One of the biggest motoring myths is that MOT tests are a fixed price and that it’s really not worth your while shopping around. That’s not actually true and with a bit of careful planning, you can save huge amounts on this annual motoring cost.
Planning and Booking
The MOT fee set out by the government is a maximum, a cap on the fee garages can charge. Many choose to charge a lot less in order to attract customers. If you’re prepared to have your MOT done in the afternoon rather than the morning, for example, you can often strike a better deal. Similarly, there are discounts for booking online, and giving more than a couple of weeks’ notice. Some of the larger chains or main dealers will do “package” deals, rolling the cost of the MOT, servicing or other work into one cheaper price. Shop around and don’t just assume that the local garage is the cheapest.
Prepare for the Test
Many of the reasons for a car failing its MOT are very minor. You don’t need to be an expert to spot a large crack running up your windscreen, or that there’s a warning light on your dashboard. If your tyres are below the minimum tread depth, shop around for the best deals on tyres and get them fitted before the test. If you wait until your car has failed with a dangerous defect, you’re far more limited in your options for buying parts and getting them fitted. And even if you could fit new windscreen wipers or replace a headlight bulb yourself, waiting until your vehicle fails limits you to paying mechanic labour charges to do the job. MOT test guidelines are public and widely available online.
Don’t Neglect General Maintenance
Too many drivers only start to think about maintenance and looking after their vehicle when the MOT is fast approaching. It’s far better to take the opposite approach; keep on top of things like regularly checking your tyres, replacing a bulb if you see it’s blown or topping up your windscreen wash. Have your car serviced according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, and ask the mechanic to point out any faults or problems which might cause an issue in the future.
Consider an Extended Warranty
If you don’t like financial shocks, buying an extended warranty can be well worth the money. This works like standard warranties on a new car, and is like an insurance policy against major defects. Some dealers will offer a warranty for a set number of months when you buy a second-hand car, or buy a separate extended warranty to cover all risks. The older your car, and the more likely to go wrong, the more expensive the policy. It’s a bit of a gamble. If nothing ever goes wrong with the car, you’ve been spending money each month for nothing. If you’re self-disciplined enough, you could simply set the same sum aside in order to have an emergency car fund squirrelled away.