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.
Almost 20% of MOT failures are caused by lighting and signalling problems.
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 MOT test can add up if your vehicle is on the older side.
However, it is surprisingly easy to reduce the costs when it comes to the dreaded MOT test and that is by 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.
1. Use your driver’s manual to stay on top of maintenance
Cars fail their MOT test for a variety of reasons. According to Moneystepper, 12.5% of cars fail because of suspension issues and 10.2% fail because of braking problems.
These costs can begin to add up but 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 tell you when it is best to change various car parts, including your car’s shock absorbers, brake pads and other points of failure. This means all the costs won’t come all at once after your MOT has failed its test.
2. 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. This is something really basic and any average joe should be able to fix a car light.
Start by checking that your front and rear lights work as intended (you may need somebody else to help you out here). 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.
3. Reduce wear on your brakes by driving smoothly and safely
Braking issues are the third most common cause of MOT failure. You’ll need to regularly check your vehicle’s brake and make sure they are well maintained to remain safe on the road. You can make your brakes last longer by driving smoothly and avoid any sudden breaking.
Braking suddenly will cause significant wear on your brake pads and if this happens often, you’re more likely to need a new set of brake pads earlier than you anticipated.
4. Check your tyres before you take your car in for its MOT
Tyres can become expensive, especially if you’re not expecting that cost on MOT test day. In order to pass an 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.
A simple way to check your tyres is the common ‘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.
5. Get your car maintained at a trustworthy local garage
The key to ensuring your car passes its MOT with flying colours is maintenance, and this can get expensive. If you currently receive car maintenance services at the dealership, you can save money by taking it to a trustworthy local garage.
You may want to 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.
6. 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 the right tyre pressure.
It is important to 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.
7. 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.
8. 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. However, be mindful that some garages will give you a free retest if you get the work carried out in their garage.
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.
9. 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.
10. 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 test 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 car warranty additions include MOT failure? Something can provide you with real peace of mind.
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.