Older vehicles are not safe to drive

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that the older a car is, the more the driver's chances of dying in a crash. A driver is 71 per cent more likely to die in a serious accident if the car is 18 years old or more. The risk to a driver’s life recedes to 19 per cent if the car is 8–11 years old. This risk reduces further to 10 per cent if the car is 4–7 years old. 

If you keep your car longer than you have paid for, you risk failing some important parts. The Automobile Association has a list for us:

Timing belts: Their teeth can sheer off into pieces, resulting in engine failure.

Brake system: Various components of the brake system become prone to failure.

For instance, brake pads may wear down, leading to damage to brake discs and loss of braking power. It creates a grinding noise from metal to metal.

The brake hose and brake system seals get ruptured. They have a lifespan of 5 years.

Brake fluid may absorb moisture, reducing resistance to heat and brake failure.

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Radiators and radiator hoses: They tend to deteriorate over time, leading to overheating and engine failure.

Alternators: Their failure may lead to battery failure. It means your car won’t get the necessary electricity supply.

Water pumps: They supply coolant to the engine. Their failure leads to engine overheating, which may lead to failure. The temperature gauge shows a temperature rise, and there is leakage of water in front of the engine.

Shock absorbers: They are designed to last some 80,000 miles. If they fail, you lose control of the car.

CV joints: They are used to connect the transmission of power to wheels. If they collapse, your car won’t move.

Clutches: They tend to slip often, not allowing the gearbox to fully engage with the engine. This may lead to limited or no drive at all.

Engine and gearbox seal: Their failure leads to loss of lubricant and, as a result, gearbox or engine seizure.

Starter motors: Their bearings wear out over time. You have to make extra effort to turn on the engine. It may lead to a flat battery.

Oil pumps: If they go defunct, it may lead to stoppage lubricant to the engine. The oil pressure gauge indicates low oil pressure in such a case. Engine failure may result.

Wheel bearings: They tend to disintegrate, causing the hub assembly to detach from the vehicle. The wheel comes off, and you have no control over steering.

Universal joints: In rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, the prop shaft drops out of the vehicle when these joints fail. This causes damage to the rear differential and other undercarriage parts.

Almost all countries have guidelines in place to ensure the older car you own is fit to drive.

In the United Kingdom, for instance, there is an MOT Test. All vehicles above three years are mandated to undergo this test before they are declared fit to drive. This annual test is conducted for vehicle safety, roadworthiness aspects and exhaust emissions. This test was first introduced in 1960 by the Ministry of Transport as a few basic checks, including brakes, lights and steering.

Here is the list of aspects that Toyota MOT Northampton test covers:

  • Registration plate
  • Vehicle identification number
  • Steering and suspension
  • Lights
  • Horn
  • Wipers and washers
  • Windscreen
  • Seats
  • Seatbelts
  • Exhaust system
  • Fuel system
  • Exhaust emissions
  • Vehicle structure
  • Mirrors
  • Doors
  • Brakes
  • Wheels and tyres

More than 23,500 local car repair garages throughout England, Scotland, and Wales are authorized to perform the MOT test and issue certificates.

If you are in Northampton, you can get an MOT test conducted on your car. Just check in your mobile by typing Volvo MOT Northampton. These authorized garages will do the job to your satisfaction.

Remember fitness of your car is insurance against risk to life.