreen to make sure it is not chipped or cracked. The maximum damage size is 40mm anywhere on the windscreen but cannot be wider than 10mm in an area in front of the driver’s seat.
  7. Windscreen wipers: Make sure the wipers actually wipe your screen clean – any tears or holes in the wiper rubber will cause a fail. You will need to buy new ones and replace them using the instructions provided.
  8. Screen wash: Make sure your washer bottle is topped up – if you don’t have any screen wash left top it up with some water.
  9. Horn: Check your horn is working and if not get it repaired or replaced.
  10. Fuel and engine oil: Make sure you have enough of each. You could be turned away from an MOT without suitable levels of fuel and oil as they will need to run the car to test it’s emission levels.
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