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Vehicle Emissions: What are they and how are they measured under the new MOT Test?

As of May 20th 2018 the MOT test for vehicles in the UK changed – but what does that mean when it comes to emissions? Never fear, Trust My Garage is here with the answers!

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What are emissions?

The Department for Transport (DfT) states that emissions are pollutants created by petrol, diesel and alternatively-fuelled engines. These pollutants are; carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, un-burnt hydrocarbons and particulate matter. The levels of pollutants present in each vehicle can depend on vehicle technology and the state of maintenance of the vehicle – so older cars have a tendency to produce more emissions.

 

Why do emissions matter?

Like all pollutants, they cause immediate and long-term effects on the environment. Car exhausts emit a wide range of gases and solid matter, which has been cited as a cause of global warming, acid rain, environmental damage and human health damage. Engine noise and fuel spills also cause pollution. Nitrous oxide emissions have also been shown to contribute to the depletion of the Ozone layer around the Earth.

 

How is the new MOT test combatting emissions?

The MOT test now includes updates for the amount of emissions a diesel vehicle can produce – with garages also having to update their Diesel Smoke Meters to ensure they meet requirements for testing. Find out what the .Gov website states about emissions testing here.

 

As well as this, if your car is new enough to have a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF), evidence that it has been tampered with – or the presence of exhaust smoke of any colour – will now constitute a ‘major’ MOT fault. This will need to be rectified before a pass can be issued.

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What else is being done to help?

Over time, vehicle manufacturers have realised the importance of emissions and pollution for the environment. The ‘Euro 6’ emission standard has provided a benchmark form of legislation, and as of September 2015 all mass-produced cars sold from this date need to meet the set requirements. The aim of Euro 6 is to reduce levels of harmful car and van exhaust emissions, both in petrol and diesel cars.

 

Emissions of air quality pollutants from road vehicles have been reduced by improving the quality of fuels and by setting increasingly stringent emission limits for new vehicles. As an example, it would take 50 new cars to produce the same quantity of air quality pollutant emissions per kilometre as a vehicle made in 1970.

 

How can motorists help?

When you’re driving you may not think about the impact your vehicle could be having on the environment – but if you’re concerned about reducing the effects of pollution, there are some very simple tips to utilise:

Drive Steadily – hard acceleration and braking forces your vehicle to work harder, creating more emissions from your exhaust.

Don’t overload – the additional weight will require you to use extra power. This means that your engine is using more fuel to accommodate the extra kilos.

Have regular services – By keeping your vehicle well maintained you can ensure all its internal parts are working efficiently, putting less stress on your motor and the environment! Don’t forget, you can book a service and find your nearest Trust My Garage member here with our ‘Find a Garage’ map.

Stretch your legs – if you feel comfortable walking or cycling, then do so! Leaving your vehicle at home means it definitely can’t emit any pollutants.

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Keeping up with your maintenance

If you want to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape, you can visit your nearest Trust My Garage member. Whether it’s a check-up, service, MOT or repair, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) approved code of conduct that our members use mean that you and you motor both get the best possible service.

 

For more information you can visit www.TrustMyGarage.co.uk – and be sure to check out the Trust My Garage Facebook and Twitter pages too!

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Make sure your driving isn’t costing the earth

We have already pointed out the things to look out for when driving abroad but if you are driving on holiday in the UK this year have you considered your carbon footprint? In 2008, the UK government unveiled its plan to cut the nation’s carbon emissions by 80% before 2050, and last year UK vehicle manufacturers were told by EU environmental regulations that they should cut their carbon emissions throughout the manufacturing process. So what can you do to make sure your driving not only saves money by reducing your fuel consumption, but you will also contribute to saving the planet by not releasing harmful emissions into the atmosphere?green driving

You can make a start by following our top ten tips for greener driving:

10. Change your car to one that is more fuel efficient

OK, it might seem an expensive thing to do if you have already had your car for a long time, but if you are due a change, make sure vehicle efficiency is something you consider. Typically, scaling down from a large vehicle to a smaller vehicle will result in less CO2 emissions.  Bear in mind that cars with electric engines emit no pollutants and charging stations are increasing across the UK.

9. Remove roof racks when not required

Vehicle manufacturers are always looking to make their products as aerodynamic as possible. Adding a roof box or rack on top of your vehicle compromises this. It increases the wind drag on your car, making your engine work harder and increasing fuel consumption, especially when driving at high speeds. If you don’t need to use it for your journey, remove it.

8. Check your tyre inflation

Tyres are often be overlooked by drivers, but one of the easiest ways to reduce carbon emissions is to make sure your tyres are properly inflated. Underinflated tyres make the engine work harder due to the surface drag and friction with the road surface. Properly inflated tyres have less contact with the road, encountering less friction and meaning that excess fuel is not wasted.  Driving on underinflated tyres also leads to potential damage to the tyre or the wheel rim which means you will have to change your tyres more frequently, resulting in a higher use of the earth’s resources.

7. Eliminate excess weight

We all put things in our boot and leave them in there, but this could be harming your green credentials. Remember your engine burns fuel for energy, so the more energy it needs to carry the unnecessary weight, the more C02 emissions are released into the atmosphere. Make sure you have only what is necessary in your boot and remove any items you don’t need to carry it around.

6. Drive in the correct gear for the road conditions

It is something you are taught when learning to drive, but remember to drive in the most appropriate gear for the road conditions.  Getting into fifth ( or even sixth in modern cars) gear during motorway driving, for example, whilst staying within the speed limits, will help with optimising your fuel consumption.  However, remember to stay in a lower gear when driving down steep hills.

5. Plan your route

Avoid getting lost. Not only does this add unnecessary time to your journey, it also increases fuel consumption and wear and tear on your car if it is something that happens regularly. Invest some time in planning your route before you begin a journey. This will ensure you conserve fuel as well as enjoying a stress free and pleasant journey. If you are a SatNav user remember that some devices offer a “green” option in the settings along with “quickest” and “shortest”

4. Avoid unnecessary shopping trips

For most people, shopping is a chore yet many of us make unnecessary trips to the supermarket or the local shops for items we’ve forgotten during our weekly shop.  This means increased fuel consumption, increased emissions and further wear and tear on the car. Minimise the number of journeys you make by planning ahead.

3. Drive at a steady speed

Driving within the speed limit is a legal requirement, but try to keep your vehicle at a steady speed when driving. Accelerating rapidly and braking harder than you need to all reduce efficiency and waste fuel. Drive at a steady speed and stay at that pace for as long as you can to ensure you only use the fuel you really need to use.

2. Turn off the engine when you are stationary

If you are stuck in a traffic jam or waiting to pick up a friend, turn your engine off. Many of us probably leave our engine running when we really could – and should – have turned it off. This is the easiest way to waste fuel and is more harmful to the environment.

1. Get your vehicle serviced regularly at a Trust My Garage member

Trust My Garage members have the professional expertise and vehicle know-how to keep you car a lean, green machine.  Regular services make sure things like your tyres and engine, are performing as they should and you are not unknowingly wasting any fuel or damaging the environment.

So what are you waiting for? Book in with your local Trust My Garage member today and enjoy a service backed by Trading Standards after we applied to become a government code. Enter your postcode into our website HERE and book your car in with a trusted technician today.

“Mechanics, it’s only nuts and bolts!”

We’re always chatting to our members about what’s going on in their area and thought we would share some of their quirky anecdotes with you as well. We will be inviting garages to make guest posts on our blog so you can really start to relate with the Trust My Garage community, reinforcing the message of ‘trust’ from all of our members.

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By Chris Gurney, owner of Quality Car Service   

A customer recently said to me “Mechanics, it’s only nuts and bolts”, I politely smiled and quickly moved on however it left me thinking “If only!”. I partly agree, the routine day-to-day servicing is relatively straight forward, although every make and model of car has its challenges; such as pollen filters that require half the dashboard to be removed, service lights that require a £3,000 service reset tool to turn the light off the dashboard (we’ve purchased them all), electronic handbrake controls that require programming with laptops, and firmware updates to the various ECU’s around the car (computer’s to you and me) and so on.

Statement retracted, there is nothing routine to the day-to-day servicing of a car, and it’s definitely not only nuts and bolts!

… One of my goals in 2012 was to ensure our garage was totally up-to-date with diagnostic equipment and tools to ensure we could service and repair all makes and models – job done!

This year (2013) we made a commitment to focus on training, we set a goal to give our technicians the opportunity to get right up-to-speed on all the latest technology being fitted to the modern car such as:nuts and bolts

  • DPF’s (very expensive precious metal filters within the exhaust pipe reaching temperatures of over 700 degrees, designed to catch soot to reduce our carbon foot print)
  • EGR Valves (recycling the exhaust fumes back into the engine, again to help reduce the carbon footprint)
  • Variable Geometry Turbo chargers (a device used to give an engine more power and increased fuel efficiency)

…and on it goes. So far this year we have covered five courses, we have one technician who has just completed his NVQ 2 (3 year course), we have three staff members completing NVQ 3 (additional 1 year training) and we are now looking into future car technology, these are cars being designed and built to cover Euro 6 Emissions standards.

To summarise, gone are the days of servicing a car yourself, gone are the days of checking your oil on a dipstick – dipsticks are a thing of the past, (electronic oil level sensor more like), gone are the days of entrusting the road side mechanic to check your car and gone are the days of servicing a car without a laptop with the correct software and operated by a fully trained and qualified technician!

Next time I’m told “It’s only nuts and bolts”, well we’ll see!!

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Quality Car Service is a Trust My Garage member based in Milton Keynes and offers MOTs, Servicing, and diagnostics.  The garage has been running for 5 years and carry out thousands of MOT’s a year. They pride themselves on the high quality services they provide their customers with and are always striving to improve their processes.

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