Frequently Asked Questions
What is an MOT?
To If you have a vehicle which is more than three years old, you are legally required to make sure it remains in roadworthy condition, as set out by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). The Ministry of Transport test, commonly referred to as an MOT, is an annual check, carried out in order to assess whether a vehicle meets the minimum safety and environmental standards.The testing process itself involves checks in and around the vehicle, including the interior, exterior and underneath the bonnet, but differs from a full car service, as it does not focus on the general mechanical condition of a vehicle.Class 4 tests are the most common and these cover cars with up to nine seats, private passenger vehicles up to 12 seats, 4x4s, vans, three-wheeled vehicles, ambulances, taxis and more. However, there are other classes, which cover commercial goods vehicles, motor bikes, buses and various other vehicle types.
When does my car need MOT testing?
If a vehicle is registered with no prior use on the road, the MOT will be required three years after the date of registration. For example, a vehicle registered ‘from new’ on 1 April 2011 will require its MOT no later than 1 April 2014.
If a vehicle is used prior to registration, as would be the case with an import, the MOT will be required three years from the end of the year of manufacture. For example a vehicle manufactured at any time in 2011 will require an MOT no later than 31 December 2014. There is no grace period given after these dates.
What is a WT20 'pass' certificate?
Assuming your vehicle is more than three years old, you are legally required to have a valid Ministry of Transport test certificate and this must be renewed each year. It is the responsibility of individual drivers to ensure that their vehicle is assessed every 12 months, and without a valid, up-to-date certificate, you will be unable to lawfully drive your car on public roads, or renew your road tax.
If your vehicle passes, you will be allocated a VT20 ‘pass’ certificate and it will be eligible for use on UK roads for 12 months. If the vehicle fails, a VT30 ‘failure’ certificate will be issued and the vehicle will not be eligible for use until repairs are made and a test is passed. Driving without a valid VT20 ‘pass’ certificate may result in a significant fine.
Moreover, the nominated tester may provide you with a list of ‘advisory’ items on your car, even if it passes. Essentially, these are parts of the vehicle which caused concern and may require attention in the near future.
Can I drive my car without an MOT?
Driving without a valid MOT is an illegal offence and can carry some serious penalties. However if your MOT has expired you are permitted to drive your vehicle as long as it is to a pre-arranged MOT appointment. Book your MOT appointment quickly and easily through us.
What is the fine for driving without a valid MOT?
If you are caught driving without a valid MOT certificate you could be fined up to £1000. Without a valid MOT your motor insurance will also be void which could incur further penalties including, 6-8 points on your license and even a discretionary disqualification.
How can I legally drive my car if it's MOT has expired?
You can’t. You can only drive your car to and from the MOT station providing that you still have current road tax and insurance in place.
Do I have to pay for an MOT retest?
- If the vehicle has failed the MOT and is left at the Testing Station for repair and re-test and does not leave the Testing Station, then the re-test is free.
- If the vehicle fails because of one or more items on the list of specific items within the link below, provided the vehicle is returned for re-test by the end of the next working day, then no fee applies.
Will my warranty be affected?
A commonly asked question these days is can you service my vehicle while it is still under warranty, the short answer is YES we can!
In order to comply there are some rules we must abide by:
The results of a ruling by The Office of Fair Trading and the new European Block Exemption Regulationsbecame effective in November 2003. This means that because we will maintain your vehicle to the MANUFACTURERS SERVICE SCHEDULE your warranty WILL NOT BE AFFECTED. Which means we must carry out all of the service items that would have been done by the main dealer at the service interval, and we must use parts of a quality that meets the standards of the OEM part. When completed the service book is stamped and a VAT invoice supplied showing the parts used and work carried out. This does not affect your Manufacturers warranty.
What types of parts are being used on my car?
The type of parts a garage uses on your vehicle is important when it comes to protecting your manufacturer warranty. With help from The Institute of Motoring Industry (IMI) we have outlined the two main kinds of parts that we may use below, so you can make an informed decision about your vehicle at it’s next MOT, service, maintenance or repair work.
Genuine Parts: These are parts, which are supplied by the Vehicle Manufacturer (VM), they could be either; fitted during the production of the vehicle or supplied by the Vehicle Manufacturer to their franchised dealership network for servicing and repairs. A franchised dealership could supply genuine parts to an independent garage for a particular service or repair. The ‘genuine part’ will support a vehicle warranty claim and would meet the VM warranty requirements when the vehicle is repaired through an independent garage, using these VM approved parts.
Original Equipment Manufacturer: OEM parts meet the Vehicle Manufacturer’s (VM) specification and are of equal performance to the genuine parts. However in some cases an OEM part might be of better quality to the original genuine part, e.g. the OEM part is made of a more robust material. We will always check with your warranty as some VMs could challenge OEM parts if the vehicle required VM warranty repair claim.
What documents to I need to bring when I come for a service?
When you bring your car in to be serviced please bring along your service book.
Can I get the manufacturer to pay?
The manufacturer is under no obligation to help you once the warranty has expired, as it’s generally accepted that faults caused by manufacturing or material defects will show up during the warranty.
Why am I paying for different oils to be used in my car?
Different vehicles require different oil. Our system chooses the correct oil required for your type of vehicle as per the manufacturer’s specification.
Do I need to get my air conditioning serviced?
Regular servicing is important for health and to maintain the system working effectively. Up to 15% of the refrigerant gas will be lost annually.
- Run your air conditioning at least once a week throughout the year.
- Have the refrigerant gas checked regularly and topped up to manufacturers’ recommended levels.
- Help improve hygiene and air quality with a regular cabin filter change, as it can become blocked with pollen.
- A regular air duct clean helps remove the bacteria and fungi that can cause unpleasant odours.
- Service air-conditioning units every 30,000 miles or two years to avoid costly repairs.
How long should a catalyst converter last for?
Catalysts often last 10 years, but actual life depends on mileage and engine tune. 50,000 miles is a more reasonable benchmark, and you can generally expect to replace the catalytic converter once during the life of a vehicle.
If failure occurs early, it’s important to find and fix the cause of the problem before fitting a new CAT otherwise the replacement can be expected to fail prematurely too.
There are three main ways they fail:
- Melt down – unburned fuel enters the catalyst and ignites on contact. The extreme heat literally melts the ceramic matrix. Poor ignition timing, a faulty oxygen sensor, worn or defective spark plugs, incorrect fuel mixture and other ignition/fuel injection related faults could lead to this failure.
- Carbon deposits – oil or antifreeze entering the combustion chamber/exhaust system can lead to a build up of carbon on the matrix, which increases back pressure leading to overheating and poor performance.
- Catalyst fracture – the ceramic matrix is fragile and can break-up as a result of excessive vibration or external impact. As the matrix breaks up back-pressure increases and overheating can result.
Airbag renewal after 10 years. What should I do?
When cars were first fitted with airbags there was a lack of knowledge and confidence about the long term reliabiilty of the systems . Car manufacturers and manufacturers of airbag systems agreed to validate (or test) them for a 10 year life span.
A sodium azide tablet produces the gas which inflates the airbag, and this tablet and the explosive device are sealed. Although some moisture ingress is possible it should not affect performance. There will also be some natural chemical decay, but again this shouldn’t stop the airbag from working.
There was also some concern in the early days that the airbag cover could become brittle through aging and a flying fragment cause eye damage.
Manufacturers increased the validation period to 15 years on later cars without making major changes to design and we are not aware of any airbag failures atttributed to ageing.
When should the cambelt be renewed?
There’s not a standard change interval for cambelts.
- Depending on the model and the manufacturer, the recommended interval can be anywhere between 30,000 miles and 100,000 miles. There will often be a time-based interval specified too e.g. 60,000 miles or five years, whichever is the sooner.
- Sometimes the manufacturer will revise the recommended interval during the life of the vehicle so it’s best to check with a franchise dealer as they will have the most up-to-date information. They will need to know the make, model, engine number and model year.
- In most cases cambelt failure results in serious damage to many other components in the engine – a major rebuild or even replacement engine will be required!
It does no harm to renew the belt early. If you buy a used car it’s wise to get the belt renewed if you are in any doubt that it has been renewed at the appropriate time.
How can I make sure my car will be ok in this winter period?
You can book your car in with us for a winter check over and we will ensure your car is road worthy for the winter period.
A light that I don't recognise has shown up on my dashboard what do I do?
First of all have a look in your car manufacturers’ manual. If you cannot find the answer there you can bring it along to our garage and one or our technicians will plug your car into our vehicle diagnostic tool and and explain the issue.
My car has loss of power, more black exhaust smoke and poor fuel economy?
This could be due to a soot overloaded diesel particulate filter.
Diesel exhaust flows through a diesel particulate filter (DPF), where soot and larger particles are captured, allowing only filtered exhaust gases to pass through. When the DPF soot level reaches a certain point, the engine’s computer triggers regeneration (self-cleaning). During regeneration, exhaust temperatures must become hot enough to burn built-up soot off the DPF.
However, in some driving conditions, such as excessive idle or frequent low-speed driving, the DPF won’t trigger the regeneration. Without the self-cleaning function, the DPF will quickly become too clogged with particles to function efficiently.
The BG DPF & Emissions System Restoration Service cleans up the exhaust system by using equipment to trigger and control the regeneration process. BG Diesel Performance Oil Change Service completes this service to diminish the tendency for the DPF to overload with excess soot, enabling it to self-clean more effectively in the future.
Cleans air intake
Cleans emissions system
Triggers and controls DPF regeneration
Restores fuel efficiency
Restores DPF performance
Restores horsepower and performance