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Don’t put off your garage visit – here’s how to get in to gear and book your first MOT

A new survey has revealed that a fifth of drivers aged 17 to 25 have admitted to putting off taking their car in for repairs or servicing – so why are young motorists avoiding a visit to the garage?

 

The survey showed that over two-fifths (43 per cent) said their biggest worry was the cost of repairs, but 19 per cent also said they were worried about not understanding what the mechanic was saying and 17 per cent said they felt intimidated. (source)

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Trust My Garage is here to help you make sure you’re getting the best out of your visit to a garage – so read on to learn how you can make sure you’re satisfied with every step of your experience!

 

Getting your MOT booked in

When it’s time for your first MOT it can be an intimidating experience, especially if you don’t know where to start with finding a reputable garage. With Trust My Garage all our members adhere to a Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) approved Code of Conduct, meaning you know that you’re visiting an independent garage that will uphold the highest levels of service for you and your vehicle.

 

To find your nearest TMG member, you can use our ‘Find a Garage’ map. This handy tool allows you to input your postcode and find your nearest Trust My Garage member, and you can even read honest reviews from other customers of a garage to see what they’re like! If you decide you want to contact a garage, all their details are displayed so you can take whatever information you need.

 

Taking your vehicle for an MOT

Visiting a garage for the first time can seem like a scary prospect – but the staff are there to help you! A regular MOT will give your car an MOT certificate, with all the necessary information about your car listed for you to read, as below: 

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There’s a maximum amount MOT test stations can charge. This depends on the type of vehicle. The maximum fee for a car is £54.85 and £29.65 for a standard motorcycle. Any other work that your vehicle needs on top of the standard MOT will cost extra – but if it’s minor or advisory you can have it repaired shortly after your MOT (if necessary) instead of at the same time.
Your certificate also lists any defects under the new categories, so they’re clear and easy to understand. These are how the new categories can affect you: 

mot defect categories

If you drive your vehicle without a valid MOT, you can be fined up to £1,000 – and that’s a cost that nobody wants!

 

Understanding issues and repairs to your vehicle

If your vehicle has had to undertake any kind of repair work, the garage you use should be able to explain what has happened to the vehicle and how it can be/has been repaired. If you aren’t sure about any information, ask! Technicians understand that most motorists aren’t as clued-up to the inner workings of a vehicle as they may be and should be able to describe – or even show you – where an issue has arisen or has been fixed. It might seem silly to ask but if it helps you know what’s going on with your car, a professional should be happy to provide as much detail as they can.

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Keeping your vehicle healthy

When it comes to motor maintenance, there is some simple advice: Don’t ignore warning lights and other indications that something isn’t right. Waiting until your MOT is due to fix these can result in a costly surprise! The best way to ensure the health of your car and its roadworthiness is to address mechanical problems as they arise. If you need to familiarise yourself with dashboard symbols, you can always take a look at our “Getting to know your vehicle’s dashboard” blog post, or by reading your vehicle’s Owner Manual.

 

For more general issues, you can also read our “How can regular vehicle maintenance save you money?” blog post for some ideas on how to ensure your vehicle is kept running in tip-top condition – and how to make sure you don’t spend a fortune! 

 

More about Trust My Garage

Trust My Garage is a collection of Britain’s best local garages – every one different and every one dedicated to the highest standards of skill and personal service.

 

All the garages in Trust My Garage are members of the Independent Garage Association – which is part of the RMI, one of Britain’s oldest motor trade organisations. IGA members are true professionals who must comply with a strict code of practice. Every customer of all Trust My Garage members can rely on using a nationally recognised brand to help you and your vehicle get the best value service for your money.

 

Visit www.TRUSTMYGARAGE.co.uk and type in your postcode to find your nearest trusted independent garage.

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UK speeding law changes: How do they affect you?

As of Monday 24th April 2017, the UK speeding sentencing guidelines have undergone some changes, increasing the severity of penalties for anyone caught committing a speeding offence.

The Sentencing Council have published their revised guidelines for 2017 onward in a report, which you can have a look at here. We’ve broken down the most important parts of the report for you below.

 

How the fines are calculated

Fines will be calculated using the Band system. Offences are broken down into categories, known as bands, based on their severity. This is then used to gauge an approximate fine. Bands A, B, and C are shown here with their penalties:

Sentencing range 

Band C fine
150% of relevant weekly income

Band B fine
100% of relevant weekly income

Band A fine
50% of relevant weekly income

 Disqualification

Points

Disqualification for 7-56 days OR
6 points on your licence

Disqualification for 7-28 days OR
4-6 points on your licence

3 points on your licence

  • Must endorse and may disqualify. If no disqualification impose 3 – 6 points
  • Where an offender is driving grossly in excess of the speed limit the court should consider a disqualification in excess of 56 days.

 

What happens if someone commits a speeding offence?

The penalty received for speeding depends on the speed the offence was committed at and the speed limit of the road used. The table below shows which speeds fall under which bands comparative to the speed limit.

Speed limit (mph)  Recorded speed (mph)
20 41 and above 31 – 40 21 – 30
30 51 and above 41 – 50 31 – 40
40 66 and above 56 – 65 41 – 55
50 76 and above 66 – 75 51 – 65
60 91 and above 81 – 90 61 – 80
70 101 and above 91 – 100 71 – 90
Sentencing Range Band C Band B Band A

For example, if you were driving at 42mph in a 20mph speed limit area your offence would fall into Band C, but doing the same speed in a 30mph speed limit area would mean your offence falls into Band B.

 

Is there any real change from the previous rules?

The Band system has changed how drivers are fined, as this is now worked out on a percentage of weekly income and the severity of the offence. There has also been an increase in severity of penalty when speeding in low-speed limit areas. The maximum fines for speeding have not changed. These are:

  • £1,000 on a normal UK road
  • £2,500 on a UK motorway.

 

Remember, the easiest way to avoid being caught speeding is by not speeding! If you want to make sure your car is running smoothly you can pop into your nearest Chartered Trading Standards approved Trust My Garage member for all your motoring needs. You can find your closest garage with our handy Find a Garage map. If you want to know more about why Trust My Garage members are the best, take a look at our blog post explaining the benefits of visiting a TMG member.

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The Trust My Garage £1,000 Guarantee – How does it help?

If you take your vehicle for an MOT, service or repair at your local garage, how can you be sure of the quality of its work? At Trust My Garage, we truly believe that our members are the best independent garages in the UK, each one unique but all skilled professionals who are dedicated to providing top quality work with a friendly, personal service.

Don’t just let us tell you how good our members are – you can see the evidence from other consumers too. Based on results from TMG’s online feedback system over the course of 2015, the overall satisfaction rate for TMG members over the last year was 88%, with 98% of consumers satisfied that the member only carried out necessary or quoted work, and 97% of customers were likely to use the member again. You can’t argue with happy customers!

To show how confident we are that you’ll be happy with your next visit to your local TMG member, we’ve launched the Trust My Garage £1,000 Guarantee: a first of its kind financial reassurance scheme backed by the Independent Garage Association (IGA). This means that as well as approval from Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) for the quality of our members, you have the added benefit of financial backing from the IGA.

 

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Need to get your motor fixed? Take it to one of our thousands of Trust My Garage members!

 

It’s very unlikely that you’re ever going to need the TMG £1,000 Guarantee, but it’s there to show that we stand behind our members to underwrite any financial award made following a dispute with one of our members.

But what terms and conditions make up The TMG £1,000 Guarantee, we hear you ask? Well, let’s break it down.

 

How It Works

If you have a problem with one of our members, please contact them and give them a chance to resolve the matter. If you can’t come to a solution, you must follow the complaints procedure as outlined in the Trust My Garage Code of Practice Appendix 2 (full document here).

You will need to file an official complaint with the National Conciliation Service (NCS), our independent Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) provider, at www.nationalconciliationservice.co.uk.

If you are judged to be in the right after completing the ADR process, the IGA will underwrite the payment of any financial award up to £1,000 in the event that the garage is unable to make the payment.

 

The Application Process

Under normal circumstances where the ADR process finds in your favour, any financial award will be paid to you by the garage promptly. It is only if this payment is not made after 14 days have elapsed that a claim may be made under the TMG £1,000 Guarantee.

You MUST follow the process as set out in the Trust My Garage Code of Practice for your claim to be eligible under the guarantee. To make a claim, call the TMG helpline on 0845 305 4230 and have your NCS claim reference to hand.

If you want to know more details, you can take a look at our TMG £1,000 Guarantee full terms and conditions.

 

We’re certain that our independent garages will make a great job of any work on your vehicle – so if you need a service, MOT, repair, or just a once-over, head to the Trust My Garage website to find your local TMG member, or for more information about The Trust My Garage £1,000 Guarantee you can click here.

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Why is the MOT so important for vehicles?

Every year from the age of three your car should, by law, go in for an MOT test. But what exactly does the MOT do and why are they so important?

 

What even is an MOT?

During an MOT, the most important parts of your vehicle are “checked to make sure they meet the legal standards” (Gov). By having an MOT, you’re making sure that your car is safe to drive on UK roads. It’s called an MOT because it was originally named after the original Ministry of Transport (MoT). (source)

 

But I’ve had my car serviced, isn’t that the same?

Simply put, no. The MOT does not cover the condition of the engine, clutch or gearbox, which are the parts of your car that will be looked at during a service. The MOT looks at mechanical parts of your car and emissions as well. 

 

Ok, so what parts of my car does the MOT look at?

The MOT provides you with an evaluation on the condition of most of your car, such as bodywork, fuel, seats, brakes and tyres. For a more in-depth breakdown of all the parts of your car looked at during the MOT, you can have a look at the full government list here, or take a look at the photo below.

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Car parts looked at during the MOT (source)

So why is the MOT so important for my car?

Under the current system, 27.48 million vehicles took the MOT test last year and 4 out of 10 of them were found to be unroadworthy when examined. (DVSA, 2015) Even with a regular test every year, that’s still just under 11 million vehicles that aren’t fit to drive on UK roads.

With the Government opening their new consultation about extending the time before a car’s first MOT, it’s important to think about how many more dangerous vehicles – which could be over 3 and a half million! – that could be around in just one extra year’s time. 

 

 

Wait, the government want to do what?

Yes, you read that right. The government have opened a public consultation asking for opinions on whether a car should be able to wait 4 years for its first MOT, instead of 3. It’s being called the 4-1-1 system, and while it might seem like a good idea, the facts say otherwise. There is a belief that because modern cars are more reliable, they do not need to be tested so strictly. In practice this is incorrect. Not only is the current MOT failure rate higher than it was in 2008 (when vehicles were less reliable), components designed to wear out – like tyres and brakes – are far more likely to have become dangerous by the time the vehicle is four years old. 

 

But an extra year with no MOT would save me money, right?

Well, that isn’t exactly the case. Extending the time allowed before the first MOT of a car or motorcycle’s life from three years to four would likely prove more expensive for motorists, as it would raise the likelihood that minor problems become more serious defects – which then triggers in turn further defects which require more significant and more costly repairs later. It may also be the case that defects associated with one component due to excessive wear could then result in defects in different but associated components which would otherwise have remained serviceable. The defects are therefore cumulative – which could cost you even more money. 

 

But my car looks fine, so why would it even need an MOT?

While it’s true that your car may look fine at a glance, when was the last time you checked the tread on your tyres? Do you know the proper depth it needs to be at to be road safe? Do you think your brakes are as responsive as when you first got your car? Are the electrics still safe and functioning properly? The MOT is designed to ensure your vehicle is as safe as possible when you drive it, and lets you know if there are any problems before they become a real danger to you and other road users. 

rusty-car

 

Surely it can’t be that much of a problem though?

That’s where you’re wrong. In 2013/14 there were more than 770,000 vehicles discovered during MOT tests with a dangerous defect. Nearly 2,200 EVERY day. The problems ranged from brakes, steering, tyres, suspension, seatbelts, lights and signalling equipment (DfT, ‘MOT Scheme Evidence base’, 2008). Now, when you go out on to the roads, do you want over 2,000 chances of being in an accident due to a dangerous car?

 

You’re right, that’s bad! But what can I do to stop it happening?

For a start, you can take your vehicle for its yearly MOT, to make sure it’s in the best possible condition. If you’re looking for a garage that will carry out a thorough, DVSA standard MOT you can find your nearest trusted independent garage on the Trust My Garage website. All the garages are Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) approved and are ready to do the best work for you and your vehicle. 

You can also head over proMOTe’s website if you’re looking for some more facts, or you can to the Government website and take a look at the MOT consultation yourself. It’s open for response from all members of the public, so if you think it’s a bad idea, like we do, let the government know!

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How to avoid getting in too deep with too low a tyre tread

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Trust My Garage was set up to ensure that motorists always receive an honest and trustworthy service every time they visit an independent garage for a service, MOT or repair. However, we know that there are a number of rogue traders out there that do not adhere to the strict customer service regulations that our member garages comply to.

Typically men are more confident when going to a garage than women. A recent report from car insurance company Sheila’s Wheels stated that more than four million female drivers admit to putting their lives at risk by continuing to drive faulty and potentially un-roadworthy cars because they dislike the experience of visiting a garage. It’s a common feeling among women and many female drivers will likely identify with this statement.

This is an experience of a young female driver who feels she was taken advantage of by her local garage, who is not a TMG member.

Motorist, Natalie Hunt, from Nuneaton told us: “Last summer I returned from my holiday abroad to find that I had a flat tyre on my car. Much to my dismay I had just spent every last Euro in the Duty Free section of Palma airport in order to shade the blues of having to return to England. Forking out for a new tyre was the last thing I wanted to do!

“Regardless, I needed to drive to work the next day so I visited my nearest garage, which I have since found out is not a TMG member. It was already an unsettling feeling visiting such a masculine environment. Much to my expectation I was informed that I needed to replace the tyre, which I agreed to. The mechanic started looking around my car and said I also needed to replace the other three tyres as they were going bald and could be a danger to me. The cost of my repairs had just risen in excess of £300 within 30 seconds! I had my doubts to this man’s claim as I had only purchased my car two months prior to this, but I just wanted to get out of there as fast as possible, and trusted him as the expert in this matter.

“I can remember learning about tyre tread in my driving lessons, and was pretty sure that these tyres weren’t on their way out, but was worried that I could be driving around in a potential death trap. Subsequently I had to borrow some money to afford to pay for these tyre replacements.

“I can totally understand why other women would feel vulnerable when getting their cars repaired, particularly if they lack knowledge of car maintenance. Next time I need a service or repair I will definitely be looking for my local Trust My Garage member so I can feel assured that I am receiving a high quality, honest service.”

Tyre3A penny for your tyres

The legal minimum tread depth for passenger cars in most of Europe is 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the tread width and round its entire circumference. However it is generally recommended that car tyres should be changed when the tread depth reaches 3mm.

Different rules apply to different vehicle types and there is some variation in a few countries. You should also be aware that different rules apply to winter tyres. Make sure you check the rules if you are planning to travel in Europe.

Place a coin in the groove of your tyre tread which runs right round the circumference. Then roll it along the groove until it reaches a bump in the bottom. This bump is the tread wear indicator. If this bump is still within the depth of the tread then it is still legal. If it is worn down and there is no depth of groove above the indicator then it is NOT legal.
If your tread depth is not legal, you should visit your local Trust My Garage member to have your tyres replaced. You can find your local member here.

Have you answered our survey about women drivers?

TMG member is a ‘Top Technician’

As part of the TRUST MY GARAGE customer charter we make sure all our member garages are trusted to ‘work to high standards, use up to date technical information, techniques and tooling’ and ‘achieve key industry standards set by the RMI.’ This ensures that when a motorist visits one of our members, they always receive the very best service and expertise. There is no better example of a garage that adheres to this requirement than Cleevely Motors Ltd in Cheltenham.

The job of a garage technician is more highly skilled now than ever before as technology in motor vehicles continues to advance.  In particular, electronic systems on cars are now highly complex, and technicians need to have the requisite skills and knowledge to be able to repair and service a range of different vehicles with different systems.

Matt Cleevely of Cleevely Motors Ltd is a 'Top Technician'

Matt Cleevely of Cleevely Motors Ltd is a ‘Top Technician’

Every year garage technicians from across the country battle it out in a bid to be crowned the UK’s ‘Top Technician’. The competition was born back in 2002 to champion the best technical repairers off the back of national press querying the level of technical knowledge and practical skills needed to ensure you, the motoring public, are kept safe in your vehicles.

The Top Technician award recognises the expertise that technicians need in order to keep your vehicle roadworthy, and one Trust My Garage member, Matt Cleevely, manager of Cleevely Motors Ltd in Cheltenham, has just been ranked in the Top 24 technicians across the UK, from over 650 entrants.

Matt had to complete a demanding test that questioned him all about the theory of his job as a garage technician. He said: “The actual test was very well formatted and covered different topics. The questions about the electrical side of the job were extremely complex and were based around resistance and voltages – you really needed to know your stuff.”

Matt is the third generation in his family business and is currently working to shape the future of his company to cope with future technological advancements in the motoring industry. Technology affects everything and without continuous professional development it is very easy for knowledge to become outdated. Cleevely Motors is now looking at expanding its extra diagnostic equipment, and will provide further training for its staff to equip them with the skills for dealing with advancing technology in vehicles.

Matt continued: “After finding out I’d got through to the final stages I felt really proud of my knowledge. I’m really keen to improve my professional skills so that I have the capacity to adapt to new technologies for my customers.”

Matt’s technical expertise comes from his 16 years experience.  He is also an avid reader of motor industry magazines and receives a daily digest of technical bulletins and information from Trust My Garage and the RMI, which also help him to keep up to speed with all industry related matters.

With millions of cars in production these days, car technicians are set the incredible challenge of being able to transfer their skills across numerous makes and models, so that when you walk into their garage with a problem, you’ll be able to trust they get it right! We are always ensuring that our member garages are keeping up with current trends and our mechanics constantly improving their existing skills to guarantee the very best service all the time.

Do you want to know where your nearest trusted technicians are…? CLICK HERE to enter your postcode and find your local TRUST MY GARAGE member.