The main trick to getting a cheap MOT is to prepare for it properly. The fee associated with car maintenance is usually no more than £54.85. However, troubleshooting and repairs can cost much more, especially if the vehicle is no longer new. So how can you save money on cheap maintenance and make driving more affordable? The following tips and secrets will help you with this task.
Key features of maintenance
MOT is a legal requirement for vehicles in the UK that are over three years old (four years old in Northern Ireland). The annual inspection provides a professional assessment of the vehicle's suitability for safety standards and operation. Passing this test ensures that the car, motorcycle or other vehicle meets all legal requirements.
It should be borne in mind that a new certificate must be obtained no later than one month before the previous one expires. In addition, there are additional requirements in Northern Ireland that you should familiarize yourself with in advance.
So, what rules should a car owner follow and what should he or she be aware of?
- Make sure that the certificate is valid and not expired. You can find information about this in the central database or check the paper document. It is the owner who ensures the validity of the certificate.
- Get a reminder of the need for maintenance. Using the Gov.uk service, you can enter your car's registration number to find out when the test is due. You can also get a free reminder a month before the test by entering your phone number or email.
- Book maintenance in advance. Even if the certificate has already expired, you can still have the MOT if you have made an appointment in advance. If a "dangerous" malfunction is detected during the test, the vehicle must not be driven, as this may have a negative impact on the environment or pose a danger on the road. In case of failure to pass the inspection, the inspection office issues a certificate to that effect. If you think the result is unfair, you can appeal the result with the help of the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency).
The cost of MOT is £54.85 for cars and up to £30 for motorcycles, but the secrets described in the next section will help you save a lot of money, because service or repair centers still earn much more from troubleshooting.
MOT yourself: check the most common malfunctions
Up to 20% of the problems identified during the test are related to alarms and lighting. In some cases, you can fix such problems yourself, saving a lot of money. Before you go for cheap maintenance, we recommend that you check the following on your own:
- tire pressure and the general condition of the tires (if you don't have a maintenance checkup for this reason, it will cost much more than finding the best price in advance and fixing the problem quickly);
- windshield - cracks and chips should be absent, and the windshield wipers should work effectively;
- seat belts;
- fuel and oil level - the indicators on the panel should not show any warning signs;
- lighting - check all headlights and indicators, if faulty, a bulb can be purchased for a few pounds and replaced by yourself if you have the appropriate skills.
You can find informative video tutorials on how to pre-check your car before the test on the DVSA website.
Where can I get a cheap MOT?
As a rule, many service centers offer promotions for inspections, because they make most of their money from repairs. But saving £30 on maintenance won't matter if you spend £2,000 on troubleshooting. That's why choosing the right center for cheap maintenance depends on the condition of the car and its age.
Car in perfect condition: choose the cheapest maintenance center
If you are sure that the car has no malfunctions, feel free to find the best deals. Sometimes car dealerships offer minimal rates, as repairs at franchised dealers are often very expensive.
It can be private local garages or even colleges that offer service at cheap prices. For example, Halfords performs maintenance for £30, Mr Clutch for £35, and ATS Euromaster for £39.99.
If you need maintenance and minor repairs
Municipal centers offer their services to check cars. If not too serious problems are found, maintenance will be carried out, but the specialist will also offer recommendations for troubleshooting. After that, the owner will have the opportunity to find the most favorable option by reviewing all the offers.
Major repairs: where to go
If the car is not in the best condition and you definitely need to fix serious malfunctions, we advise you to consider different options and find a place where professionals can repair the car at an affordable price and then carry out maintenance. Use the advice of friends or acquaintances in search of a reliable repair center, read online reviews, and ask for a price list in advance to fix specific problems.
The most important thing to remember is that if the inspector finds serious problems, you cannot use the car until the repairs are made in accordance with the new rules that came into force in 2018. If the center or garage does not offer troubleshooting services, the only way out is to call and pay for a tow truck.
After the repair, testing must be repeated. In some cases, this service is provided free of charge or with a significant discount. For example, if the malfunctions have been eliminated within ten days, the retest at the test center is free of charge.
Hidden maintenance centers: the cheapest way
Most municipalities have their own centers where public transport - buses, minibuses, etc. - are inspected. According to the law, such service stations are available to anyone. However, their peculiarity is that they do not carry out repairs, so this option is best suited for relatively new vehicles without malfunctions. In case of detection of "dangerous" problems, you will have to pay extra for the transportation of the vehicle to the place of repair.
There are municipal testing centers in every region. To find them, use local directories or contact your municipality directly.