| Real Life Strategies for Building Wealth

Let’s talk about the importance and costs of safe motoring.

“But, Maria” – I hear you say – “I want to talk about how to stretch my money to last the month; I want to talk about how to make more money. Why would I like to talk about the importance and costs of safe motoring?”

Good question! I can just hope that my answers will convince. We’ll be talking about the importance and costs of safe motoring because:

  • Motoring expenses (including car loans, service, MOT, insurance, and fuel) are likely the second highest item on your budget sheet (I hope you have one of these, right?);
  • When things get difficult, and we are tightening the purse string, it may be tempting to look to our motoring expenses; and
  • Safe motoring is of utmost importance for you and the other people on the road.

Do you see? I want to talk to you about the importance and costs of safe motoring not only, and not simply, because we co-own an MOT and car service garage.

One of the ways to ensure that your car is roadworthy and safe to drive is to follow the government requirement to have it undergo an MOT test three years after it is initial registration and every year after that. Still, a recent study found that over half of the approached motorists (53%) didn’t know when their MOT is due and 16% saying they have put off fixing faults with their vehicles until their next scheduled service.

So, how important do you think it is to talk about the costs of safe motoring?

What is MOT?

MOT (Ministry of Transport) test ensures that your vehicle is roadworthy. This is required three years after the initial registration of a vehicle and every year after that.

Before you ask, no you can’t drive without a valid MOT certificate (except to the MOT and have proof it has been booked). Also, there is no grace period for MOT – it should be done when it is due.

When is your MOT is due?

Thinking about it, I fall into the group of people who don’t know when their MOT is due. It is not only because our car is two years old or because John normally deals with this stuff. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t remember things like that.

If you are like me, don’t panic – there are handy MOT checkers. I used one and know that our car is due for an MOT on 28 February 2019.

How much does MOT cost?

Prices that garages charge for an MOT vary greatly depending on the type of vehicle and the garage price structure. However, the maximum you should expect to pay for a car is £54.85 now; for a motorcycle, it is £29.65.

Worth noting that the large costs of safe motoring are not usually the fee you can expect to pay for the MOT test itself; these are for the service and maintenance necessary for your car to be deemed roadworthy.

Three easy ways to minimise the costs of safe motoring

Keeping your vehicle roadworthy, particularly if you are driving an older car, can be costly. Here are three easy ways in which you can keep these costs down, or at least make sure that you don’t fail your MOT test because of something you could have attended to before the test.

Find an MOT test deal

Deals are all the rage on most money blogs. When it comes to costs of the MOT test, I’d preach caution. Please make sure that by looking for the lowest price of MOT test you are not compromising the robustness of the test itself – MOT tests are a government requirement for a good reason and it is in your interest to be safe.

(Also, one of the perks of co-owning an MOT and car service garage is knowing that many testing stations get in trouble with the Ministry of Transport, and even get closed, because of doing a shoddy job.)

Conduct these simple checks

Here are three things that even a technical Luddite can check (and I’m one so I should know):

  • Check lighting and signaling. I’ll have you know that lightening and signaling faults account for 19% of MOT test failure. So save yourself some time and money and check there are no light bulbs for changing and all is as it should be.
  • Check your windscreen wipers. Again, simple enough and well worth doing.
  • Blow your horn. I mean literally make sure that the horn is working.

Clear your windscreen and dashboard

If you have prayer beads hanging off your mirror and dancing Elvis dolls on your dashboard clear them out. And while you are at it, make sure that there is nothing that obstructs your vision of the road – hard to believe but 7% of MOT failures are because of obstructing objects.

Finally…

Motoring is generally costly, and it is highly commendable to take steps to lower these costs. You can try buying used cars, cycling more, or using public transport (where possible). Reducing the costs of safe motoring, e.g. MOT test, maintenance, and regular service, should be tackled with care: it is too important to allow compromise of quality.