How to keep your car roadworthy during the MOT extension period

The government has announced that if your car’s MOT runs out you do not have to have it renewed for another six months, to support those who are struggling to make ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the police are keen to stress that your car must remain safe and road legal while being driven. If it’s not, you risk a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points on your licence.

Here’s a guide on how to make sure your car is safe to drive even after your MOT has expired.

Check your tyre tread

The minimum tyre tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm, so if you’re below this you can be fined and receive points on your licence. If you don’t have a tyre tread depth gauge, you can use a 20p coin instead. Simply place it between the grooves in the tyre, and if the border is visible you need to get new rubber.

That said, with tyres being so important to keeping you on the road, it is recommended that you swap for new tyres when the tread reaches 2mm.

Check your lights

Ford S-MAX Glare-Free High-Beam Headlights
(Ford)

Being able to see and be seen is incredibly important, and therefore making sure all of the lights on your car are working and unobstructed is essential.

This is pretty easy – simply turn on your headlights and hazard warning lights and walk around the car to make sure all the bulbs are illuminated. Testing your brakes is a little tougher, but if you don’t have someone to check for you, try parking near a wall at night because you’ll be able to tell from the reflection if they’re working.

Clear your windscreen, windows and mirrors

Dirty windscreen
(Newspress)

Obstructed visibility can lead to accidents because you can’t see what’s around you. Keep yourself and others safe by clearing off all windows and mirrors if necessary.

A cracked windscreen isn’t inherently considered dangerous, but if the crack is large enough to obscure your view ahead it could be deemed dangerous enough to get you a fine. If you get a small crack keep an eye on it because it can grow surprisingly quickly. Windscreen repairs are quick and inexpensive if caught early enough, too, so don’t put it off if possible.

Check your fluids

Masterfit brake fluid top up
(Masterfit)

Keeping your fluids topped up will keep your car running more smoothly and reduce the risk of any issues that could require you to call for assistance and risk coming into contact with other people.

Check your oil level, brake fluid and water level under the bonnet and top up where necessary. This is also a good time to check your front and rear windscreen washer fluid levels, which can also get you in trouble if they’re empty.

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