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Kimberley Dodge profile

Kimberley Dodge

November 19, 2018

Owning a car Young driver stories 5 min read

Everything appears to be running smoothly with your car; maybe the engine light flickers on and off now and again; maybe when you reverse it makes a funny noise but hey, it’s your first car. Being a new driver means you’ve likely got a second-hand car, a bit of an old banger, but still pretty reliable. You put the car’s whining when you’re in fifth gear or the slight groan when you brake, down to the car’s little quirks. And then the day of fear arrives.

The day your M.O.T is due

Panic and dread fill you up. Will it pass? Will I have to pay for repairs? Will I need to get a new car? Suddenly, all the seemingly insignificant oddities erupt into an endless list of potential problems.


Highway Robbery

If you weren’t already aware, cars are a constant, never-ending money pit. Depending on the garage you go to for your M.O.T, prices can rack up to a fair sum of money. The maximum amount companies can charge is £54.85 (which is oddly specific). I would highly recommend shopping around for a reasonable price, either by inquiring at local garages or asking other drivers where they would recommend getting your M.O.T done. But beware, cheap is not always best, as some sneaky garages may appear to charge a shockingly low rate, but by the end of the test, they’ll have racked you up a bill that may be utterly unnecessary. Make sure to always check out reviews and recommendations to find an M.O.T garage you feel like you can trust.

Booking in

To book in my M.O.T I simply rang up my local garage of choice and made an appointment. Some places may offer online booking, or you can even visit the M.O.T centre and make an appointment in person. Just don’t forget to book in advance of your current M.O.T’s expiration date, or you won’t legally be able to drive your car on the road. Also, don’t leave it until the last minute (like I did of course) and then have to frantically plead with the very kind reception lady on the phone to squeeze me in the next day (if you’re reading this, you are my saviour).


The Waiting Game

Because I am as useless as the ‘ueue’ in ‘queue’, leaving my M.O.T to the last minute meant that nobody was around to pick me up from the garage whilst my car was getting checked. Even my mum had social plans that sounded way more exciting than sitting in a waiting room that smelt like car polish and rubber tyres. So, lo and behold, I was forced to sit and wait, fidgeting nervously, whilst my M.O.T took place.

In all honesty, it wasn’t that bad. I made sure I had brought snacks and a good book to keep me occupied. Although, the stupid coffee machine kept me occupied for about twenty-minutes: I couldn’t figure out how to use it and the receptionist had to embarrassingly come and help me out. Apart from that, I managed to get through a couple of chapters of my book and had a lovely chat with the receptionist. All in all, waiting wasn’t too terrible and luckily my M.O.T was done fairly quickly.

The Grand Reveal

Despite having a relatively pleasant experience thus far, as soon as the M.O.T was over and the car mechanic handed the receptionist some paperwork, my heart began to pound. My palms suddenly got very sweaty and goosebumps bristle my skin as I began to visualise my decreasing bank balance at the thought of having to get my car repaired. I could almost smell my money burning away- or it might have just been the smell of engine oil.

I was beckoned up to the front desk. I approached sheepishly.


Somehow, my little Fiat had passed!

Relief flooded over me, as I swiftly signed some forms, paid for the service and was back on my way. I was presented with an M.O.T certificate that listed only one advisory fault, which is basically a very minor issue that does not require immediate repair. I drove home, belting out Ed Sheeran to celebrate a successful M.O.T. Thankfully, I won’t have to do this for another year.

Learnt my Lesson

It’s safe to say, I’ve definitely learnt from my experience. Mainly, I’ve learnt not to leave everything until the last minute, or else you’ll get into an M.O.T frenzy, desperately hunting for a garage with a free appointment. Also, try and make sure that someone can pick you up after you’ve dropped your car off and the drop you off again to collect it, else you’ll end up drinking watery coffee when you’d much rather be in a Starbucks. Finally, don’t fret about it too much- chances are your car’s going to be absolutely fine. Just make sure that you are financially prepared if something does happen to go wrong.

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Kimberley Dodge profile

By Kimberley Dodge

'For me, driving means freedom. I passed my test a year ago and so I’ve been enjoying getting where I want, when I want. I’m now 18, so having my own car has given me a lot more independence: I no longer have to rely on the taxi of mum and dad!'  See more posts by Kimberley

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