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Independent, impartial advice for car buyers and car owners

Is your car safe and sound – or a potential MOT failure?

Do you drive a car that’s car legal and roadworthy? Or are you regularly jumping behind the wheel of an MOT failure without even knowing it?

Do you drive a car that’s car legal and roadworthy? Or are you regularly jumping behind the wheel of an MOT failure without even knowing it?

The majority of motorists in the UK consider themselves law-abiding and respectful drivers. And if you’re one of them, it’s probably not your intention to break the law or wilfully take to the roads in a vehicle that’s dangerous.

But did you know that driving a car that doesn’t have screenwash can earn you a £1,000 fine and three penalty points?

If you answered ‘no’ to that, you’re not alone. A new survey has revealed that millions of British drivers lack the basic knowledge of vehicle maintenance and can’t – or don’t want to – know how to check straightforward features such as their car’s tyre pressures, the condition of their number plate or that screenwash level.

Protect yoursef, your car and your wallet from MOT failure

The findings, from motoring products and repairs company Halfords, reveal that the majority of motorists didn’t know that as well as being dangerous to drive an unroadworthy vehicle, it could also prove expensive. Almost two thirds of those surveyed were unaware that you can be fined £2,500 and handed three penalty points for driving a vehicle that’s in a dangerous condition. 

And as Britain’s drivers are using their cars less and less – due to Covid lockdowns and increased working at home – there are fears that millions could be putting off having their car serviced or repaired, which could lead to a throng of unsafe vehicles taking to the roads once the pandemic has eased.

The survey revealed that:

  • Only a quarter (27%) of drivers know that an underinflated tyre could result in an MOT failure
  • More than a third (36%) don’t even know the legal minimum tyre tread depth, which is 1.6mm
  • Almost two thirds (61%) of motorists don’t know the penalty for driving with a dirty number plate and one in 10 (10%) think there isn’t a fine at all. The penalty for failing to wipe down a number plate to ensure it’s readable is £1,000
  • Four in five (80%) drivers are also hazy on the laws surrounding screenwash
  • More than two-fifths (43%) of those quizzed think driving without screenwash isn’t an offence when, in fact, it could lead to a £1,000 fine and three penalty points

Not using your car as regularly because of lockdown restrictions may mean that drivers don’t realise its condition has deteriorated to the point where it becomes an MOT failure.

“It is highly concerning, the lack of knowledge around basic vehicle maintenance, which is required to keep everyone safe on the roads, especially as we are limiting our daily car use so we may not notice any changes in our vehicles,” said a Halfords spokesman.

“Sometimes people break motoring laws without even realising so it’s best to brush up your knowledge before hitting the roads especially as many of us will be driving less during this period of lockdown and future tier restrictions.”

Your health is as important as your car’s


The Car Expert recently revealed how the DVLA licensing bureau requires motorists to inform them if there is a medical condition that might affect their ability to drive. But many of the ailments weren’t always obvious, including diabetes, vertigo and labyrinthitis. Failure to declare these, and many other ailments, could land you with a £1,000 fine.

Tom Johnstonhttp://johnstonmedia.com/
Tom Johnston was the first-ever reporter on national motoring magazine Auto Express. He went on to become that magazine’s News Editor and Assistant Editor, and has also been Motoring Correspondent for the Daily Star and contributor to the Daily and Sunday Express. Today, as a freelance writer, content creator and copy editor, Tom works with exciting and interesting websites and magazines on varied projects.
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