Tax, MOT and Servicing
Every car must display a valid Tax Disc. Car tax can historically only be purchased from a Post Office, however with modern technology you can now apply for your new Tax Disc online, this means it is delivered to your doorstep.
The level of tax will vary depending on the age and the amount of emissions your vehicle produces. Environmentally friendly electric vehicles can benefit from tax which is less than £35 per year, whilst larger four wheel drive vehicles can be in excess of £400 per annum, this amount is set to rise over the coming years.
The way in which this is worked out is based upon the emissions you car gives off, once you know the Carbon Emissions you can check how much the tax will cost, so bear this in mind before you purchase your new vehicle.
If your vehicle is kept on a public highway it must display the disc even if you are not driving the vehicle. If your vehicle is found to be without a valid tax disc it can be removed and crushed, if this occurs you will have no come back and the car will be lost.
Also there are many myths regarding Tax, many people believe that when your current tax disc expires, you are able to continue to use the vehicle for a period of 7 or 14 days until you have chance to purchase a new one. This is incorrect and you must always display a valid task disk, the old Ďitís in the postí excuse simply wont work.
Once your vehicle turns three years old, you are required to obtain an MOT. The MOT is designed to ensure your vehicle is roadworthy and will not pose a danger to yourself or any other road user. It is basically a safety check to protect everyone who is on the road. The MOT lasts for 1 year and must have an MOT completed annually, the typical cost of an MOT is between £40 and £60 pound and can be completed at any certified MOT testing centre.
The MOT should be booked in for at least 2 weeks in advance of the old MOT expiring, this gives you ample opportunity to rectify and problems that may have been identified. If your vehicle fails its MOT, you will normally be given the opportunity of a free re-test meaning you donít have to pay for another MOT.
You need to make a note of your MOT expiry date as you will not be sent any reminders and it is your responsibility to ensure your MOT is valid. Failure to have a valid MOT means your car can not legally be on the road.
Although not a legal requirement, it is advisable to ensure your vehicle is serviced regularly. You are able to see how often your vehicle requires a service by looking at the service booklet which will have been supplied with your vehicle. Many petrol cars have an interval of 12,000 miles or every annum, whichever comes first, whilst a diesel car can go for 2 years without requiring a service.
When you get your car serviced you can either choose to go to a main dealer or to get a smaller garage to complete the work. A main dealer service will nearly always be more expensive, however the work will be undertaken by trained mechanics who specialise on your make of vehicle.
If your car is under warranty you will need to ensure your car is fully serviced, in the past this had to be undertaken by the main dealer, however you can now instruct any garage to complete the work. If you do get an alternative garage to undertake the service you need to ensure they are VAT registered and you must stipulate you want genuine manufacturer parts to be used.
Your vehicle will suffer from general wear and tear over time. The three most common items of wear and tear are Tyres, Brakes and Exhaust system.
Your tyres should have a minimum of 1.6mm of tread to be legal. If they have less than this amount of tread they should be replaced immediately, you risk a fine and 3 points for every tyre which is illegal. May tyres now have an indicator so you can see how close you are to the legal limit. It is advisable that once the tread is down to 2mm you should replace the tyres. When looking at tyres you are given three options, these will be to replace them with a remould, budget, or genuine make tyre. Prices will typically range from £20 to over £80. It is advisable to buy the best tyres you can afford, at the end of the day, the tyres are the only thing keeping you in contact the road.
If your brakes donít feel to be functioning as well as they normally do or you can head a grinding noise, it is worth popping into your local garage and ask them to check the brakes. Your brakes comprise of pads, disks and drums, quite often the brake pads wear down the quickest and are not too expensive to replace, brake discs are slightly more expensive at around £70 per brake disk replaced, including fitting.
There are many other items that you must keep an eye on and maintain between services, firstly you must regularly check your oil levels to ensure you have enough oil in the vehicle. If a car runs out of oil it can mean that the engine will cease and this will be a costly repair.
Once item that often gets overlooked is simply checking you have enough air in your tyres, this can affect the handling of the car considerably and should be checked regularly, a local garage would be happy to check them if you feel that they are looking to be short of air and they will bring them back to their required level.
Also one item which you can carry out yourself is to ensure that you have water in your washers, there is nothing more annoying or dangerous than to go to wash your windscreen only to discover you have no water and are left with a smear.Keeping your car in peak performance and ensuring it is legal and road worthy is essential, it will reduce the risk of an accident and reduce the risk of you breaking down. Also by complying with the law you are not leaving yourself open to possibly loosing your licence and receiving a large fine.
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