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Helpful guidance on motoring
Helpful guidance on motoring matters
Coronavirus and mortgage payment holidays

If you're struggling financially due to coronavirus, you may welcome the Chancellor's promise to implement mortgage payment holidays.

The payment holiday provides flexibility by allowing you to stop or reduce your monthly payments for up to three months. This won't be suitable for everyone but could provide much needed help if you need it, although you need to be aware that this is not free money and you will be required to pay this back when your payments start again after the payment holiday.

» Read the full article for all the latest information

Check if a vehicle has an MOT and when it is next due

You can quickly and easily check the MOT status of any vehicle directly on the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) website.

You might want to check your own vehicle or perhaps a vehicle you're thinking of buying. All you'll need is the vehicle's make and registration number.

» Go to the VOSA website and check the MOT for any vehicle

How can you appeal if you're unhappy with the outcome of an MOT test?

You have the right to appeal a failed MOT test by filling in a VT17 form. You can also get the form from any MOT test centre or by calling the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) on 0300 123 9000

Your appeal must be received within 14 working days of the test. VOSA will offer an appointment within five days to recheck your car – but the full test fee must be paid again. Some or all of the test fee will be refunded if your appeal is successful.

» Go to the VOSA website and complete the VT17 form

Make sure you keep your driving licence up to date to avoid the risk of a fine

Failing to update your driving licence with your current address runs the risk of a £1,000 fine. This also applies if you fail to update your photo, which is a legal requirement every 10 years.

It's free, and you can change your driving licence address by post or online - although you'll need a Government Gateway ID to do it online, which is an account you can then use to login to a range of online government services that need this authorisation.

» Go to the correct Government website page

Get a V5C vehicle registration certificate (log book)

You can apply by phone or send form V62 by post to get a replacement V5C vehicle registration certificate (log book).

You can get a replacement if your original V5C certificate has been lost, stolen, damaged, destroyed or you haven't received the certificate for your new vehicle

If you buy a vehicle without a V5C certificate, you might not be able to tax it and drive it on public roads until you get one.

You can call DVLA Mon-Fri 8am-7pm, and on Saturday 8am-2pm on 0300 790 6802 If you apply by phone there's a £25 fee and it can take up to 5 days to get your V5C.

If you apply by post, there's no fee if you haven't received the V5C registration certificate for your new vehicle but still have your green V5C/2 section. You'll need to send this in with the completed V62 form. It can take up to 6 weeks to get your V5C.

» Go straight to the DVLA's V62 application form

Check all the essential details that DVLA have on any vehicle

You can check the details of any vehicle on the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) website. All you'll need is the vehicle's make and registration number.

• Vehicle tax status
• Date of first registration and year of manufacture
• Cylinder capacity (cc)
• CO2 Emissions
• Fuel type
• Registered vehicle colour
• Vehicle weight

» Go to the VOSA website and check the details of any vehicle

Accident blackspots: find out about the reported accidents in any area of the UK

CrashMap is an amazing tool: you can view all the accidents in any area of the UK flagged on a map, filter your results by year, and also by seriousness of accident (light/serious/fatal), then click on any given flag to find out even more, all based on official reports.

If you want to find out about your own town, or see where the accident blackspots are, this is a fantastically helpful and informative tool.

» Go to CrashMap

How does the UK's vehicle number plate system work? A quick explanation

Since 2001, a standard British plate has seven characters. The first letter is a general area code. So cars registered in London carry plates starting with "L", and cars registered in Birmingham start with "B", and so on. The second letter refers to the local DVLA office.

The next two numbers tell you which 6-month period the car was first registered in. The age identifier on new registrations changes twice a year in March and September. So cars with a "15" plate will have been registered between March 2015 and September 2015. Cars registered between October 2015 and February the following year are assigned a 15 + 50 tag - i.e. 65. The final three letters are totally random.

What do the size numbers on tyre sidewalls actually mean? A quick explanation

Let's take a common tyre size as an example: 195 65 R15 91 V:

195 - width of the tyre in millimetres.

65 - height of the tyre sidewall as a percentage of the width; in this case 65% of 195mm. This is also known as the aspect ratio. The lower the number, the more 'low-profile' the tyre.

R - this designates that the tyre is of radial construction, as nearly all new tyres are.

15 - the diameter of the tyre's inner rim in inches, i.e. the wheel size the tyre will fit onto.

91 - the load rating of the tyre. There's a table of rates and in this case 91 is 615kg

V - speed rating of the tyre. This indicates the maximum speed for the tyre when at full load. There's a standard table of rates, and V is 149 mph.


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