DVSA

Cars to fail MOT if owners don’t get recall work carried out

Recall work

Cars could automatically fail their MOT if they haven’t had important recall work done. A government body has recommended that all MOT testers should check cars for any recall work. If this hasn’t been done, they will then be able to refuse to give the car a valid MOT certificate.

While car owners will bear the brunt of this, the move has actually been proposed to put pressure on car makers. The government wants them to work harder to ensure all recall work is carried out. The House of Commons Transport Select Committee has put these plans to the government. It is expecting to hear back by the end of March 2018.

The proposals come after Vauxhall was slammed by the Transport Select Committee for the way it handled fires affecting its Zafira B model. Chair of the committee, Lilian Greenwood MP said: “The public needs to be confident that their safety comes first.” Here’s what the changes could mean for drivers.

What is a recall?

Continue reading

MOT 2018: what the changes are and what they mean for drivers

MOT changes

Next year the UK government is planning to bring in MOT changes. The tweaks to the annual vehicle roadworthiness test have been designed to make life easier for drivers preserving historically interesting ‘classic’ cars.

But critics say they will increase the number of unsafe cars on the country’s roads. Further changes are afoot too. The Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is currently considering the results of a consultation paper on the age that cars first take their MOT. Read on to find out more about the changes.

What are the changes to the MOT 2018?

Continue reading

Motorway services: drivers urged to share good and bad examples

Motorway services: drivers urged to share good and bad examples

Motorway services and rest areas have long been the bane of drivers’ lives. Now anyone who is blowing a head gasket over the poor conditions of facilities can do something about it. Drivers of cars, vans and lorries are being urged to name and shame poor motorway service areas.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has launched a social media campaign. It wants to use people power to drive up the standards of services and rest areas across Britain.

The FTA is taking action after the government revealed it wants to fine drivers for not taking breaks away from their vehicle. Drivers who spend rest times in their cabs face a £300 fine. But HGV drivers complain that rest facilities on Britain’s motorway network leave a lot to be desired. They argue their full-fitted cabs are frequently more comfortable.

How do I share experiences of good or bad motorway services? Continue reading

New driving test: what young drivers can expect

New driving test

In order to handle a car legally on public roads in the UK, new drivers have to pass a 40-minute driving test. But to ensure the test better prepares drivers for modern motoring, the biggest shake up in 20 years is happening in December 2017.

The driving test will still last the same amount of time and still be marked the same way. It will still cost £62 on weekdays, £75 for evenings, weekends and bank holidays. But from Monday December 4, the driving test in England, Scotland and Wales will face the most far-reaching changes since the addition of the theory test in 1996. Here are the four new features budding drivers will encounter.

Increased independent driving

Continue reading

Where to take your driving test if you want to pass it first time

Where to take your driving test if you want to pass first time

To many people, the driving test is a rite of passage. Like turning 16, heading off to university or arriving for the first day of work, ripping up the L-plates is something we all remember.

However, some drivers look back and feel a chill run down their spine. The driving test may have been one of the most stressful times of their life. And to make matters worse, it may have taken several attempts to pass.

All too often, that’s because they unwittingly sat the examination in an area with one of the lowest pass rates in the UK.

Believe it or not, at the UK’s toughest test centres, less than a third of candidates get their licence. The most successful areas see a staggering 80 per cent pass first time.

So the 1.5 million new drivers looking to pass every year should think carefully about where they take their theory and practical tests. Especially in light of the changes to the test, due to be introduced this December.

Plan ahead, and it could be as easy as mirror-signal-manoeuvre. Pick poorly and it could be more bump and grind.

Where’s best to take the driving test?

Continue reading

Proposed MOT changes: drivers reject idea to change first test

MOT changes

The annual MOT enables technicians to perform vital road safety checks

Drivers have come out against a government proposal for MOT changes. Ministers are considering switching a car’s first MOT from three-years old to four. But experts say this could mean up to 500,000 more dangerous cars on the road. And in a survey for industry body the Society of Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), three quarters of car owners (76 per cent) snubbed the idea of delaying a car’s first MOT.

Why is government proposing MOT changes?

Continue reading

In 200 yards, turn left to pass your driving test: learner drivers must safely use sat navs

The driving test is entering the digital age, after the government announced changes that are designed to reflect the widespread use of satellite navigation systems in cars.

Learner drivers will be expected to safely follow directions from a sat nav system or they will fail their driving test. And they will spend twice the amount of time – now 20 minutes – driving independently, without guidance from the examiner.

The changes are part of a package of revisions that will come into force from 4 December. The objective is to provide a more realistic assessment of driving on today’s roads. Continue reading

Car fires: What to do if your car catches fire and how to stop it

Car fires

Around a third of the 300 car fires a day are caused by poor maintenance or design flaws

Car fires are not as rare as you might think. The Fire Service says that around 300 cars a day go up in flames. Recently there have been high-profile blazes involving the Vauxhall Zafira MPV because of a design flaw. And figures from the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), which oversees manufacturer recalls of faulty vehicles, reveal that the number of cars recalled for risk of fire increased dramatically in 2015-16.

Big-name manufacturers Honda, Chrysler, Bentley, Volkswagen, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Ferrari, and Porsche all joined Vauxhall in issuing recalls for vehicles that are at risk of catching fire because of design or build flaws.

Although the chance of a car catching fire is tiny, what do you do if it does? We asked the Fire Service for its advice.

What causes car fires?

Continue reading

Icy roads: What to look out for and how to drive on them

Icy roads

If the verge is frosty it’s quite likely the road will be icy too

Icy roads probably aren’t something we think about much. Yet for many of us driving on ice is a regular occurrence during the coldest months of the year. If you have to scrape the ice off your car in the morning, or even perhaps when you leave work in the late afternoon, there may be ice on the road. We explain how to figure out whether the road is likely to be icy and how to drive if it is.

How to spot icy roads

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

Continue reading