Britain’s motorists are a put-upon bunch. A day doesn’t seem to go by without some new piece of malevolent legislation designed to create so much monetary, motoring misery that drivers will eventually give up their car and say, “Do you know what, I think I’ll take public transport instead”. Which is, of course, exactly what THEY want.
This is nothing new. It has been going on for years and it all started with the MOT. Of itself, the MOT is not a bad thing; the last thing we want is for people to drive around in sub-standard vehicles, although there are some people out there who continue to do just that by the simple expedient of flouting the law. The problem is that as cars have evolved and the hate campaign has intensified the test procedures have become increasingly draconian.
Still, it is what it is. Conform or suffer the consequences. Know and accept that if your car fails you will be required to fork out a sum roughly equivalent to the gross national product of, say, Liberia, just to get back on the road. There is however one way to help mitigate the damage and that’s by a little bit of automotive DIY.
No! Wait! Come back! It really isn’t that bad. Get a grip and roll up those fashion sleeves. Amazingly these days many people don’t prepare their car for an MOT at all. That’s just daft when a set of simple checks could save you time, money and inconvenience. Many cars fail on the basic items and you have to rush about in a fraught manner to get it sorted asap.
For a start you could wash your car or, better still, get someone else to clean it for you. It can’t be very nice for mechanics to work on a filthy motor and it will allow you to see any damage, especially to wheels. While you’re down there, check the tyres. Make sure there is no damage and there is there is a tread depth of at least 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre width and all the way round.
Clean your windscreen so you can see any cracks or stone chips. Make sure all lights are working and get someone to help with brake lights. Lift the wipers and check the leading edge for any damage. Then wipe them with a damp cloth to aid smooth operation. Look under the car to see if there are any fluid leaks. In the wet, leaking oil looks like a rainbow died under your wheels.
Make sure all fluids under the bonnet are topped up – don’t just leave it for the service intervals. On a decent vehicle they will probably be fine but you never really know for sure. The horn, seat belts, handbrake – even electronic ones should be functioning correctly and if there are any telltale fault lights on the dash board then that warrants looking into. Yes, it has come to this. You can no longer ignore the ‘check engine’ light.
I’m not suggesting that these basic checks will help make your chances of passing the MOT one hundred percent guaranteed but it might just save you a few quid in the long run. Once upon a time these checks used to be a weekly job but we have become complacent. Don’t let them grind you down! Find out how your car works! Keep on motoring! Geoff Maxted