Category Archives: Servicing

The Essential MOT Checklist

The Essential MOT Checklist

It is compulsory for every vehicle to clear a mechanical and emissions test to ensure that the car is safe to drive and does not cause excess pollution. This test is known as MOT test which has been named after the old Ministry of Transport.MOT

According to regulations, it is compulsory for a vehicle that is more than 3 years old to get an MOT test done every year. In this test, the condition of several essential parts of a car are inspected for safety and a certificate is given upon passing the MOT test that certifies the car as safe to be driven on the roads.

MOT’s can be undertaken only at authorised garages. Before you take your vehicle to such an authorised centre there are certain areas that you can check yourself in order to increase your chances of clearing the test. The following things are generally tested during an MOT:

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

What happens if your car fails its MOT?

During the MOT test, if a problem is found with any of the above checklist then your car will fail its MOT test and you will be given a VT30 certificate that will contain details of things that you need to rectify in your car. Another test will be scheduled and this time it will be a partial test in which the areas that were highlighted in the previous test are inspected.

The Essential MOT Checklist

  • LightsLights

Fact: As many as 30% of MOT failures are due to improper lighting.

For a car to be safe on the roads, functional lighting is crucial. Before taking your vehicle for an MOT test it is important that you check whether the front and rear lights are operating without any problems. Also, check that hazard lights, dipped lights, indicators, headlights and full beam lights are also operational.

Along with the lights being fully operational, it is also mandatory that they display the right colour according to their function. This makes it necessary for you to check if any colour coatings have peeled away. You may need to get a friend’s help or park against a reflective surface to confirm that there is no problem with lighting.

Registration plate lights, brake lights, fog lights, front and rear lights, indicators and rear reflectors must:

  • Illuminate with a single operation of the switch
  • Be in good condition
  • Not be obscured
  • Not be adversely affected by the operation of any other light
  • Show the correct colour
  • Be correctly positioned and secure


  • Car Exterior

Car ExteriorDuring the MOT test, a general inspection is carried out of the chassis, seats, doors, body and engine mountings. They should not be heavily corroded and there shouldn’t be any sharp edges which could potentially cause injury.

There should not be any visible damage to the registration plate that could make it difficult to read. The registration plate should be firmly fitted at the rear and front of a car. A person standing at a distance of 20 metres should be able to see the number clearly.

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) should be displayed permanently either on a VIN plate attached to the vehicle or etched on the chassis or body of vehicle.

  • Emissions, exhausts and fuelEmissions, exhausts and fuel

The exhaust system is thoroughly inspected in an MOT test to ensure that it does not leak and that it is absolutely secure.

The tank cap should be able to seal properly and the system is checked for possible leaks.

A fuel analyser probe is used to test the smoke that is emitted from the exhaust while the engine is running. Carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions must not exceed the legal limit.

  • Under the Bonnet

Under the BonnetThe battery should not show any visible damage that can cause leakage of electrolytes.




  • InteriorInterior

The horn should be loud enough so that it can be heard by another vehicle on the road and it should emit a continuous uniform note.

It is also important to inspect the car seats before the MOT test to ensure that they are in the correct positions. The seat belts too should be fully functional.

  • Tyres

TyresFact: 10% of MOT failures are due to tyres.

Before your car’s MOT test, you should get your tyre pressure checked. The ideal tyre pressure for your vehicle is specified on the doorjamb.

The most important thing checked in an MOT test related to tyres is the tread depth. It should not be below the limit of 1.6mm and should be consistent through at least 75% of the tyre surface. The tyres should be in a proper condition and if they have been through a lot of wear and tear then it is advisable to get your tyres changed before the test.

  • WindscreensWindscreens

Fact: 6.6% of MOT failures are due to issues related to mirrors, wipers and windscreens.

There should not be damage or anything that could potentially distract the attention of the driver on the road. Obstructions directly in the drivers view should not be larger than 10mm and those outside the view, but within the sweep area of wipers, should not be larger than 40mm.

The driver should not have difficulties in seeing objects at the side or rear of the vehicle. The wing mirrors and rear view mirrors should not have suffered any damage that blocks the driver’s view. Along with mirrors, the washers and wipers should be functional and sweep a wide enough area to give clarity to the driver about the road ahead in rough weather. The washer jets should not be obstructed and any blockage should be removed before the MOT test.

  • Brakes

BrakesFact: 9.6% of MOT failures are due to issues with the braking system

Needless to say, brakes are extremely important in any vehicle and they should be in the right condition before taking your vehicle for the MOT test. In the test the pedals, brakes and levers are inspected and a test is conducted to test the efficiency of braking system.

The above requirements are not only important from the MOT test perspective but also a necessary level of maintenance that ensures your safety when you’re out on the roads. To increase your chances of clearing the test you should either get your car serviced or take your vehicle to a garage that can conduct this test for you and rectify any possible problems that can show up during the test.

Why Preventative Maintenance is Important

Why Preventative Maintenance is Important

A vehicle is one of the most consistent and expensive outlays in your life. To make the most of your investment, it is crucial that you maintain your vehicle inside out to extend its lifespan.

The car manufacturers know that customers value a dependable car and when such a car is maintained properly it becomes safer to be driven around thus adding to its dependability too. This is one of the reasons why car manufacturers specifically indicate certain services ‘that must be done’ in order to maintain the factory warranty and extended warranty.

Preventative Maintenance for Your Car

Preventative Maintenance for Your Car

Preventative maintenance is what will keep your vehicle running better and safer on an everyday basis while also prolonging its lifespan. Pay special attention to the preventative maintenance category and here a few items to give you a head-start to care for your auto:

  • Tyre rotation
  • Regular brake checks
  • Tyre pressure
  • Regular oil changes

Car manufacturers also create highly detailed maintenance schedules highlighting specific functions that are to be performed without fail on various systems and components. These services are carried out at different mileage intervals to make sure that proper operation is undertaken, preventing premature wear and tear.

At In Town Automotive we urge our customers to follow the maintenance guidelines compiled for your vehicle. Routine maintenance will ensure that the engine of your car runs well while also eliminating potential problems that might leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Since the inception of cars, manufacturers have always reminded their customers to have their units put through regular check-ups for a hassle-free driving experience.

Modern engineering has given a boost to the car manufacturers as they can now determine the life expectancy of certain parts of the car which enables them to come up with a systematic schedule for the car.

This involves lubrication of the car components, refilling of fluids of the car or replacement of certain parts as per the requirements.

Maintenance of your car involves basic car maintenance or a total overhaul car check-up.

Significance of Basic Car Maintenance

There are several maintenance measures that you can employ to keep your car in the best possible condition. This will require you to bring your car to us and get it thoroughly checked at regular intervals.

Having your engine checked first and foremost is really important. This is because the engine is the heart of any vehicle and with a sub-par engine your vehicle is as good as a metallic bin, a fancy one, but still a bin.

Getting your engine checked will ensure that it is in top working form and up to its speed. It is also important to have a good look at your car transmission.

Checking the Brakes is an elemental part of your basic car maintenance. Seek the assistance of expert mechanics from In Town Automotive to have your brakes checked regularly. Keep in mind that the brakes of your vehicle will keep you and your loved ones safe. Routine brake checks will ensure that you do not inflict any damage to the rotors of your vehicle, ultimately saving you money in the long run.

Routine brake checks

Low brake fluid levels can result in soft brake pedals. At the same time, dirty brake pads are known to cause squeaking of the brakes. Getting regular brake checks can assist in getting rid of this problem and will also considerably reduce the risk of accidents.

A functioning AC offers comfort from the heat outside. If your auto AC emits disagreeable cooling then it is time to schedule an appointment for servicing. AC repair can involve a simple procedure of cleaning out a dirty condenser or a heavy duty mechanical procedure. It is essential that you attend to minor issues as soon as you recognise them so that you can avoid serious problems and a costly car repair in the future.

Significance of Regular Mechanical Inspection

Have your car inspected regularly for safety purposes and also to reduce the cost of car repair. Regular mechanical inspection has to be carried out and this does not mean a general visual inspection of your vehicle. Many aspects and components of your vehicle cannot be checked just by a mere glance which is why it is important that a detailed check is carried out.

Seek assistance from expert mechanics like us and subject your vehicle to a diagnostic check to ensure that all components of your car are in suitable working order. A car diagnostic tool will helps us pin down the problematic areas in your vehicle without having to gut out your car in entirety.

Significance of Immediate Car Repair

Upon experiencing any kind of car trouble, get your car checked without delay. When you address the car issues immediately, you are fending off any recurring damage. The safety system in your car is installed with the sole intention of alerting you of any problems or mechanical failures that your car is likely to have or is already having.

Additional Preventative Checks That You Must Heed

We carry out these checks to ensure that your vehicle is running smoothly:
Check the Filters

Check the Filters

Make sure that the oil filter is replaced along with the oil. Usually people who have budget constraints skimp away from replacing the filter or instead buy one which is mediocre. Keep in mind that metallic parts or any other foreign debris which are not filtered can end up severely damaging the engine of your vehicle.

Check the Belts

Check the Belts

A typical car engine consists of several belts that make a car function smoothly. These include the fan belt, drive belt, timing belt and power steering belt. As belts are generally made out of rubber, they eventually degrade over time.

Make sure that you replace these belts as often as the car manufacturer suggests as this will help in fending off problems like mechanical breakdown, loss of electrical power, overheating and heavy steering. If you do not get a belt replacement on time, it has the potential to cause severe engine damage which is surely going to burn a hole in your pocket when it comes to repairs.

Check the batteries

Check the batteries

Apart from vehicle power rating, car batteries now come with an expiry date. Batteries that come along with the purchase of a brand new car generally last between two to three years. The price of the car batteries may vary depending upon its guaranteed lifespan. To avoid a dead car battery, ensure that you replace the battery as soon as its warranty expires.

Check the Transmission

An integral aspect of any vehicle is it transmission. Routine checkups and oil flushes will make sure that the vehicle’s transmissions are in good shape.

Check the Tyres

Tyres are made from rubber and they begin to wear out after several thousand miles. So, to prolong the life of the tyres that is including the spare ones, they should be rotated every 5000 miles or so to make sure that this wears off evenly.

You need to pay special attention to the air pressure in the tyres to extend its life and usage. Check with the car manufacturer how frequently the tyres require to be replaced and do so accordingly.

Benefits of Preventative Maintenance for Your Car

Benefits of Preventative Maintenance for Your Car

  • Preventative maintenance saves considerable amount of money as you can avoid expensive car repairs occurring from mere neglect.
  • Taking good care of your vehicle gives you peace of mind as you know you and your family are safe while travelling.
  • Proper care increases the dependability of the vehicle.
  • Healthy emission system makes you contribute towards a cleaner environment.
  • A well maintained vehicle is of more value when you plan to sell it off.

Car repair and maintenance

Car repair and maintenance are very essential and must not be taken for granted. By adhering to preventative measures you are able to conserve a lot of time, effort and money and get the most out of driving.

Air Conditioning Recharge Cost

Air Conditioning Recharge Cost

If small beads of sweat are running down your face despite the air conditioner operating at its maximum power then your A/C system may be running low on refrigerant. Tiny amounts of refrigerant leaks from the lines over time and can lead to reduced performance of an air conditioning system. However the solution is really simple – put more of the refrigerant back into the system.

Air Conditioning

There are several technicalities involved that make this task harder and hence it should not be attempted by an inexperienced person in order to save some money.

For example, the refrigerant should be added in the right proportion as adding it in excess can prove to be expensive and create additional problems with the air conditioning system. When the process is done, you will once again have icy cold air running through the vents of your air conditioning system and those sweat beads shall not appear until the next recharge is required.

How air conditioners work?

How air conditioners work

There are three main parts of an air conditioning system; a condenser, a compressor and an evaporator. In simple terms the evaporator and condenser are two radiators that are connected in a loop.

Between them on one of the two sides a compressor is situated, which takes a low pressure gaseous working fluid, compresses it and sends it to the condenser where the heat is dissipated to the outside.

The liquid refrigerant then travels to the evaporator after the condenser where it expands, removes heat and cools the evaporator. The evaporator is located inside the passenger compartment. The fan directs air over the evaporator which cools it and then sends it out into the vents of the car.

During this process, the working fluid becomes both very hot and very cold and this makes it necessary to keep moisture out of the system.

Moisture in the system can lead to formation of ice in the compressor which can cause damage to it.

Detection of Leaks

An air conditioning service engineer is equipped with the knowledge required to detect and repair refrigerant leaks. Such units that are suffering from leaks will tend to cool for a few hours and then stop working. Many people do not realise that there is a leak in the system as air is still coming out of the vents but it is not cold air.

Another sign of the air conditioning system not working properly is the freezing of refrigerant coils. A unit that is low in refrigerant operates below freezing and leads to formation of ice. In such a situation the ice that is built up can also block the airflow which can increase the repair costs drastically.

Harmful to environment

Refrigerant leaks are known to be harmful to the environment as well. The refrigerant fluid is harmful to animals, plants and people. In recent times the fluid technology has been improved as the fluid manufactured many years back was bad for the ozone layer and hence they were made more environmentally friendly.

Since air conditioning is a closed loop system, refrigerant should be added only when leaks have been detected, the cooling is ineffective or an expert engineer has made a suggestion to recharge the system.

When the air conditioning system is low on fluid, efficiency of the system is affected. The fluid needs to be recharged when the air conditioning unit is running on low charge. The charge of an air conditioning unit should be checked periodically by In Town Automotive.

Why Manual Recharge should not be done?

Why Manual Recharge should not be done

Before the refrigerant fluid is recharged in the system the existing fluid should be evacuated from the system. Adding refrigerant on top of current levels is similar to adding new oil on top of old oil. Topping off fluids is a dangerous practice as it does not solve the problem entirely and can often result in bigger problems.

  • Entry for contaminants

When a system is experiencing leaks it also becomes a gateway for contaminants to enter the system. Contaminants such as dust, dirt and grime can enter the air conditioning system and build up as a residue which plugs up the hoses and pumps that are necessary to keep the car cool. Water in the system aggravates residue formation.

Manual recharge kits leave behind some water in the lines. Water can chemically combine with the recharge fluid which can result in the formation of a corrosive liquid that can lead to deterioration of parts, corrosion of metal and fill the system with sludge.

  • Mixing Refrigerants

There are many types of refrigerant and they have varying proportions of chemicals. Hence an inexperienced person will not be certain about which refrigerant is currently in use in the system and which one is being added. Mixing refrigerants can result in dangerous chemical interactions. This mixture of refrigerant can cause damage to many parts of the air conditioner such as the compressor.

  • Other Problems

Manual recharge kits come with a stop leak sealer which can also stop the hoses, compressor and pumps along with the leak. While they may temporarily plug leaks, such kits should be avoided as they can create bigger problems due to their interference with system components.

DIY kits cover up the symptoms only temporarily and do not solve the problem entirely. Bigger problems can occur when water and contaminants get into the system, refrigerant leaks out into the environment and leaks are not repaired. These issues can increase the cost of repairs and it is a job which should be handled by professionals.

Leave it to the experts

Servicing and maintenance of an air conditioning systemis complicated and an inexperienced person handling such a responsibility can create further problems.

Contact the experts today and get your air conditioning in tip-top shape for summer for only £39.95.

How Our finance Solutions Make Repairs Easier

How In Town’s Finance Solutions Make Things Easier…


Many of us have total dependence on our vehicles.

Our vehicles solve several travelling dilemmas; whether it be dropping the kids to school or going to the shops, our vehicles make the travel easier.  This is why if your vehicle is not functioning properly, you are likely to experience discomfort.

To add to that, car repairs do not come cheap these days and is going to leave a dent in your finances, more so if car repairs or servicing was not on your financial agenda.

car broken down

To help you cope with this additional expense, In Town Automotive is here to provide finance on vehicle servicing, tyres, repairs and more. These finances will come to your aid if your bill is £280 or more.

At times, even with warranties and/ or servicing contracts, vehicle owners can face expensive repairs without having the necessary funds to pay for them and this is where In Town’s finance facility is going to come to your assistance.

finance options from in town

At In Town Automotive, we offer unsecured short-term personal loans that can finance the repairs of your vehicle. You can repay this in instalments spread over 1-12 months which will tremendously help you manage the unexpected expenditure a lot better.

An added benefit: If your bill is £1000 or over, you may qualify for 0% finance!

The average cost of basic car service sums up to £125 and add to that other mandatory repairs, your bill is likely to shoot up. In order to keep your car in top condition, it is recommended that you typically service it every year.


Caring for Your Car Saves Money

A car that is well-maintained is more efficient and saves money on fuel in return. All these factors point to the fact that you must get your car serviced, tyres changed and repairs are done if the need arises without thinking twice about the finances because at In Town we offer finance plans to cover your needs.

So, do not delay contact us today.

To read more about In Town Automotive’s finance solutions click here.

Cheap Servicing Northampton

Car Servicing Northampton: Love Affordable!

Some people love their car, whereas some people see it as just a vehicle to get them from A to B.

Some people vacuum, wash and wax their car every week, whereas some people chuck rubbish in the back, never get it washed and become one with the dirt. However, it doesn’t matter what kind of car owner you are, when it comes to getting it serviced, you don’t want it to cost you an arm and a leg. That’s where our affordable car servicing Northampton offers come in…

Why In Town Automotive?

Our affordable car servicing Northampton offers make it an affordable and pleasant experience while your car gets its check up. For those that love their car rather than loathe it, if you’re having multiple services a year, it’s in your interests to work with a professional BOSCH trained garage at an affordable price. Building up a relationship with one garage will help your car be looked after better.

cheap servicing northampton garage

Alternatively, for car owners in Northampton who only have a sporadic car servicing, our affordable car servicing Northampton offers will appeal to you too. We have three tiers of servicing, bronze, silver and gold, all at different prices. Each service option has a different number of checks which will be assessed on the car. The more checks performed, the more thorough the service . Spotting any minor faults can help you avoid a nasty repair bill in future. However, if your car does need expensive repairs, we offer a simple and friendly finance service. 

Helpful from start to finish!

If you make the decision to book in for one of our affordable car servicing Northampton offers here at In Town Automotive, our BOSCH trained technicians will be thorough and diligent in their assessment of the car. Afterwards, you will be provided all of the necessary documents and explanations of any errors found and what must be done to eradicate them. As well as our car servicing Northampton offers, we can service new cars without invalidating their manufacturer warranty.

It doesn’t end there. We understand that your car is important to your life for getting you around, so while your car is being serviced we can offer you a FREE courtesy car or FREE collection from your home or work.