Jun 242015

story1Carrying out simple checks and basic driveway DIY could prevent 1.5 million MoT failures every year, according to Warranty Direct.

Research conducted by the leading used vehicle warranty provider indicates that doing basic maintenance and replacing some accessible car parts at home could slash the number of MoT failures recorded in the UK each year.

With a current national MoT failure rate of 39.52%** and a government set maximum MoT price of £54.85** there has never been a better time to undertake some driveway DIY.

Increasingly complex cars put many motorists off maintaining their own cars, but the list of simple jobs that can mean the difference between passing and failing an MoT includes changing light bulbs, replacing windscreen washer fluid and checking parts like wipers and tyres.

Warranty Direct managing director, David Gerrans, said: “It never ceases to amaze us how many MoT failures could be avoided with the simplest of pre-test checks. Things such as making sure there are no cracks in your number plate, your wheels and tyres are undamaged and ensuring there are no tears or holes in the windscreen wiper rubbers are all things the motorist can do at home, but if left to test day can be the cause of MoT failure.”

An empty screen wash container can also cause an MoT fail, as can blown headlights, sidelights, rear lights, hazard lights and indicators all of which could mean forking out for a re-test.

See the table below for the top 10 things a motorist should check before an impending MoT test.

For even the most anxious home mechanic, everyday actions, such as ensuring your vehicle is filled with enough fuel and engine oil, will ensure you are not turned away from an MoT for having insufficient levels of fluids required for testing.

*SMMT MoT Data
** MoT Angel Data


Mar 192014

PDFA crackdown on the removal of diesel particulate filters means from last month it will be an instant MOT failure. The Government’s move follows a spate of problems affecting DPFs on cars driving in urban areas. Broken DPFs have caused cars to enter ‘limp mode’ restricting acceleration. This has led some drivers to remove the DPFs. However, you can just clean it.

Roads Minister Robert Goodwill said: “I am very concerned that vehicles are being modified in a way that is clearly detrimental to people’s health and undoes the hard work car manufacturers have taken to improve emissions standards. It has become apparent the government had to intervene to clarify the position on particulate filter removal given the unacceptable negative impact on air quality. This change to the MOT tests makes it clear – if you have this filter removed from your car it will fail the test.”

Cataclean® corporate development director Graham Fraser said it is especially important to take notice of the Government MOT law change as March is traditionally the busiest time of the year for MOTs (see notes to editors 2).

“The key message to motorists is to take care of your DPF,” he said. “Removing the DPF is no longer an option and risks invalidating your car insurance, making your car illegal to drive. Cataclean® can provide a simple low cost solution. Providing it is used before the DPF has broken, and the vehicle is treated with Cataclean® once a quarter, it can prevent the DPF from becoming clogged. Cataclean® does this by cleaning the engine, lowering soot emissions, by up to 60pc, reducing the need for constant regeneration of the DPF.

“We would also emphasize that Cataclean® has other benefits for all diesel, petrol and hybrid cars and vans. It can reduce emissions by protecting your catalytic converter and also improve fuel efficiency and performance.”

Cataclean® comes in an easy to use 475ml bottle designed to pour into a fuel tank. It can be bought for around £16 at all good motor factors including Euro Car Parts, Culmac (in North West region) GSF, Jim Barrow (in North West region), CES (UK) Ltd, Andrew Page as well as Halfords stores and Halfords autocentres.


Under EU legislation, any diesel motor produced after 2008 should have a DPF fitted as standard. It works as a filter to trap harmful particles and soot, preventing them from escaping and therefore reducing carbon emissions by up to 80%.

Diesel cars most affected by problems are those which spend their time in congested, urban areas. DPFs have a self-cleansing process built into the software of the car, so after a long journey, or on a motorway drive, they are meant to regenerate and re-cleanse. However, if the car spends a lot of time performing short journeys, the DPFs can become clogged because the regeneration process does not have time to initiate. This can lead to cars entering ‘limp home mode’ whereby they will not accelerate very quickly or even become speed restricted.

If a DPF fails it can leave drivers with hefty, four-figure bills for a replacement.

A recent report on BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours said fuel companies and motor manufacturers had been compiling details of DPF problems. The UK Petroleum Industry Association and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders told the BBC online: “We are aware that motorists in some parts of the UK have experienced incidences of diesel fuel filter blocking problems.  There is no pattern in fuel retail outlet, age, type or brand of vehicle, or the age of the filter affected.  We are actively investigating the situation, through British Standards Institution, to achieve a swift resolution and limit any inconvenience to affected customers.”

The Downstream Fuel Association, which represents organisations throughout the supply chain, from storage to the forecourt, told BBC online it was also involved. It added the investigation was open to all lines of inquiry and it was premature to draw any firm conclusions at this stage.

The Daily Mail reported that the AA says that it is regularly called out to deal with cars with the particulate filter light on – indicating a partial blockage of the filter.

Jun 222011

Car MOTSuspension component failures are the ‘three-year glitch’ most likely to cause a car to fail its first MOT, according to Warranty Direct.

The automotive insurance specialist analysed thousands of three and four-year old cars and found that the average repair cost for cars typically leaving their manufacturer warranty period is £338.

Last month, Warranty Direct launched an initiative to offer drivers of three-year old cars their first MOT test fee, costing just under £55, for free by registering at www.warrantydirect.co.uk/firstmotfree.

The safety-critical ABS braking system is the second most likely part to cause extra expense at the first MOT, costing £667 to fix. The turbocharger – fitted to nearly all diesel and many petrol cars – is the most costly repair item on the list, coming in at more than £750.

It’s not only complex systems that suffer premature failure – parts of the exhaust can break or wear out when a car is still comparatively young.

Parts most likely to fail between years three and four


Part Description

Ave cost (£)


Springs & Shocks



ABS System



Upper & Lower Arms






Exhaust System


Warranty Direct managing director, Duncan McClure Fisher, said: “A car’s first MOT is a milestone in its life and memorable but not always for the right reasons.

“Three years is the age at which cars usually lose their manufacturer cover and it’s no accident that it’s also typically when some parts start wearing out.

“It’s also no surprise that a car’s springs and shock absorbers are the first items to go wrong, given the shocking state of the UK’s roads.”

By registering at least 30 days before the third anniversary of the car’s original registration date at www.warrantydirect.co.uk/firstmotfree, vehicles can be booked into one of 550 Kwik Fit workshops for a free MOT.

May 192011

Free MOT TestIndustry leading direct to consumer car warranty provider, Warranty Direct, has teamed up with Kwik Fit to offer drivers of three-year old cars the chance to get their first MOT test fee for free.

With nearly a million more cars failing their MOT test in 2010 than three years ago, drivers can avoid the test fee, which amounts to almost £55, by registering at www.warrantydirect.co.uk/mot .

The number of cars failing their MOT increased by more than 2% over the last three years, to 40.6% in 2010. That equates to an extra 976,000 vehicles*. Coincidentally, three years is traditionally the age at which cars start displaying signs of wear and tear and typically leave the protective umbrella of a manufacturer warranty.

Cars registered at least 30 days before the third anniversary of their original registration date can then be booked into one of 550 Kwik Fit workshops for a free MOT. Even non-qualifying cars can receive 45 per cent off the MOT test fee.

If drivers take up the no-obligation quote for an extended warranty offered by Warranty Direct as part of the registration process, they will also get their MOT fees paid for every year for the life of the warranty.

Duncan McClure Fisher, managing director of Warranty Direct, said: “Three years of age is generally a landmark age for a car. In most cases, it stops being covered by the manufacturer’s warranty and things start going wrong and wearing out.

“With times being as tough as they are economically, the legal requirement of the MOT test is an additional burden on the household budget that we could all do without, although the test itself remains essential for road safety.”

In order to qualify for the free MOT fee offer, cars must be registered at least 30 days before the third anniversary of their original registration date and must also have an original manufacturer’s warranty that expires on or before the third anniversary.

Visit www.warrantydirect.co.uk/mot for more information, plus terms, conditions and exclusions.

Jul 032008

car checksHaynes, renowned worldwide for its car manuals, is urging motorists to save money by checking their cars before an MOT test. Recently released figures from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) gained by the Institute of Advanced Motorists Trust, show that first-time MOT failure rates in the UK are higher than in other European countries. There was a 21.6 per cent MOT failure rate recorded in 2007, with more than 271,000 of those failures due to lighting faults – most of which can be cured without difficulty by someone with basic mechanical knowledge.

J Haynes, Vice Chairman and Managing Director at Haynes, said: “It takes very little time to check a car over before submitting it for an MOT test. Basic faults such as lights not working, worn wiper blades and insufficient tyre tread depth can easily be sorted out before the test. This is invariably cheaper than having your car fail the MOT test.”

Haynes manuals have a section detailing the checks you can do before your car’s MOT test. Haynes is the world’s leading publisher of automotive repair manuals and renowned for teaching millions of car owners how to carry out routine maintenance and repairs. Haynes publishes manuals for more than 500 cars and vans as well as useful glove box guides such as Your Car.

Below, we summarise some of the range of pre-MOT checks.

• From the driver’s seat, you can test the handbrake, footbrake, steering wheel and column for correct operation and excessive play.

• Still in the driver’s seat, check that the windscreen is free of cracks or damage.

• Now check that the door latches work and that all seat belts are in good condition and fasten properly.

• Moving to outside the car, check that the wiper blades are in good condition and that the lights and horn work.

• The wheels and tyres should be inspected thoroughly. Wheels should not be damaged and tyres must be free of cuts, tears, lumps or bulges. Check the tread depth – a minimum of 1.6mm over at least three-quarters of the tread width is the current legal requirement (though it’s best to fit new tyres well before the legal limit is reached).

• Finally, clean your car thoroughly inside and out and on the underside, if possible. The tester can refuse to examine a car which is filthy underneath.

Haynes manuals are available for 80 per cent of cars over three years old on UK roads. They contain many tips for saving fuel and show motorists how they can save money on garage bills by doing simple servicing and maintenance tasks themselves.

Haynes Manuals retail at £18.99 (hardback) – less than half a tank of fuel. They are available from www.haynes.co.uk or from all good automotive accessory retailers and bookshops including Halfords and Motor World.