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Ensuring Your Vehicle is Road Worthy

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 8 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Road Legal Vehicle Driver Steering

Before you can drive a car on any public road - either as a learner driver or a fully qualified driver - you must ensure that the car is road legal. If your car is found not to be roadworthy you will be subject to hefty fines, points on your licence and even having your vehicle scrapped.

Tax, MOT and Insurance

Before you can drive your motor vehicle on the public roads, you must have valid:

Without any of these three key pieces of documentation you are breaking the law and are subject to the a fine, points endorsements or possibly even a custodial sentence.

Mechanical and Electrical Problems

Major components that affect your vehicle's safety are the brakes, the engine, the steering and the electrics. If any of these components are not up to standard - and more importantly - not up to the standard as set out by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), then the vehicle is not roadworthy.

Some of the most common problems are:

  • Defective brakes
  • Faulty steering column
  • Broken headlights
  • Broken mirrors
  • Bald tyres

There are, of course, many other problems which can occur with your vehicle which would deem it not roadworthy but these are among the most common.

All of these problems are to be found during an MOT (Ministry of Transport) test and if found they must be put right before an MOT certificate is granted. If your vehicle fails its MOT test, you have a set period of time - usually fourteen days - in which to have the repairs carried out and another MOT inspection done.

Unforeseen Defects

One of the main bones of contention when buying a car for a learner driver is sometimes their inability to hold out for a better car and to go for the first car they see. This sometimes causes problems of its own as - although we would like it not to be so - there are unfortunately unscrupulous individuals who will sell defective motor vehicles to unsuspecting buyers. Sometimes motor vehicles which have been badly damaged in road traffic accidents (RTAs) will be sold on. Many insurance companies will demand that a motor vehicle be scrapped if it is beyond repair but sometimes these cars - either to be scrapped or just badly damaged - are repaired and sold on.

Driving such a vehicle may not initially present any problems but over a period of time you may encounter a series of problems which could include:

  • Sluggish steering
  • Poor clutch control
  • Audible rattling or shaking
  • Exhaust problems
  • Poor braking

Many of these vehicles will have had body work repair including the replacing of panels, spot welding and respraying; this work is carried out obviously to disguise the cosmetic damage to the car but it can also disguise more deep rooted and severe problems.

For this reason when you are purchasing a used car - it is advisable to take someone with you who is a mechanic or who has a good knowledge of cars.

Do not buy a vehicle that has no registration document or comes with no service history. A vehicle without an MOT certificate should be instantly refused and avoid going to look at a vehicle at night time when it is difficult to see the condition of the bodywork and the underside.

Again be aware that once you have taken possession of a motor vehicle and your name is assigned to the registration document, the vehicle is then legally your responsibility.

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