#tipthursday Help your vehicle pass its MOT

We believe prevention is better than cure here at Maitland Motors, which is especially true when it comes to your vehicle passing its MOT first time or not.

Here are a few easy checks you can do at home before dropping your vehicle in for MOT that could help achieve a first-time pass, avoiding waiting on re-tests and repairs.

Checks can include,

  • Is there water for your window screens?
  • Are your levels inc oil topped up to the correct level?
  • Do your wipers work correctly and keep the windows clean and clear?
  • Do all your bulbs work? (Inc indicators and fog light?)
  • How are your tyres looking? When was the last time you had them replaced? Are they inflated to the correct pressure?
  • Are all your seatbelts working and assessable?
  • Are there any warning lights illuminated on the dash?
  • Check your mirrors. Is there a clear view of the roads behind and around you?
  • How do your brakes feel? Do you hear any noises while braking? Are they less reactive than they once were?

If you do spot or feel that something might contribute to your vehicle failing, getting it booked in or making us aware of it before testing means our techs can address it quickly and efficiently. Also, you are without your vehicle for as short a time as possible and have a better idea of any costs involved beforehand.

If you’re unsure about doing this at home, we’d advise booking in for a Free Pre-MOT. Our trained and qualified techs can do it for you. Call or leave a comment below for more info or to book in here at Maitland Motors.

What is a DPF?

You may have noticed Maitland Motors have become a part of The DPF Doctor network, but what does this mean for you? (If you drive a petrol vehicle then nothing. Petrol vehicles are not fitted with a DPF, you don’t need to worry.)  

Our diesel customers may have heard or have had issues with their DPF, so how can we help you? 

What is a DPF? 

Your DPF (diesel particulate filter)  helps limit the amount of pollution (soot) emitted from diesel vehicles entering our atmosphere, improving emissions. New Euro 5 exhaust emissions legislation made it mandatory for all diesels to be fitted with a DPF from 2009 onwards.  

The DPF works by carrying out a process called DPF Regeneration. DPF regeneration is when the excess soot, which has been trapped and collected by the DPF, is burnt off at a very high temperature. Burning is activated in 1 of 2 ways, Passive or Active

Passive DPF Regeneration is activated when the exhaust temperature is high enough so that the DPF can do its job of burning off the soot. These high temperatures only take place at speeds of at least 40 mph driven for at least 15 minutes. In other words, a nice long drive on the motorway should activate your DPFs passive regeneration without you having to do anything special. You could have issues with this if you tend to take short, slow, stop-start journeys when the vehicle doesn’t have the chance to get to a high enough temperature to activate the process. Factors that could also cause issues inc, lack of maintenance, wrong oil or driving on empty.  

Active DPF Regeneration is activated when the filter reaches 45% capacity (soot collected) and fuel is injected automatically. This increase in fule makes the exhaust temperature rise so that it can then burn off the soot. Regeneration is activated on longer journeys, so again, if you tend to do low, slow miles, the DPF won’t have the chance to do its job. 

Looking after your DPF will save you costly repairs and help your diesel run safely and efficiently, new DPFs can cost at least £1000! So if you notice the DPF warning light is on, then taking your vehicle for a nice long drive may be all that’s needed to start the regeneration process (especially if you’ve been working from home or not travelling much). If your light is still on or it’s stating a full DPF it may be time for an expert in DPF care to inspect and diagnose the issues. 

Alongside the leading industry knowledge and products from our friends at The DPF Doctor, we can help keep your DPF running and doing its job. Firstly, we would be to carry out a DPF Assessment, which includes specific tests and measuerments using our extensive training . This costs £75 + vat and you will be given a full report on the condition of your DPF and what the next steps (if needed) are to get your DPF running smoothly and efficiently again.  (All works advised are under no obligation.)

Please call or email our office with any questions or if you would like to book in for a DPF assessment. 

Common Dashboard Warning Lights

Automotive technology has rapidly developed over the past few years, with more sensors and computerised elements used now in vehicles than ever before. Essentially, our cars are evolving into computers that we can drive. One way these sensors tell us something is wrong is by triggering a dashboard warning light. Here is a quick look at some of the most common warning lights we see here in the Maitland Motors workshop and what they mean for your car.

Engine Management Light
This light indicates there could be an issue with your engine. These issues could range from simple repairs such as replacing spark plugs to more serious problems which could result in a damaged engine. Ignition coils, Lambda sensors or DPF faults, to name a few, could also be the reason behind your EML being on. If this light is on at the time of an MOT, your car will fail straight away.

Engine Management Light Example

Service Light
This light is mainly designed as a reminder to check your car’s levels and annual maintenance. This could be as simple as an oil and filter change, or a more in-depth service depending on how you drive and how many miles you’ve driven since your last service. Your owners manual will detail age/mileage when certain repairs will be due to ensure your car performs to its best and up to spec. (We have a basic car maintenance secluded here to help keep you right; prevention is always better than cure.)

ABS
This light means there are issues with your Anti-Lock Braking System and its been disabled. The ABS is a safety feature to help stop your brakes from completely locking up if you have to brake suddenly or in an emergency. If this does happen without ABS then you won’t be able to steer your car which can be very dangerous especially when avoiding an accident. Repairs that may affect the ABS include a faulty wheel sensor, wiring issue or a faulty ABS-ring.

ABS warning light example

Tyre Pressure Monitoring
This light means there is an issue with the TPMS system or that at least one tyre has low pressure. To help with this, ensure all your tyres are at the correct pressure. (We have a previous #tipthursday here for more details.) If the light is still present even if your tyres are at the correct pressure, then further investigation is required by technician.

Tyre Pressure Monitoring light example.

Traction Control
Traction control is another safety feature which helps to reduce/ prevent wheel spin, meaning you stay in control of the car in an emergency or wet/slippery driving situations. When this light is on, your traction control won’t work and it’s much more likely you could lose control of your car. This is also an MOT failure, so not one to ignore.

Traction Control light example

Also be mindful of the warning light colour, which indicates the seriousness of the issues. Red lights mean you should not drive your car as there is a serious problem and it may be unsafe to drive. Amber means you need to check your car asap, and green is everything is as it should be.

Dashboard warning lights examples. There are loads more than what we’ve mentioned here.

We’d always recommend booking in with a garage to get any warning lights checked sooner rather than later. Most garages will have specialist equipment they can plug into the car which will tell the technician the fault code and where the issue lies. Sometimes further investigation is needed for more in-depth/ complicated repairs.

If you have any questions about dashboard warning light or would like to book in with Maitland Motors, then just leave a comment below or call our office.