Should our cars be MOT’d after 4 years?

This logo was last used in January 2012 when this change was last proposed.

FOXY is asking women drivers for their opinions about increasing the period before a car has its first statutory safety check from 3 to 4 years.

Much as it did five years ago, the Government is seeking views on whether the age a vehicle gets its first MOT should be increased from 3 to 4 years.

Just to remind readers, the MOT is a car’s only statutory safety check and it is required annually after a car’s third birthday, even if it’s just a snapshot of safety areas on the day. Drive without one and your insurance is likely invalid.

As things stand, some 40% of vehicles fail their first MOT after 3 years so there is a definite safety concern were we to extend this period by a further 12 months.

The likely MOT verdict?

On first glance FOXY’d expect

+ motorists to say yes, because it’d mean them saving money and spending less time in garages.

+ car manufacturers and dealers to rewrite car servicing requirements to bring them more regular business in these early years.

+ garages and associated MOT service providers to be up in arms as this’d mean less business/more unemployment.

But I wonder how car insurers will feel about this knowing the relationship between safe cars and accident levels knowing that so many vehicles fail their first MOT at 3 years, concerning critical safety items like tyres.

And is it really a good idea to have vans on our road doing c50,000 miles a year for 3 let alone 4 years (150,000 to 200,000 miles without a check?) before they are subject to their first statutory road safety check?

Too important for women drivers to ignore

FOXY is preparing a response for the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) representing the views of women drivers and we’d welcome your opinion here.

As we see it, the UK’s MOT regime is ultimately about YOUR road safety and that of YOUR family, including pedestrians. This makes it too big a subject for women to ignore or allow men to make this decision, simply because they are more likely to be reading about this in the motor trade press.

I am particularly interested to learn why the Government is raising this debate, as it would surely earn less VAT money in the event of a first MOT after 4 years?

And surely this government has more important matters on its horizon.

But above all, I’d like to know who stands to benefit most from this proposal, if anyone.

We will then reflect your opinions and any concerns in our response to the DVSA.

Please have your say through FOXY by EITHER emailing your thoughts to steph@foxyladydrivers.com or add to the thread at our Facebook Page.

Steph Savill

NB: The options being proposed are:
1. to keep the current period for vehicles requiring a first MOT at 3 years, with no change
2. to increase the age all vehicles get their first MOT from 3 to 4 years
3. to increase the age cars and motorcycles get their first MOT from 3 to 4 years, but keeping it at 3 years for vans in classes 4 and 7

We’ve driven a safe Volvo deal for Club members

Club members enjoy fantastic Volvo deals
In case you need reminding, FOXY is all about saving Club members’ money when it comes to motoring bills in 2017.

So, when it comes to buying a new car, we recognise that this is a significant investment when it’s extremely important to be sure you’re getting the best possible deal, ideally without having to haggle, and from a business you know you can trust.

Thanks to Volvo’s Affinity programme, Club members have that reassurance and access to a variety of discounts and offers. That means you can get your hands on a brand-new Volvo at a very tempting price.

The Volvo UK dealership network knows that members of FOXY Lady Drivers Club are eligible for special deals – they make it easy for you to talk discounts and finance when the time is right.

If you’re a Club member simply visit your local Volvo showroom to view the range. Then, once you’ve selected the model of your choice, a member of the sales team will talk you through the options.

The three elements of Volvo’s affinity deal

Volvo cars are popular with Club members
The first element of Volvo’s affinity deal is your FOXY Partner discount, awarded as a percentage of the vehicle’s net cost.

This maximises the value of the discount, by keeping the pre-VAT price of the car as low as possible. In consequence, you get more for your money, putting Volvo ownership within closer reach.

The second is the Volvo discount itself. Volvo offers a lump-sum reduction on the net value of their cars which varies by model and means you’ll often secure a new vehicle for what feels like the cost of a second-hand car.

The third element is the option of metallic paint for free. This is usually sold at up to £700 so you have a wider selection of bodywork finishes to choose from when it comes to specifying your perfect Volvo. Without paying extra for metallic paint as so many motorists do.

Added Value Volvo Services

It is also possible to purchase an up-front servicing deal to plan your running costs for the first years of ownership. We offer three years of servicing at a Volvo main dealer for £300 with five years for £500. What’s more, packages like these are sometimes available at no cost to customers taking up a Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) offer. Just ask your local dealer.

If you’d like to spread your purchasing costs and keep interest payments to a minimum, Volvo’s finance deals change over time, but Affinity partners will often benefit from preferential interest rates – including occasional 0% deals that aren’t available to customers outside affinity car buying schemes like FOXY’s.

Finally, if you’d like to personalise your car, a selection of accessories can be added at discounted prices. These could include lifestyle accessories like roof bars, cycling racks, interior mats and dog guards. By clustering these items together in packages, Volvo is able to offer Club members’ significant discounts here as well.

Thanks to Volvo’s Affinity programme discounts, Club members can own their dream Volvo, equipped with their personalised specification, for a surprisingly modest outlay. Of course Volvo Cars are best known for their leading safety features and record but you can also enjoy the elegance, economy and poise that are also characteristics of the brand.

As a Club member you’ll be saving money whilst making a sound investment with a view to a safer motoring future.

NB: Terms apply re membership eligibility and family ownership. For example, you need to have been a Club member for a minimum of six months.
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If you plan to buy a brand new Volvo later in 2017, and you’re not a Club member yet, it will make financial sense to join FOXY Lady Drivers Club at least six months ahead.

2017 Motoring Resolutions – Spend Less, Spend Wisely

Photo acknowledgement to Scott Webb/Unsplash

This blog has been written by Claire Jones-Hughes of BrightonMums.com.

“On a drive back from a meeting in Maidstone home to Brighton, my Peugeot 308 started to lose power.

There were some rumblings in the engine, it didn’t stall, just restricted the speed to around 55mph with limited ability to accelerate.

Now I do know enough about my car to look after it, get it serviced (which I do regularly) and fixed but I had a worrying suspicion this might be the turbo and feared the worst for the bank balance.

I made it home safely and messaged a diesel-driving (male) friend for advice. It could be a turbo pipeline blockage; it could be the whole thing that has failed. And even visiting my reliable, female-friendly local garage M J B Motors, I was still looking at a pretty packet. And it did need replacing. Ouch!

Could this turbo expense have been avoided?

Although it’s not unusual for turbos to need replacing after a while, especially on cars over 7-years old or after a certain mileage, I now realise there are things I could have done to defer this expense.

Now, I’m not one for making resolutions but in an effort to sort out family finances during 2017, I am embarking on a ‘buy nothing’ or ‘minimalism’ lifestyle to make a difference. This means looking at what we spend your money on and finding ways to cut back, cut things out, mend and repair rather than replace or find stuff you need second-hand or free.

I need the car for work and family errands (visiting my 94-year old grandmother regularly for example), so it has to stay. However, when I read Steph’s earlier motoring resolutions at this blog, it inspired me to make my own in order to use the car more effectively.

So here are some of my commitments for 2017.

1. Don’t run the tank down empty. This most certainly has an impact on the engine and how much residual dirt my 2009 Peugeot pulls through from it’s old tank. This is one of my worse habits as a ‘juggle-mama’.

2. Clean the car inside and out. Shamefully I rarely do. As a business-owner and mum-of-two, this always gets shelved and it’s a luxury to pay someone to do this. Taking care of the paintwork will help prevent corrosion. Taking care of the inside upholstery means if we ever sell the car, it’s likely to be more desirable to buy but also comfortable for us to use. It’s already in fairly good condition but now is the time to start better cleaning habits.

3. Check oil and tyres regularly. During Tyre Safety Month 2016, Steph showed me the 20p check, so there’s no excuse not to check the tread. Especially as we don’t use the car as much as when I was commuting 35 miles a day. Making sure there is enough and regularly clean oil simply helps the engine live happily for longer…

4. Routinely check my mirrors, windows and headlamps for dirt before I set off on journeys. Especially during the winter months, these can get dirty, potentially obscuring vision. Usually I notice this 300 yards down the road, pull over and wipe. What a faff!

5. Re-introduce the eco-driving practices I learned on the Energy Savings Trust course years ago. Especially as I’m stuck with a now controversial diesel car, this is more important than ever until we can afford to buy a new car run on cleaner energy. The last time I did this consistently, I increased the fuel economy by an extra 5 miles to the gallon. Doesn’t sound like a lot but it helps!

What could you do different to drive more economically, eco-friendly or cost-effectively this year?”
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FOXY Footnote:

Thank you Claire. As you explain so well, most of us have learned the wisdom of regular car maintenance and servicing the hard way.

And now we know better, it’s amazing to hear how many motorists still don’t know how to look after their car and why this affects its reliability and their family safety.

We can only hope that when Club members need to buy a used car in future they can find one that’s been owned by a responsible motorist like you that knows the drill rather than one that evidently doesn’t care. In our experience, if a car has been neglected it’ll return that favour in big bills – we call this carma-nomics haha…

It’s an ill wind thanks to BT…

For good business reasons we arranged for our broadband services to move from BT to PlusNet today.

Telecomms and IT aren’t my subject so this was something my husband Paul decided to look after.

He understands the subject and, having been less than happy with poor broadband speeds plus an uncaring, disconnected and inflexible attitude at BT for years, he was looking forward to returning to PlusNet.

Opening the office that morning at 8.30am I realised something wasn’t right. We couldn’t access our server. I’d forgotten the date of the handover, of course, and even if I had remembered this it never dawned on me that this process would mean an online business being left without its ability to be online, during working hours.

Maybe I was naïve on this count…

Clearly BT had switched us off before PlusNet had time to catch their baton.

So we called PlusNet to learn that they had their own, seemingly major, technical problems that their engineers were busy trying to fix. And they couldn’t deal with accounts queries as a result.

So here we are – it’s 1.30pm and we still have no broadband or access to our business.

A little later on we sparked up a 4G smartphone and managed to get someone interested @PlusnetHelp.

And by 4pm we were live again. Thanks to Twitter in no small way.

So in case this has affected Club members or our business partners in any way, my sincere apologies but now you understand what’s been going on.

Looking on the bright side, as ever, I’ve acquired some unexpected time to do some writing and thinking about opportunities to help us move FOXY forward.

In short, it’s an ill wind for me today and an unexpected reason to thank BT for this unexpected leaving present…

New Year Motoring Resolutions | tick

This year I’m going to put my New Year resolutions in writing so there’s no getting away from them. Here goes.

In 2017 I’m going to (ie try to)…

1. use my car less when it’s local and walk more.
2. get on my bike more (and not keep making excuses all the time…)
3. check my car tyres monthly.
4. go new tyre shopping when tyre tread is 3mm not 1.6mm tread (I’ll use the 20p coin to check this
5. find more occasions to spread the word about tyre safety lessons I’ve learned.
6. smile not snarl when drivers behave badly/wind me up.
7. keep within the speed limits (but not drive too slow that others get too frustrated).
8. never drink and drive.
9. offer to be the designated driver whenever the driver thinks they’re OK after a couple of beers.
10. diarise all my important diary dates eg MOT, car servicing/tax/insurance renewals so I don’t forget/can shop around/am in control.

Happy New Year resolutions to everyone.

If you’d like to add or share yours, please do so at @FOXYTweets or FOXY Lady Drivers Club’s Facebook Page.

FOXY Steph

A blog for women about motoring