While incredibly essential at keeping faulty vehicles off the road, a car MOT can end up being a costly task when factoring in repairs and travelling. If you’re dreading your next MOT or are looking for ways to prepare, you’ll be pleased to know there are a number of things you can do to cut down the final bill. Check out the MOT checklist from Sunny to get started before using our tips to save some cash.
How much does an MOT cost?
The cost of an MOT varies, with garages often dictating their own individual price. However, the official DVSA states they can charge a maximum of £54.85 per car.
Rather than expecting to pay back hundreds or even thousands on repairs when your car has failed, take the time to have an in-depth check before you hand over the keys. It’s usually significantly cheaper to fix these issues before your MOT, with some being quick and easy fixes you can do yourself.
Many people panic and try to fix up their cars at the last minute. Keeping up with vehicle maintenance and regularly checking the factors mentioned in the below checklist is more cost-effective in the long run. You won’t have to pay out a large sum of money at the end of your MOT but rather smaller amounts over the course of the year to ensure your car is working at optimum capacity, which also prevents the issues from getting even worse. This could include regular servicing or a thorough monthly check by yourself, including the below:
- Lights – ensure that all lights are fully working, including front, rear, headlights, indicators, number plate light and hazards. If you find that one is faulty, invest in some new bulbs; it’s usually a cheap and affordable job, yet issues with lights and signalling is one of the most common reasons why people fail their MOT. In fact, according to the RAC, a fifth of all failures are thought to be because of issues with lights and signalling.
- Suspension – You can check your suspension by applying weight to each corner of the car. Once you have removed the pressure, the car should settle back into the original position.
- Brakes – While you should be wary about testing brakes yourself, you will likely notice if they feel unresponsive. Another thing to watch out for is the handbraking losing resistance and the brake wear warning light blinking.
- Windscreen – It’s important that there is little or no damage to the windscreen, particularly the part in the driver’s direct eye-line. Marks, cracks and other damage can be no bigger than 10mm in the central view, but can be up to 40mm in the entire area. Don’t forget to check the windscreen wipers, either. And remember, every chip will crack so it will need to be fixed sooner or later.
- Tyres – Check your tyre pressure and tyre tread. The former can be adjusted at most petrol stations with ease. To check the tyre tread of your car yourself, try out the 20p test, as suggested by Tyre Safe.
- Fluids – Take a look at the brake fluid, oil reserves and windscreen washer, ensuring there are no leaks.
- Exhaust – Check for leaks by starting the engine in a very well ventilated area. Listen for unusual noises, smoke or any other noticeable changes, as this could mean there’s a leak.
- Steering – If you’ve noticed that your steering wheel hasn’t been as responsive as it has been or a warning light is on, it may be wise to have it looked at by a professional.
- General once-over – When you’ve had a look at these specific elements, have a general look at the state of the car. This includes the interior and exterior, such as seatbelts, the horn, bumpers and floor.
How to save money on your MOT
There are a number of ways that you can cut down on the final cost of your MOT, especially when you factor in wider issues such as additional transportation. While you are unlikely to change the cost of the MOT itself, you can cut the cost with the following tips and tricks.
Look for deals
As mentioned, there is no set price for an MOT, just a maximum. Rather than leaving it until the last minute or rushing into booking your MOT, look around for deals and discounts. You can do so by visiting your local garage or doing a quick search online. Just because the maximum is £54.85 per car, doesn’t mean you have to pay that amount. If you’re certain your car will need repairs, remember to query how much this would cost. It’s not the MOT itself that is expensive, but the repairs that typically follow.
Get a council MOT
A large number of local councils use their own testing stations or centres in order to MOT their own vehicles which are open to the general public. While these testing stations may not offer deals on the cost of the MOT, many people have found they still up paying significantly less when using them.
Be aware that they only carry out tests and not repairs; if you think your car is likely to fail, it may be wise to go to a garage as you’ll have to arrange to have it moved to get repaired if this does happen.
Plan for every factor
You may have found a great deal and discounted repairs, but how will you get around while your car is in the garage? Taxis can add up, so swap them for buses or see if you can grab a ride from a co-worker. Some garages offer courtesy cars if they think your vehicle will be out of action for a while, which is something to look out for if you need to drive. If not, you could see if you can work from home so you don’t need to pay out for additional transport.
If you’re looking for more tips and tricks to save money, check out the Good Vibes blog. We have a myriad of articles to help you cut back on life’s many costs.