DVLA

MOT: half of drivers don’t realise government check service is free

MOT test

The annual MOT is vital to ensure cars are roadworthy

When is your car’s MOT test due? If you don’t know the answer to that question, you’re not alone. A new poll has revealed that a quarter of drivers (27 per cent) don’t have a clue when their current MOT runs out.

Although the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) automatically sends drivers reminders about when their road tax is due, there is no such service for MOTs. Instead the government has an MOT check website. However, nearly half (47 per cent) are unaware of it according to the survey by Carbuyer.co.uk.

It’s easy to check when your MOT test is due

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Your driving licence: Make sure it’s up to date or risk a £1000 fine

Driving licence

When did you last look at your driving licence? And if you have looked at it recently, did you know that you have to update it every 10 years or risk a hefty fine?

You won’t be alone if you haven’t. According to a new survey, 4 per cent of the UK’s 37.5 million driving licence holders have the wrong address on their licences. That means there are 1.5m drivers whose licences have incorrect information on them. Another 2.2m driving licences have expired completely. If the Driver Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) could track them all down – unlikely as it doesn’t have a valid address for nearly half of them! – and impose the maximum fine, the government would be £3.7bn better off.

What’s the penalty?

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How to cancel vehicle tax and reclaim any that’s not been used

How to cancel vehicle tax and reclaim unused road tax

Anyone who was driving before 2014 may turn misty-eyed at memories of tax discs. Brightly coloured pieces of paper used to be displayed in the windscreen, to prove a driver had paid vehicle tax.

In addition to serving as a quick and simple visual reminder that car tax needed to be renewed, it let authorities easily check whether Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) had been paid. And there was another benefit to it. Anyone selling a used motor could charge for the remaining car tax that was to be enjoyed by the new owner. Alternatively, drivers buying a second-hand car could use the need for new tax to haggle down the price of the car.

In the digital age, that’s no longer the case. Anyone that sells their car and has outstanding VED on it should reclaim the amount paid from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). For the same reason, those buying a new or used car must tax it before they can legally drive away.

But it’s not only when drivers sell their car that they can reclaim tax. If a motor is being taken off the road, scrapped, declared a write-off by an insurance company, or stolen the tax can be reclaimed. Here’s how. Continue reading

Driving licence points: how long do they stay valid for?

Driving licence

The number of drivers banned from the road for dangerous driving rocketed last year. Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) figures show that 5179 drivers lost their licence for driving dangerously in 2016. The figure was up by nearly a third (29 per cent) compared with the year before.

The stats show that young adults between the ages of 26 and 35 are the most likely to be disqualified. The Highway Code states: “In the case of serious offences, such as dangerous driving and drink-driving, the court must order disqualification.” The ban is for 12 months. Drivers can also be slapped with an endorsement on their licence of between three and 11 points. But how long will those points stay there after their ban is over? Here’s all you need to know.

How long are points valid?

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Beat the bogus buyers: how to safely sell a used car privately

Beat the bogus buyers: how to safely sell a used car privately

When selling a car, what driver doesn’t want to get the most money for their motor? That’s why each year nearly three million people choose to advertise their car for sale and handle the process themselves. They can cut out a dealer – or more significantly, the dealer’s margin – and secure the best price for their used car.

However, police and the largest online classified car retailers are warning drivers to beware of bogus buyers.

Car thieves are posing as legitimate used car buyers, as they seek easy prey. And drivers are being warned that if they don’t take sensible steps to protect their vehicle, few insurers will settle any subsequent claim against theft.

But what measures can drivers take to stay safe when selling a car? Here are tips from the experts; if you know anyone selling their car, pass them on. Continue reading

VIN plates: what they mean, why they’re vital for all car owners

VIN

Rather like humans have finger prints, cars have VIN plates. These Vehicle Identification Numbers should be unique to every car. The first thing to know about this number is that it’s actually not a number at all. It’s a seemingly random collection of digits and capital letters. But as we’ll see, these characters aren’t random at all. And the VIN is actually the most important means we have of registering the true identity of a car. Here’s everything you need to know about your car’s finger print.

Where do you find the VIN plate?

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Things to remember for safe winter driving this year

Safe winter driving

The abolition of the tax disc saw a rise in the number of cars without VED

Car ownership can be a taxing business – in more ways than one. There’s so much to remember that it’s easy for simple bits of admin to slip through the net. Forget one of those and it could end in a costly fine or ‑ even worse ‑ an accident. For worry-free and safe winter driving, here are six points that it’s worth checking.

Safe winter driving: car tax and MOT

After the abolition of the tax disc, the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) witnessed an increase in the number of drivers who hadn’t paid Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) or tax. Part of the problem is the tax disc was a very visible reminder for drivers that they needed to keep their car legal. If you’ve lost track – it’s easy to do ‑ check whether your car is taxed by going to the DVLA website here. Continue reading

Drivers escaping bans: More car owners than ever keep motoring despite 12 or more points

Drivers escaping bans

Some drivers are keeping their licences despite breaking the law repeatedly

Drivers escaping bans despite reaching the 12-point limit are increasing. The threat has always been that if you accrued 12 points or more for driving misdemeanours you’d be banned for a period of time. But latest figures from the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) reveal that the number of drivers being allowed to continue driving despite having 12 or more points has grown by a quarter in the past year.

What does the law say?

Currently, if you accrue 12 points or more over a three-year period, you are banned from driving for six months. If you get a second disqualification within three years of that, you are banned for 12 months. Continue reading

How to check if your car needs manufacturer recall repairs

Recall repairs

Vehicle makers’ franchised dealers will carry out recall repairs free of charge (Picture © Mercedes)

A new service has been launched for drivers to check if their car needs to go in for manufacturer recall repairs. This work is called for when specific parts or systems prove faulty on a large number of similar cars. Recently, Vauxhall had to issue a second recall for its Zafira family car’s electrical components causing fires after the first fix proved ineffective. And in 2009, Toyota had to recall around nine million cars world wide, including 180,000 in Britain, because of a problem with unintended acceleration.

To enable drivers to check if their car has been subject to a recall, data company HPI has unveiled a new service to enable drivers to have someone carry out a recall check on their behalf. You simply enter the vehicle registration and HPI does the detective work for you, for £2.99. But it will only save you about 10 minutes and there are cheaper alternatives.

How to check for free if a car has been recalled

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How to recover a car’s missing service history

How to recover a car's missing service history

A car’s service history is important but it could be missing for perfectly legitimate reasons (Picture © Mercedes)

No matter what shape and size, or how cheap or expensive the brand, every car needs to be maintained according to a service schedule that is set out by the vehicle manufacturer.

Often, however, the paperwork associated with the servicing of a car can be missing. That can be for all sorts of legitimate reasons, such as losing it during a house move or being mislaid by an elderly relative who is no longer driving.

Thankfully, recovering a missing service record is possible – and pleasingly straightforward. But it’s important to understand the significance of a service record.  Continue reading