Thursday 1 May 2014

The Joys of Car Ownership

this photo of a moving car is by SteGrifo27 at Wikimedia Commons

Each year at the end of April it's time for the car to be MOTed. After it reaches three years' old, no car is allowed on UK roads without passing an annual MOT test to ensure it is safe to drive.

Now my car is an ancient Ford Focus that was born in 1999. It has served me well over the last ten years, until last year romping through the annual MOT test with no trouble. In between it's only let us down once, when hubby was driving it home after dropping me off for my caravan holiday in Seaton. That time the AA took him home and we got our mechanic to find a good fuel pump from another Focus that was being scrapped so getting it fixed only cost about £500 rather than nearly a thousand. Another time we had to get a new battery for it and after that the radio wouldn't work because the person who had it before us hadn't given us the code for it. Now we have a new radio in it but have only managed to tune it into Radio 2 and can't find any other programme. It also plays CDs but I keep forgetting to take any out of the house.

Getting back to the MOT, over the years I've been lucky that the testers haven't found anything wrong with it. But like me and hubby, it's getting on in years. Time is catching up with all of us and in the twilight years we get various ailments. Last year was the first time my Focus failed the test and I had to fork out for work to be done to bring it up to standard. The covers on the joints of the anti-roll bar needed to be renewed to stop dirt and muck impairing the joints. This year it failed the test again and I needed a new tyre on the front and a new number plate at the back before they would pass it.

With your MOT certificate, you also get advice on things you should get around to fixing. Two years ago this said I should get the front brake pads renewed within a few months. I worried about it for a while and then forgot all about it. Last year brakes were not mentioned. This year I asked if all the brakes were ok and they said yes. So I generally take the advice with a pinch of salt. What it did say this year was that there was some play on the ball joints of the anti-roll bar. I spoke to one of the mechanics about this and told him what was done last year. He said it was probably damage done before those covers were renewed but it's not urgent to get it fixed (which will cost in the region of £114). "Come back in six months and we'll check it for you."

Do you trust your car mechanic not to fleece you?


David Robinson said...

I'e just bought another (second-hand) car, Jean. My last one fell to bits and I'll run this until it dies. I have lad I used to work with who does all my work for me, so I know I don't get stuffed.

BTW, the MOT came in after three years. Has that changed?

Unknown said...

No, it hasn't changed for private cars, David. It's still three years. I thought I remembered reading about changes, so left that a bit vague in my post. Now I have looked it up, so I'll change the post to make it clear.

Sharkbytes said...

Some of our states have inspections. Michigan does not. I'm glad.

Jenny Woolf said...

It really has to be a matter of getting recommendations. We have our car done in a small town where everyone knows what goes on.

Unknown said...

Joan: of course, there are pros and cons.

Jenny: that's lucky, or is it?

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