Tag Archives: motoring advice

March is a mad month for MoTs

After its third birthday your car needs an annual MoT safety check.

Just think about this for a moment.

If you drive 20,000 miles a year, that’s 60,000 miles before too many cars get any independent safety checks.

This is because many motorists do little or no car maintenance until and some 40% of all cars in England, Scotland and Wales then fail their first MoT test. Which equates to a high percentage of cars on our roads in an unsafe condition.

Now imagine if our Government gets its way and decides to delay the first MoT test for vehicles until the fourth year? As FOXY sees it, this means even more unsafe cars on our roads than before.

We cannot see how this would be a good solution for anyone, even if it could potentially save motorists a one-off £50 (per car) by delaying the MoT by one year. Think of the associated road safety and accident handling costs you’d cause here, Mr Chris Grayling MP.

And let’s also remind ourselves that the 3 year first MoT regime is the same for vans. Yet vans are more likely to do an average mileage closer to 50,000 per annum. That’s a total of 150,000 miles before a van needs an MoT. And they fail this test in higher numbers than cars at 3 years old. How long have these vans been unsafe through maintenance neglect we’d like to know.

What An MoT Includes

We were reminded about this by an infographic we liked which was supplied by Motorparks.

Today’s MoT test looks at safety elements relating to Lights, Suspension, Brakes, Tyres, Windscreens, Exhausts, Fluids, Mirrors, Seatbelts, Doors, Horns, Registration Plate, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), Bodywork and Fuel.

If you know you have a problem in any of these areas, it might be wise to get this addressed/fixed before the MoT.

Remember that your MoT test is but a safety snapshot on the day. Even if your car passed the MOT, make sure you read and know about any ‘advisories’ listed. Chances are these will need safety-related attention soon.

If it’s to do with car tyre tread levels, ask the MOT station to estimate when you’ll need new ones – you don’t have to buy them from that business of course but at least you’d have some time to save.

FOXY Advice: “I’ve driven a range of tyres and I always say buy the best ones you can afford, especially if you drive a lot. You’ll know the legal tyre tread is 1.6mm but that tyre is virtually worn out. I always go tyre shopping when my tread is closer to 3mm. I’ve seen the difference this makes in wet conditions. And even 3mm tread is a long way short of new tyres at 8mm tread.”

Remember that your MoT doesn’t include engine checks. This is what your car service does and why you need one regularly.

You probably need a car expert to make sure all’s well on the mechanical side of things before the bills start to ramp up – or your car lets you down.

And whilst YOU might be mechanically-savvy, few of us are (male or female) so a professional mechanic will likely spot engine problems we’d miss, so they can be fixed more cheaply than when the part in question (or engine if it’s been starved of good oil) finally gives up the ghost.

If after inserting in treads around tyre, you can see any of the 20p coin rim your tyre needs checking now.

Is there anything you suspect your car’ll fail its MoT test on? Maybe you could remedy this in advance?

New car tyres for instance? If your tyres don’t pass the 20p test (see side image), chances are they’re both illegal and dangerous. And could kill if you need them to stop and they can’t in time.

In all cases, the driver is responsible for the condition of the car they drive and we all know accidents happen. So best not to wait to be told that your car caused or contributed towards a bad accident. When it’s easy to run a safe and reliable car – once you know how.

FOXY

If you want to know how to run a safe and reliable car, why not join The Club and we’ll get there together!

Sixteen winter motoring tips

Winter-BreakdownHere’s some winter driving tips to keep you safe through winter months.

We’ve been lucky with the weather so far but it can’t last. Before we all descend into merry festive frost, snow and icy conditions here are our timely tips and practical ways to stay safer when driving this winter.

1. When the snow falls don’t make unnecessary journeys and avoid roads that are unlikely to get gritted.

2. If you have to venture out in bad weather make sure you plan ahead in case you get stuck. Food, hot drink in flask, warm clothes, suitable footwear, torch, mobile phone, important phone numbers, shovel – that sort of thing.

3. Keep your ice scraper, defrost spray and a pair of gloves to hand in the car. Clear snow from the car roof as well as the windows/windscreen in case it falls off and blocks your vision…

4. Don’t leave your car unattended whilst it’s defrosting – thieves love this and insurers don’t.

5. When the temperature drops below 7° consider winter tyres; they are MUCH safer re grip and braking. If you need advice, speak to one of our FOXY Lady Approved Tyre Centres

6. Is your breakdown cover up to date? What cover is it? Do you need Home Start? Your home is usually where your car won’t start, early in the morning and most ‘ordinary’ breakdown policies don’t include this and will refuse to come out unless you pay extra. It’s cheaper to add Homestart at the outset for peace of mind.
NB: Club members get a special RAC deal.

7. Check windscreen wipers and replace them if need be – visibility is everything.
Halfords will fit these but it’s very easy to DIY really…
NB: Where in doubt, members can ask us.

8. Keep your water bottle topped up and check this before a long journey – visibility is everything.
I remember driving in the outside lane on the M25 after a VW main dealer car service when I ran out of water to clear my murky windscreen because they hadn’t checked this (after ticking the checklist). I couldn’t see well enough through my grey and smeared screen and was very scared. I always check now.

9. Keep your lights clean – visibility again. Be sure to wipe them over after a dirty weather day’s driving. This makes a big difference to you and others.

10. Do you know how and when to use your foglights? Or when not to? Read your car handbook to be sure. Drivers using fog lights inappropriately can blind other drivers and of course if you don’t know how to use them you aren’t making the most of your visibility options.

11. Antifreeze levels – don’t neglect your engine during the winter. If it freezes outside that’s OK but you don’t want the water inside your engine to expand and crack your engine (usually terminal ie very expensive…) NB: Antifreeze also stops your engine from rusting inside aka a corrosion inhibitor so, despite its name, you need it all year round really…

12. Is your battery playing up? If it is you can rely on it to let you down when you need it most. Best to buy a new one.
NB: Club members save 15% off National Tyres & Autocare battery prices.

13. Look out for local garages offering a winter check – they’ll normally charge for this but it’ll save your time which should be costed into the formula. Start with a FOXY Lady Approved garage

14. Consider getting your windscreen coated with Duxback to keep it clean. This is the stuff used by aircraft because, when you think of it, they don’t use windscreen wipers but pilots need a clear screen just the same.
NB: Special Duxback offer coming in January.

15. We all know to cut back our speed but few of us realise it takes us up to ten times longer to stop on icy roads. So lengthen the gap between you and others. In floods, you could aquaplane ie lose road grip altogether in whci case you should take your foot off the accelerator and don’t brake hard – just let the car slow down in the hope you have the space to do this…

16. When it’s party time, just say ‘no’ to alcohol unless it’s someone else’s time to drive. Just one drink could affect your driving ability and you’d never forgive yourself if you caused an accident affecting others (at any time of the year…).

Stay safe by being ultra cautious whenever it’s cold, wet, icy or snowy. If you don’t have to drive or travel, just don’t.

FOXY