There has been scepticism about a recent idea which could see annual MOTs scrapped in favour of tests every two years.
But if the concept was ever to become reality, what could UK motorists do to help look after their vehicle long term?
The car leasing experts at Leasecar.uk and its sister site LeaseElectricCar.co.uk say the discussion is at least a good opportunity to encourage drivers up and down the country to conduct their own regular car safety checks so they can keep fully in tune with their trusty motor.
They suggest the idea of conducting a ‘DIY MOT’ – consisting of around ten essential safety checks they recommend to be carried out by drivers at least once a year. But they say professional advice must be sought from a garage to address problems you might find.
A spokesperson for Leasecar.uk said: “At the moment the idea of a bi-annual MOT is just speculation with the Government seeking to help cash strapped Britons. However, we believe that it is still just as important to ensure cars are road safe at all times.
“This doesn’t mean drivers have to be spending money at the garage regularly as there are some simple checks they can do themselves that don’t involve a lot of time and effort.
“Although people can carry out safety checks on their vehicles, it’s important to remember if a major issue presents itself when carrying out these checks, then it is best to leave them to a professional.
“Trying to fix and diagnose mechanical problems with little knowledge can be possible but ultimately not advised as it can be dangerous and not cost effective.”
Here are some of the ideas suggested by Leasecar.uk:
Make sure all your mirrors are in place and check they’re not cracked, impairing your view or exposing a damaged edge. Some mirrors can be removed and replaced with a stick-on version.
Ensuring that all tyres have the legal tread amount is essential for road safety. The legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm, you can check the tread of your tyres using a 20p coin. Insert the coin into the grooves of the tyre, if the outer band is visible then it will need to be replaced.
Get someone to help you check both the front and rear lights on the car whilst it’s stationary. Not only are functioning lights vital at night time but it is also a legal requirement. Lightbulbs can usually be replaced at home, details on how to do this safely and properly are normally in the driver’s manual.
Seats and seatbelts
There is often an assumption seatbelts don’t need to be checked but they also require regular inspection. Check the driver’s seat can be adjusted and that they’re all securely fitted. Check seatbelts for damage and pull them to make sure they react properly.
Oil, brake, power steering and windscreen fluid can all be located under the bonnet in most cars. Check the vehicle user guide for information on the appropriate fluid levels and how to replace and top up these liquids.
Check your windscreen for cracks. As long as a mark is not over 10mm and not obstructing the driver’s view, or on the driver’s side, you should be fine. Elsewhere on the windscreen, the mark should be no larger than 40mm.
A broken windscreen wiper can lead to a straight fail during an MOT regardless of what the weather is like that week. Lift the wiper blade up from the glass and inspect it to make sure there are no cracks, snaps or imperfections. Wipers can easily be replaced at home, just check what model is appropriate for the car and purchase accordingly.
Keep it clean
Keeping on top of car maintenance when it comes to cleaning is essential for a healthy and safe vehicle. Cleaning of both the interior and exterior can prevent the deterioration of the car and its parts, in turn keeping it safer on the road.