From insurance to petrol, the costs of driving your car can quickly add up. As your car gets older and its maintenance needs increase, the cost of ensuring your car is prepared for its annual MOT test can grow significantly.
While the fees associated with an MOT are minimal – most cars only cost £54.85 to be tested – the repairs and maintenance required to pass the test can add up if your vehicle is on the older side.
Luckily, it’s surprisingly easy to reduce the costs of maintaining your vehicle to keep it compliant, legal and safe. In this guide, we’ll share 10 ways to save money on your MOT and keep the cost of driving your vehicle as affordable as possible.
Use your driver’s manual to stay on top of maintenance
Cars fail their MOT test for a variety of reasons. According to Moneystepper, 18.7% of vehicles fail because of lighting and signalling issues. 12.5% of cars fail because of suspension issues, while 10.2% fail because of braking problems.
A great way to stay ahead of common maintenance problems is by finding your car’s service and parts replacement intervals. Your car manual will let you know when it’s time to change your car’s shock absorbers, brake pads and other points of failure.
Check your lights before you take your car for its MOT test
Almost 20% of vehicles that don’t pass their MOT fail because of lighting and signal problems. Checking your car’s lights is quick and simple, helping you spot problems that could cause your car to fail and avoid paying the MOT test fee twice.
Start by checking that your front and rear lights work as intended. Check your front headlights, your hazard lights and indicators, dipped lights and high beams. If your indicators have a yellow coating, make sure it isn’t starting to peel away.
Reduce wear on your brakes by driving smoothly and safely
Braking issues are the third most common cause of MOT failure. While you’ll need to get your car’s brakes serviced and maintained in order to drive safely, you can make your brakes last longer by driving smoothly and avoiding sudden braking.
When you brake suddenly, you wear out your vehicle’s brake pads, making it more important that they’re placed frequently. Brake slowly and smoothly and you’ll put less of a strain on your car’s brakes and preserve more of its tyre tread.
Check your tyres before you take your car in for its MOT
Tyres are a common reason for MOT failure. In order to pass its MOT, your car will need to have at least 1.6 millimetres of tread on each of its tyres – anything less can result in an immediate failure, even if the rest of your car is in perfect condition.
Check your tyres before your MOT test using the 20p coin trick. Push a 20p coin into your tyre tread and check to see if the outer edge of the coin is visible. If you can see the rim of the coin, make sure you replace your tyres before your car’s MOT.
Get your car maintained at a trustworthy local garage
The key to ensuring your car passes its MOT with flying colours is maintenance, and good car maintenance is far from cheap. If you currently get your car maintained at the dealership, you can save money by taking it to a trustworthy local garage.
Ask your friends and family for recommendations or search online for a local garage that specialises in your car’s make and model. Local garages almost always cost less than dealerships, especially if your car needs extensive repairs and servicing.
Check your tyre pressure to avoid extra wear and tear
Your tyres will eventually need to be replaced regardless of how you drive, but you can preserve their tread and make them last longer by making sure they’re filled to the right tyre pressure.
Check your tyre pressure every month. Under inflated tyres will slow your car down and increase the amount of fuel it uses. Over inflated tyres will increase the speed at which your tyre tread is worn down, making more frequent replacement necessary.
Need extensive repairs? Compare the price for parts online
If your car fails its MOT and the garage quotes you a high price for parts and repairs, ask for a full parts invoice. You might be able to save money (often several hundred pounds) by purchasing the parts online and having them shipped to you.
Many common engine parts can be found online, often at prices far below what your local garage charges. Most garages will be happy to fit parts you’ve purchased online and will only charge for labour, potentially saving you hundreds of pounds.
Failed your MOT? Take your car elsewhere for a second opinion
While most of the MOT test is objective – for example, tyre tread must be a certain depth in order to pass – some aspects of the MOT are subjective, meaning your car could pass or fail based on the opinion of the mechanic performing the test.
If your car is in good overall condition but fails its MOT due to a subjective factor, try taking it to another garage. It might pass, saving you the cost of having maintenance or repairs carried out by the first garage that reviewed it.
A good way to get the most objective result in your MOT test is by taking your car to a council-run MOT centre. Since they have no commercial interest in finding faults in your car to repair, they’ll take an honest look and pass your car if it’s compliant.
Keep detailed service records so potential problems are easy to spot
The earlier your car’s problems are noticed, the cheaper they’ll be to repair. Issues that seem small can quickly grow into serious problems when ignored, particularly when it comes to complicated parts of your car like its gearbox or engine.
Keep your car’s service records, along with notes from the mechanics that work on it, so that your local MOT centre can spot potentially expensive problems early and help you avoid costly repairs.
Get an extended car warranty to avoid expensive repairs
As your car gets older, the chance of it needing extensive repairs or maintenance in order to pass its MOT increases substantially. A great way to save money and avoid the cost of unforeseen car repairs is by purchasing an extended car warranty. Did you know that Warrantywise warranty additions include MOT failure?
Our car warranties make the cost of motoring more affordable by helping you avoid expensive repair bills. Click here and enter your registration number online or enter your reg in the box above to find out how little it could cost to protect your car with an extended warranty.