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Vicki Butler-Henderson: spring clean your car to keep fines at bay

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Tradition dictates that spring is the time for us to get on our hands and knees, reach into the back of those most-forgotten kitchen cupboards, and get cleaning.

This annual sprucing should extend to our cars, too, because if we don’t then we could face around £15,000 in fines. What?!

Having a spotless car has never been high on my list of motoring must-haves. Growing up on a farm, it was almost impossible to turn a wheel without encountering a piece of clinging mud.

I do like a clean windscreen, though, and pride myself in not even letting the washer fluid get so low it triggers the warning light.

There is no law about having a dirty car – but there is one when it comes to number plates.

Number plate failure could result in fines

These need to be clean enough for the police to read them and identify each car, and they also need to be clear enough to be recognised by the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, like those dotted along the M8.

Failure to have a clearly visible registration plate can lead to a £1,000 fine, and an on-the-spot one of £100.

And so, whilst you’re doing that spring cleaning to your car’s number plates, you could save yourself another possible £10,000 in potential fines by ensuring your tyres have enough air and tread as well.

The correct pressure for your car is written in the handbook, or on the sill of the driver’s door, or inside the fuel filler cap.

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And the legal tread depth for all car tyres is 1.6mm – you can test this by putting a 20p piece into the tyre, and if the outer band of the coin is still visible, then you’ll need a new tyre.

If you’re caught with one tyre failing both pressure and tread limits then you could be facing a fine of £2,500. And if all four fail well, that’s a lot of cash – and 12 points on your licence.

Another word of caution here but more for when you’re driving – if you’re the sort who’s drawn like magnet to splashing through big puddles at the side of the road… pick your puddles wisely.

Spraying a pedestrian could cost you £100 in fines – and this can escalate to £5,000 if the matter is taken to court.

New laws on mobile phone use while driving to come into force

All this – and with the cost of fuel pretty pricey right now – it’s tempting to put our cars into hibernation until brighter times.

But where’s the fun in that…? Happy cleaning!

YouTube: The CAR Girl Vicki Butler-Henderson
Twitter: @vb_h
Instagram: vickibutlerhenderson

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