• A clean engine works more efficiently and uses less fuel.
• Having your car regularly serviced and ensuring that the fuel and oil system is cleaned will make the engine work more efficiently, use less fuel and produce less CO2.
• Pump up to cut down.
• Check and adjust your tyre pressures regularly and also before long journeys. Under- inflated tyres increase CO2 but over- inflated tyres can be unsafe. Check your car manual for the correct tyre pressures.
• Less clutter in your car means less CO2.
• Removing extra weight could reduce your engine's workload. Burn less fuel and cut your CO2 emissions by unloading any items you wont need before your journey.
• Driving at an appropriate speed reduces CO2.
• Staying at or within the speed limit not only increases driver safety but also reduces CO2 emissions and saves money on your petrol costs. At 70mph you could be using up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15% more fuel than at 50mph.
• Less stopping and starting means less CO2.
• Keep an eye on the traffic ahead and slow down early by gently lifting your foot off the accelerator while keeping the car in gear.
• Over revving accelerates emissions.
• Using your gears wisely by changing up a gear a little earlier can also reduce revs. If you drive a diesel car, try changing up a gear when the rev counter reaches 2000rpm. For a petrol car change up at 2500rpm.
• Idling is wasting fuel.
• When the engine is idling, you're wasting fuel and adding to CO2 emissions. If you're likely to be at a standstill for more than 3 minutes, simply switch off the engine.
Cars older than 3 years old it will need to go in for an annual MOT to make sure the vehicle is roadworthy. You'll also need it to tax your car and take it out on the road.
Even if you don't know a lot about cars, there are still plenty of things you can do yourself to make sure the car is fit for its MOT. It could save you having to pay for repairs and will make sure your car's not off the road for any longer than it has to be.
Some of the easiest things to check will only take a few minutes. Turn on the ignition and make sure:
• The Horn is working
• The windscreen washers and wipers are working. If not you can top up the screen wash or replace split blades on the windscreen wipers
• All the lights are working — this includes the brake and number plate lights
• The seat belts work properly and are not frayed or cut
• Worn tyres are one of the most common reasons for failing an MOT
• Check for damage, bulges or objects stuck in the tread
• Also check the tread — if it's worn on one side the wheels might be mis- aligned
• You'll also need to make sure the tread is at least 1.6mm deep, the legal minimum which you can check using a tread depth gauge
• First, check that the handbrake works properly:
• If you have to pull the lever up too far through lots of clicking, the cable probably needs adjusting
• If the handbrake can be released by tapping on the lever, it will need tightening
• You can also check the brake pedals. If they feel spongy when you press them, there may be air in the hydraulic system which needs to be removed
• Your steering wheel should be fairly tight on the column. If it's loose or there are abnormal movements when you turn, there could be wear in the column support
• Try to bounce every corner of your car. If your shock absorbers are working, the car should settle after one or two bounces. If not, they may need changing
• While an MOT will allow small stone chips in your windscreen, there should be no large cracks. It's best to get any small chips fixed early before they expand and cause you a bigger problem
• Your side mirrors should also be securely fixed and the glass in good condition. You can buy replacement glass or mirrors if you have a problem
• You can check for leaks in the exhaust system by asking someone to hold a cloth over the exhaust when you start the car
• If there are no leaks, the engine should stall after a few seconds. If it doesn't stall, you'll need to get any leaks repaired to pass your MOT
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