We've all experienced that heart-stopping moment when your car has just finished its MOT, and the mechanic is walking towards you. A pass means you pay a few quid for the test and dance all the way home, but a fail can mean financial calamity if cash is already low.
Even minor repairs on a vehicle can quickly add up, and if you use your car to get to work, there's nothing you can do except shell out and hope the parts aren't costly.
A financial back-up plan
If you find yourself in a real financial emergency, instalment loans can be a lifeline, offering you the chance to pay for car repairs upfront, and then pay off your loan in instalments over a few months, so you can spread the cost and make it more affordable.
Of course, it's better not to need one and there are a few ways to keep the cost of running your car down (for example, walking to the shop instead of driving), allowing you to save more pennies for emergencies like failed MOTs when they do come along.
Choosing an MOT facility
Many garages have a vested interest in your car failing its MOT - because the chances are that you'll pay them to carry out repairs. To avoid this, try to get your car tested in a council-run MOT testing facility. It may well cost more upfront than chains or other local garages, but you're much more likely to pass as the facilities can't carry out repairs and so don't have a financial incentive for you to fail.
If there isn't one close to you, try to find somewhere else that only carries out MOTs - trust us, the extra £20 you'll pay for the test is a sound investment.
Investing in getting your car serviced regularly might also seem counter-intuitive when it comes to saving money, but especially if your car is more than ten years old, a service could pick up any issues early on, before they get worse (and more expensive to fix).
Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk