What does the UK MOT extension mean for drivers?
When Covid 19 took hold of the UK, one sigh of relief was the 6 month MOT extension. Drivers across the country hailed the idea that they could postpone the inevitable MOT repair costs and keep their money for more important things such as food and bills. However, as several motorists have probably come to realise, you must still keep your vehicle safe to receive compensation from a claim.
In this short article we give our opinion on things to look for, how we can help and what some of the larger insurance companies are saying.
What To Look For During The MOT Extension
Every time you drive your vehicle, it is your legal obligation to make sure it is safe. Although there are a lot of conscientious drivers on the road, there are a select few who will wait for their MOT to tell them something is wrong.
Here is a checklist of important things to look for when it comes to your vehicles safety.
1 – Lights
The RAC claim that “Nearly a fifth of all cars which fail their MOT are because of an issue with their lights.”
The most common lighting issue is broken bulbs. Prior to any journey, make sure you inspect your vehicle and include the number plate lights. The last thing you need is a failed insurance claim due to a faulty indicator.
Secondly, you must check the condition of your headlights. Headlights can become clouded over time and in need of refurbing or replacing.
2 – Suspension
Suspension is one of the most common MOT failures. Due to your suspension absorbing every impact from the road, moving parts will wear out and need replacing over time.
The AA suggest four things to look for with suspension damage:
- Difficulty Turning
- Uneven Tyre Treads
- Dips When Stopping
- Oily Shocks
3 – Brakes
Lets be honest, having the ability to stop on the road is what keeps us out of trouble. Brakes are one of the most used parts on any vehicle and therefore become worn and less effective over time.
If your ability to brake feels lessened, make sure you contact your local garage. A repair could be as simple as replacing the pads, but if left longer something more sinister could go wrong.
For those of you toying with the home garage, it is always best to get a second ‘professional’ opinion on something that could save your life.
4 – Tyres
Tyre failure, a little like brakes, can be a very costly thing to fix.
The law states that cars, light vans and trailers must have a tyre tread depth of 1.6mm, which is roughly the outer band of 20p piece. Insert the coin into the tyre tread and if you can see the outer band it is time for a change. Most people do not know that failing to do so can result in a fine of up to £2500.
When checking your tyres, make sure you look both inside and out. Uneven surfaces, sudden impact and potholes can cause bulges and cuts which could result in a blowout.
5 – Mirrors, Wipers, Washers & Windscreens
It is a little known fact that 8.5% of all faults are related to the drivers view of the road (Gov Uk).
Issues such as faulty windscreen wipers, non functioning side mirrors and blocked washer jets can result in automatic failures. All of these issues can be tested simply and corrected prior to an MOT to avoid a retest.
You must also identify any chips or cracks in your windscreen. Anything that is larger than 1cm in the driver’s field of vision, or 4cm anywhere else, is an automatic fail. Some chips can be repaired if identified quickly and are a lot cheaper then a replacement windscreen.
What Are The Large Insurance Companies Saying About The UK MOT Extension?
After giving you some insight into what to look for, we wanted to provide you with the insurance companies opinions. We’ve therefore compiled direct quotes from their site to highlight the importance of these checks.
London Victoria (LV)
“Drivers can be prosecuted if driving unsafe vehicles. We will take this exemption into account, however MOT tests that were due before 30th March 2020 will be considered on a case-by-case basis.”
“It’s your responsibility to ensure that your vehicle is roadworthy and not driven in an unsafe condition, and we may not be able to cover you if you’re in an accident due to poor maintenance of the car.”
“Being unable to get your vehicle tested won’t invalidate a claim providing you keep your vehicle safe and roadworthy during this time”
“Your insurance will remain valid, as long as your car remains roadworthy. However, you must follow Government guidelines in order to ensure you’re still driving legally.”
“As always, please make sure you still take the time to carry out basic vehicle checks such as checking tyre pressure/tread, water levels, ensuring windscreen liquid and oil are the correct levels and that lights work”
In summary, it is vital that you maintain your vehicles safety even though your MOT has been extended. This will not only keep your family safe, but will also stop you from receiving large fines or invalidating your insurance policy.
It is also key to point out that it is not just you on the road, the Coivd 19 pandemic is a difficult time for everyone. Our minds are constantly on other things meaning concentrating on the road might not be the number one priority.
Stay safe, keep your vehicle maintained and contact us if you have any further questions.