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Get the fundamentals of your vehicle checked by professional mechanics with standard testing kits.

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Get you car oil and engine checked to meet the legal standards of environment safety and car performance.

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Get an in-depth check-up of your vehicle for any defective components, clogged filters, and warning lights.

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This is a 3 day mandatory course for prospective MOT Testers. It has been designed to develop the skills and knowledge necessary for those involved with the testing of vehicles in test classes III, IV, and VII. Existing MOT Testers may also benefit from this trainin3 Day course content
• Supporting legislation / regulations
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• Use of manual
• Standards and procedures

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The Testers manual is used by all Vehicle Testing stations in order that a standard is maintained, it will give you a precise guide to the principles involved in testing each item and all the criteria to enable you to make your own pass or fail decisions.

The Testers Manual

From Our Blog

Prepare your car for returning to the office

If your car has been sat in your garage, on the drive or out on the street for the past few months, now is the perfect time to give it a little TLC. With many businesses looking to return to the office in the near future, getting your car ready now can save you a lot of hassle and stress later down the line! Here are some of the things you’ll need to do to make sure your set of wheels is road ready.

Get an MOT or book in for a service

Your car may have been sat for a while or you might have missed its last service because of the pandemic, either way you may need to get it booked in for a quick health check. You may find that a lot of the garages in your local area have a number of different options available, from a full health screening to a quick once over. If a check does show you need repairs, there are ways to spread the cost that can help you manage your budget.

What checks can you do at home?

If you don’t want to take your car in for a service or MOT, there are a number of checks you can do at home to make sure you’re ready to hit the road again! Tyre pressure – many cars nowadays will have tyre pressure monitors built into their computer system. If yours hasn’t popped up but you want to check it, head to your local petrol station, check the number that indicates how high your tyres need to be, and use the machine to pump them up. It may only be marginal, but it’s important that your tyres are inflated to the correct level. Check tyre tread – if you’re planning on taking your car in for an MOT, don’t forget that if your tread is under 3mm, it will fail. If you don’t have a tread checker at home, the simplest way to test them is to put a 20 pence piece into the tyre tread. If you see the rim of the coin, your tyres will need changing. Other checks that are easy to do at home are:
  • Engine oil
  • Windscreen wipers
  • Windscreen for chips
  • Lights, indicators, hazards and beam lights

Make sure your finance and insurance are all up-to-date

Although there’s likely not a lot to do where your finance is concerned, make sure you check all your documentation is up to date. The same applies for your insurance, as you may have opted to register your car as SORN during the pandemic. If you’re looking to change companies, make sure you shop around on comparison sites to get the best possible deal!

Shock Absorbers explained

Shock absorbers are part of the suspension of a car. A shock absorber is designed to absorb or dampen the spring stress and rebound and suspend by turning cinematic energy into thermal energy, which all hydraulic shock absorbers operate (heat). The fluid passes into confined valve outlets and structures and thereby creates hydraulic resistance in the shock absorber. Shock absorbers perform two functions. Besides regulating spring and suspension growth, shock absorbers hold the tires in constant contact with the pavement. The base surface of your tyres is the sole component of your car that touches the street. Whenever there is a tyre-damage or reduced contact with the ground, the ability for driving, steering, and breakage gets badly impaired.

How do shock absorbers work?

The hydraulic systems use pressurized fluids. To deliver tremendous steam, the hydraulic press squash a little bit of fluid. The basic idea behind a hydraulic unit is accessible: at one point, the energy used is passed to another point by an incompressible fluid. The solvent is almost always a type of gasoline. Shock absorbers work together to provide a smooth ride. They are placed at the front and rear of the vehicle. For example, shock absorbers Bilstein B8 are designed for the front axle manufacturers might choose to go with something else. So, each case is different from the other.

Features of Bilstein shock absorbers.

Since the components and tolerances used in the production process are consistent, Bilstein is superior to other shocks. Due to which these shocks last more than twice compared to any other shock absorbers.

You will boost the dynamics with the aid of Bilstein absorbers. It will help in maintaining proper grip and improving lane-stability in day-to-day scenarios.

Front shock absorber replacement.

Place the vehicle on a level surface, then jack the forward portion, and afterward introduce the blocks to park the vehicle safely.

Break the nodes and bolts by using a hammer. Open the hood, locate the top shock bolt, use the hook and remove the nozzle, the washing machine, and the rubber. Start by lifting the car and sticking the jack in the air on both sides of the car. There is a retaining bolt on the bottom of the front shock absorbers that have to be loosened to remove the shock. The absorber is isolated from the A-frame lower portion. Ease the front shock absorbers as they are withdrawn. The last shock will be carried to the top of the box. Tighten the holding bolts to the same torque as the owner’s manual reads out.

Change the rear shock absorber.

The procedure starts in the same manner as the process above. The car is parked on a flat field, and the wheels are chocked or inserted into machinery. Following this, the wheels are detached. The lower shock bolt is then reached from underneath the car. For frontal shocks, the top boults are normally accessible under the hat. Some vehicles can reach rear shocks from below the vehicle. You swap the new ones for the old ones and keep up the measures.

Change the rear shock absorber.

The procedure starts in the same manner as the process above. The car is parked on a flat field, and the wheels are chocked or inserted into machinery. Following this, the wheels are detached. The lower shock bolt is then reached from underneath the car. For frontal shocks, the top boults are normally accessible under the hat. Some vehicles can reach rear shocks from below the vehicle. You swap the new ones for the old ones and keep up the measures.


What to do if you fail your car MOT?

In the UK, every vehicle over 3 years old requires a valid MOT certificate and it must be renewed once a year. It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure that your car has a valid MOT certificate and if you are unsure, you can check the MOT status of a vehicle online.

Prior to your MOT, there are a few ways in which you can prevent your car from failing an MOT test but what do you do if your car does fail? Can you still drive it? Is it safe to be on the roads?

How do you know if your car has failed an MOT?

After your MOT test you will receive a test result. After the MOT rule changes in 2018, your test result will fall into 1 of 3 categories, dangerous, major or minor. An MOT fail consists of either a dangerous or major test result.

  • A dangerous fault is a direct and immediate risk to road safety or has a serious impact on the environment and the vehicles should not be driven until the fault is repaired. Dangerous faults can be having no functioning brake lights, or a steering wheel so loose that it’s likely to become detached.
  • A major test result is a risk which may be a risk to road safety, and you could be able to still drive your car if it is still deemed roadworthy. However, you should get the fault fixed as soon as possible.

Your car has failed its MOT: what do you do next?

You will be provided with a ‘Refusal of an MOT test certificate’ (VT30) which will have your details and your cars details, the MOT test number and also the specific reasons why your car did not pass its MOT.

Booking a MOT retest

Your car is very important to you, so you want to get it back on the road as soon as possible! You can leave your car with the MOT centre if they also do repairs and book it in for a retest or if you want to take it to a different repair and test centre, you can take the car elsewhere but remember to take the VT30 certificate with you! If your car has a dangerous fault which may be costly to repair, you could consider getting a used car on finance instead!

If you want to take a retest, you will need to fix the issue on your refusal test certificate first. There are a few different retest options available.


  • Leave it to be fixed. You can get your vehicle fixed immediately and if the work is repaired within 10 working days then you can get a ‘partial retest’ which only test the repair which needed doing. This can save you time and money!
  • Get the vehicle fixed elsewhere. You can take your car to be repaired at a repair centre and then bring the car back to the MOT test centre within 1 working day for a free partial retest.
  • Fix it within 10 working days. You can take the car to be fixed elsewhere and then bring the car back within 10 working days. You can then get a partial retest, but you will have to pay for a retest, it is usually half of the original testing cost.
  • Bring the car back after 10 working days. If you bring your car back 10 days after the original MOT test with the vehicle fixed, then you will have to pay for a full MOT.

Can I appeal a failed MOT?

If your car has failed its MOT and you feel like it has been an unfair outcome, then you can choose to appeal it. You should discuss your MOT test result with the MOT centre first to fully understand the faults and why they failed your car, this can promote clear communication on both sides. You should then send an email or letter to the DVSA within 14 working days of your MOT test and they will discuss your appeal with you. If the DVSA recommend that you get a retest, you will need to pay the full amount yourself and if your appeal is successful then you will receive some or all of the MOT test fee.

5 Reasons You Should Service Your Car

Servicing your car. It’s something we’ve all been guilty of putting off before. But why, when there are only benefits to be gained and no real downsides?

Many people view getting their car serviced as a cost that they’d rather put off paying. But it’s important to remember that paying for your car to be serviced regularly is more than likely saving you from bigger unexpected costs further down the line. And you can’t put it off forever.

We could all do with a little reframing of our thinking when it comes to getting our cars serviced. So here are our top 5 reasons why you should stop putting it off and get your next service booked in.


This is the principal reason. Every time you drive your car when it’s overdue a service you are putting yourself and any loved ones you are driving around at risk. Being unconsciously neglectful of a vehicle results in far more accidents than you might think. So try to see servicing your car as you prioritising your health and safety, as well as that of others. And as we are so often told, you really can’t put a price on your health.

Retain your cars value

When it comes to buying a used car, one of the things people most often look for is a well-maintained vehicle, and a maintenance record to prove it. So a history of regular servicing can be an easy way of making your car an appealing option when the time comes to sell. By servicing your car, you’re helping the vehicle to retain its value and in-turn increasing the resale cost. See each servicing as more money in your pocket further down the line.

Save hidden costs

Whether old or new, the fact of the matter is that cars simply require regular servicing. Failing to do so could lead to bigger and costlier problems in the future that are easily preventable. The price of regular servicing helps to avoid unexpected higher costs when things are permitted to go wrong through neglect. Essentially, you are choosing between smaller regular payments or risking larger one-off costs that catch you by surprise. So it’s certainly advisable to check for any lurking, underlying issues your car may have and see them off before they become a bigger deal.

Environmentally Friendly

Vehicles that aren’t serviced regularly have an increased likelihood of emitting more harmful emissions. Whereas a well-maintained car is more likely to run efficiently, subsequently reducing fuel consumption. Not only does that lower your running costs, but reduces your negative output on the environment.

Keep your car longer

Finally, regular servicing means you’re far more likely to keep your car running in quality condition for longer. By keeping the car in good condition, you’ll be adding years onto its running life.

Fleet Maintenance: Keeping Your Trucks Roadworthy

If your business runs a fleet of vehicles then there is likely one individual responsible for maintaining the roadworthiness of them – perhaps that individual is you.

Not only is maintaining fleet quality important for increasing the usable lifespan of key business assets, but it also supports your duty of care by ensuring that employees and anyone else who may be nearby your vehicles is kept safe.

Doing this is so important that the UK government have outlined guidance for ensuring the ongoing roadworthiness of HGVs, including trucks. This guidance is invaluable to those responsible and becomes increasingly applicable as the age of the vehicle increases.

Daily Walkaround Checks

When operating large, potentially dangers machinery like a truck, it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure a general level of awareness and assessment on a use-by-use basis. Practically, this means that any individual using a truck in your fleet should undertake a walk around check before that vehicle is used.

It is recommended that the driver undertakes this check before a vehicle is used on the road each day.

Ongoing Driver Monitoring

Of course, ensuring road safety is not as simple as once a day walk-around of the vehicle. Drivers should also remain aware of the roadworthiness of their vehicle whilst it is in use. This means being alert to any indication of an issue such as unusual noises, vibrations, warning lights and anything else that seems out of the ordinary.

If any cause for concern appears, then the driver should pull over where safe and assess their vehicle. They may also need to make other necessary arrangements for support if required.

Defect Report

If the driver spots an issue with their vehicle, whether before or during use, then there needs to be a clear and simple process for them to follow.

The process followed may differ depending on the structure of the business. In all cases, the defect, symptom or safety concern must be recorded and reported to a suitably qualified and authorised individual. To limit confusion and to keep potentially unsafe vehicles off the road, the defect reporting process should highlight where further action should be taken.

Regular Safety Inspections

Besides walk-around inspections and consistent awareness by the driver, regular specialist safety checks should also be undertaken.

The UK government guidelines highlight the importance of an initial ‘first use’ inspection to ensure that the vehicle is roadworthy before it is introduced to your fleet. For example, if your business invested in a new fleet of hook loaders, a specialist should undertake a detailed inspection of each vehicle before they are deemed to be roadworthy and ready for use by your drivers.

In addition to this, the responsible individual should ensure that ongoing, consistent inspections are scheduled regularly. How often these are executed depends widely on the nature of the vehicle and how it is used, but should be aligned with a mileage or time milestones (or a combination of the two).

Any suitably qualified individual who is responsible for inspecting vehicles should either report to or be personally authorised to remove a vehicle for use if there is any cause for concern.

Keeping your fleet roadworthy is beneficial both from a financial and ethical point of view. By following the guidelines outlined by the UK government on fleet maintenance, you put yourself in the best position to spot any potential issues and remedy them before they become more serious.

What you need to know before booking your first MOT

Any vehicle that is more than three years old will be required by law to undertake a MOT (Ministry of Transport) test. This must be carried out annually to ensure the vehicle is roadworthy.

In this guide, we’ll briefly cover a number of frequently asked questions on what drivers need to know before booking a MOT test. Garages that are licensed to provide these tests must make sure that they have the relevant motor trade insurance policy in place, as they will be handling a customer’s car, van or motorbike etc. Here’s what you need to know as a driver.

At what point do I need a MOT test?

Your car will need its first MOT test once it becomes three years old, this is calculated from the date of registration. From this point onwards, it will need to be tested annually to make sure it’s still meeting the necessary standards.

Once your car passes this, you will receive a MOT test certificate. This will include the issue date and the expiry date, helping you remember when the next test is due. If your vehicle fails the necessary checks, you’re allowed to take the car away if the current certificate is still valid and if there are no dangerous problems listed within the updated report. If there are major problems, you will need to undergo repairs before being allowed to drive it.

Regardless of which garage you take it to, the car must meet the minimum roadworthiness standards at all times, failure to do this could result in a fine.

How do I know when my MOT is due?

Anyone who’s lost their most recent MOT certificate can use a tool on the GOV.UK website. Simply enter your vehicle make, model and registration number, and your current MOT and tax status will be shown. Additionally, you can also request a free MOT certificate to replace the one you have lost.

What if I’m passed the expiration date?

MOTs do not come with a grace period. If your certificate has expired, you will not be legally allowed to drive your car on a public road. Anyone not abiding by these laws may face prosecution. Furthermore, a vehicle cannot be taxed without a valid MOT certificate.

Can I drive without a MOT?

As mentioned previously, you will be unable to drive without the necessary certification. However, there is one exception to the rule – you will be able to drive the vehicle to its MOT test, as long as you have pre-booked this. Anyone that does own a vehicle and has no intention of driving it, must keep it off the road and declare it SORN.

Will I fail the test if my car has been recalled?

It is estimated that there are around 2.3 million vehicles in the UK that are subject to outstanding recall notices. There is no legal requirement on your part as an owner to fix a vehicle that has been recalled. However, it is illegal to knowingly sell a vehicle that has a recall notice attached to it.

Anyone who is concerned that their car has been subject to a recall should check the database on the GOV.UK site for further clarification on the matter.

How do I prepare my vehicle for the MOT test?

A number of vehicles will fail the test due to the smallest of issues. Fortunately, these can be prevented before the big day. Many minor problems that result in failure may surprise vehicle owners. It’s highly recommended to carry out your own MOT checklist around 14 days before the inspection is due to take place. This will help you ensure your car is in the best condition it can be in before the testing process begins. It’s also worth noting that should the vehicle fail the test; your original renewal date will have to be changed.

Here’s a checklist for drivers before the MOT:

  • Make sure your car is clean on both the inside and outside.
  • Clean your number plates as these must be readable to pass the test.
  • Check to see if the windscreen wipers are in good condition.
  • Check to see if all lights are functioning correctly. A friend or family member can help you check the outside lights.
  • Check tyre tread and tyre pressure.
  • Top up all fluid levels, this includes engine oil, brake fluid and screen wash.
  • Ensure that mirrors are secure and can be used safely.
  • Check that the horn is functioning.
  • The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) in the car’s V5C logbook must match that marked on the car’s bodywork.

To summarise, this guide should give you a brief understanding on the importance of MOTs as well as the steps you need to take as a driver to prepare your vehicle for the examination. Hopefully your car passes the test with flying colours.

Pandemic Bestsellers: SUVs and Pick up Trucks and Which are Best

Preparing for the apocalypse, what vehicle do you choose? Of course it’s the powerful, off road capable, multi purpose SUVs and Pick up Trucks. How else would you transport your five year supply of toilet paper? In all seriousness though, during the Coronavirus pandemic sales have gone up for SUVs and Pick up Trucks more than any other vehicle type.

Although the whole auto sales industry has dropped over the last month, the drop has not affected the sale of Trucks and SUVs as much. They’ve come out on top as clear favourites for this time period of less sales and more uncertainty of the future, and possibly longer term too.

Why the Increase?

Ok so it’s probably not just to fit more toilet paper in. They do of course fit more in than other vehicle types though. Let’s look at the possible reasons for their popularity:

  • Power for Practicality. Great for towing, transporting goods and work tools etc.
  • Off Road Experiences and tougher terrains. Great for driving along the beach or through the farm on a nice sunny day, or even a muddy one.
  • SUVs are great family vehicles especially when road tripping or moving house. Even to put your dog in the back along with the picnic basket and drinks to visit the beach.
  • Image matters. For some, these two are personality type vehicles. They can lift you (literally) above the other vehicles on the road. Good visibility too.
  • They’re also great for running a small business. Can be used for deliveries, storing cleaning or building supplies, and even car boot sales or a coffee truck type business.
  • You are simply able to do more, and fit more with these two types of vehicle.

Which SUV’s and Pick up Trucks are the Best to Buy Right Now?

Autocar recently released their top 10 lists for 2020, we will narrow it down to the top 5 for you. If you’re in the market for a new SUV or Pick Up Truck here are your best options.

These are the Top 5 SUVs Out Right Now.

In no particular order, as each has their merits. All are the 2020 or latest models.

Jaguar F-Pace

The F Pace is surprisingly practical, and fun to drive. It is a luxury compact SUV, and has more cabin and cargo space than most in it’s category.

Audi Q5

This is a well thought out all rounder. With a mix of practical features, quiet smooth driving and great handling this SUV is easily one of the best. It’s classy and has a nice finish and trim, with a mid range price tag. There’s even a hybrid version available.

Land Rover Discovery Sport

The Discovery Sport is easy to drive. It drives comfortably on the motorway and is very capable off road too. This Land Rover features a large panoramic sun roof which both the front and back seat passengers can enjoy.

Skoda Kodiaq

This is the cheapest option on the list but still offers great value and features for the price. The Kodiaq has low running costs for both the petrol and diesel models and features handsome styling inside and out.


Driver appeal is the biggest draw card for the BMW X3. It is lighter than previous models and more efficient. This BMW is armed with the latest gadgets to impress and amuse.

Top 5 Pick Up Trucks of 2020

VW Amarok

The Amarok is the company’s first purpose built pick up truck. The 8 speed auto with V6 engines is very enjoyable to drive. Boasting an SUV like interior with 5 seats, it also has a large load bed for practicality.

Toyota Hilux

This truck is a versatile all rounder. The Hilux is reliable, comfortable, great off road and able to tow up to 3,500kgs.

Mercedes X Class

The X Class features advanced suspension with plenty of power, and is excellent for towing. It is a quiet, comfortable truck that handles well.

Nissan Navara

You will be pleased with the nicely finished interior. This is sharper than your average pick up to drive, and offers class-leading fuel economy.

Ford Ranger

The Ranger is a hugely capable workhorse. Featuring smooth, powerful engines and massive load capacity, as well as being tough and dependable.

Or if you’re not sure which you prefer between an SUV or Pick Up Truck, there is the option of a combination. Check out the new Jeep Gladiator, with the features we love from both SUVs and Pick Up Trucks. Enough room for the family in the front and a decent sized cargo bed at the back, great for an even wider variety of tasks and needs than just one or the other. Whichever you choose, owning an SUV or Pick Up Truck will be a great investment.

MOT Tests

Essential Tips to Prevent Your Car from Failing MOT Tests

MOT (Ministry of Transport) is responsible for your road safety. They conduct annual tests for your vehicles to make sure that they are safe for the roads. The MOT tests involve checking of all the fundamentals of your car, which you require to run your car at its best state. The MOT tests service centres are independent of any car manufacturers, which makes them totally unbiased for any car or company. No matter what car or vehicle you have, you will need to clear the MOT tests once in a year to ensure the safety of your family as well as others.

A normal MOT test can last for 45 minutes. During this time, the mechanics check the important parts of your vehicle to make sure they fit the legal standards of MOT. If any component is found faulty, you vehicle will fail the test. You will either need to replace the parts then and there or pay an additional fine if the repair can take longer. Some of the important components include lights, oils, tyres, steering, suspension, and mirrors. The price for the tests differ in different regions, but the prices can add up if you car needs replacements and repairs.

It is suggested that you run a personal test on your car before you take it to an MOT centre. With a little knowledge about your car, you can have the advantage of clearing the MOT test with ease. You can also use free online tools like car check for full car history including car model information, road tax details, full MOT mileage history and reasons for MOT failures.

Here are some tips on what you can do to help you pass the test:

Check your car lights

The car lights, including your headlights, rear lights, sidelights, indicators, fog lights, hazard lights, and brake lights, need to work properly to clear the MOT test. It is one of the reasons why people fail the test as they forget to check their indicators and warning lights before the test. You can either do it yourself or take the help of a mechanic.

Check the tyres

The tyres need to have the right grip and tread to clear the tests. Failing the tyre test can result in a penalty for each tyre. Bad tyres are dangerous in poor weather conditions. If you feel the need for replacing them do it before the MOT test as it can cost you double the price once you fail the test.

Check the oils

Check the oils

Make sure that all the oil components of your car are clean and have sufficient fuel. Keep a full tank before you visit the MOT centre as the mechanic will need to rev up your car for a long time to complete the test. The safest way is to fill every fuel to the top before you give the test. Having a little knowledge about the car oils can benefit better.

Keep your car clean

The first impression of your car can alter the mood of the mechanic who will check your car. If it is too dusty and poorly maintained, the mechanic will preassume that your car is not safe and will start looking for faults. But if you keep cleaning your car interiors and exteriors before going for the test, the mechanic will be happier to check your car and provide a good review.


Things to Check

8 Things to Check Before Your Car’s MOT

Ministry of Transport(MOT) test is an annual safety check to ensure that your car fulfils the minimum criteria for road safety standards. During the MOT test, your car will get a complete checkup for all its components. Here are the fundamental things that you should check before taking your car for an MOT test.

Brake fluid

Open your car’s bonnet and access your master cylinder when the engine is cool. You will find the min and max markings on the cylinder, make sure that the liquid is between the two markings. You can fill the brake fluid yourself but make sure that you purchase the right one for your model.

Brake fluid


Check all your rearview mirrors before heading for the MOT test as it can put a red cross on the form. The mirror that provides a rearview along with the offside vehicles, a mirror that provides the view of nearside vehicles, and an interior mirror that provides the back view. Check for the cracks and any fades on the mirror that can affect your view.

Warning lights

Make sure all your car’s warning lights are working fine. If the MOT picks up any damaged warning lights, you will fail the test. You can visit a garage to get this checked before you move to the MOT garage. Take the help of a professional if you have not done it before.


Ensure that your car tyres have enough grip and tread. If you are still using old tyres on your car, the MOT will mark your car unsafe for the roads. You can face a fine and three penalty points for every tyre. You can check the tread of the type with a coin, and if you can see the coin after inserting, it is unsafe for driving.


Main lights

Make sure all your main front and rear lights are working fine. Check the positions of all the lamps and whether they are lost or out of their positions. Even though it is not necessary for the lamps to be in their place, it will help you clear your MOT as it shows you maintain event he smallest things in your car.


Another thing that can become a problem in the MOT test is your horn. Make sure that the horn is not too loud or too soft. Fix the switch if it does not work on all occasions.

Check all oils

MOT will also test your emission levels. Make sure that you have all your oils renewed recently. Make sure the filters in your engine work fine and does not clog due to old oil.

Get your vehicle cleaned

Get your vehicle cleaned

It is obvious to say that you should be maintaining your vehicle all year round. Keeping it clean and checking all the parts time to time is a part of maintaining your car’s performance. Keep up your car’s performance, especially when you are using it every day.

Major car brands are being accused of doing nothing to curtail keyless theft

When keyless entry to cars was introduced, everyone who has ever lost their key deep in their handbag or been carrying precarious stacks of packages breathed a sigh of relief. But it turns out that keyless entry might not be that secure.

Fourteen major car brands have been told they aren’t doing enough to stop keyless car theft. A German study showed that more than 200 new cars could be broken into by what is called a relay attack. This is when thieves trick a car into thinking the key is nearby.

33 car brands were asked what they had done to address this security issue. Disappointingly, only two brands have fixed this across their entire range. 12 had started taking steps on selected models, upgrading systems as they went. But astoundingly, 14 brands had done absolutely nothing.

How does car keyless entry work?

The key has a transmitter and a controller chip in it. A good controller chip uses a hopping/ rolling code which is about 40 bits long. This has the ability to have about 1 trillion different possible codes. This chip holds your special 40 bit code. When you push the button on the remote or are in proximity, that code is sent to the car from the transmitter using RFID radio waves, along with the function you want to do—open the doors, or the boot, etc.

If the car receiver gets the wrong code, it does nothing.

Both the receiver unit and the transmitter use the same random number generator. Once the transmitter has sent a 40 bit code, it chooses a new code, which is stores for next time. This happens at both ends, so the car’s unlock system is synchronised.

So how does a relay attack circumvent this?

A relay attack on car remotes uses radio amplifying equipment to increase the signal to the fob. So your key could be inside, hanging on the hook by the kitchen, the thief boosts the signal, the car thinks the key is close, and the car opens. And then they do the same thing again to start the engine.

There are few statistics available for this type of theft, but it seems to be increasing. A UK vehicle tracking company said that 80% of all the cars stolen in 2017 were taken without using the actual key.

Major security flaw that manufacturers are ignoring

Some car brands are implementing changes. The fixes they are introducing include:

  • Motion sensitive fobs. If not moved in a certain time frame, the fobs deactivate.
  • Fobs which can be turned off by the owner
  • Using ultra-wide-band signals which aren’t tricked by relay equipment.

Tesla and Mercedes-Benz have pushed their security changes throughout all their keyless models. This is a mix of a fix being applied to newer models or disabling the feature on older model cars.

The fourteen brands who have not implemented resolutions include:

  • Citroen
  • DS
  • Honda
  • Kia
  • Hyundai
  • Mazda
  • Lexus
  • Mitsubishi
  • Opel/ Vauxhall
  • Nissan
  • Peugeot
  • SsangYong
  • Renault
  • Suzuki

While these brands all say they take security seriously, how can they when this is a known way to break into cars and they are doing very little about it?

There are five brands that did not respond to the questions at all, including Alfa Romeo, Chevrolet and Jeep, Fiat and Infiniti.

What’s next for the car industry?

More car brands need to take responsibility, not only for re-designing keyless entry in their new model cars, but also offering the ability to retrofit or change the system on older model cars.

The motion sensor fob is a good short-term fix, but it does not solve the vulnerability altogether. It will still allow thieves to steal in a parking lot after you’ve parked and moved away, or in the 20 minutes after you’ve parked the car in the driveway.

More changes are needed to keep the industry, and keyless systems, safe.

What can you do?

If you have a keyless unlocking system for your car (or even your home), there are no guarantees that your car is safe. Having great car insurance and storing your car in a locked garage helps, but that’s not an option available for everyone. If you are looking to renew your insurance have a look at State NZ. They have a number of different policies and you can get an online quote.

A simple, quick, and cheap fix is to buy a Faraday pouch. These are available online, and they are a small pouch that blocks radio transmissions. While it seems counter-intuitive to have to put your keyless entry key into a pouch which requires you to remove it every time you want to drive your car, it may be the only way to keep your car safe from relay attacks.

It’s also worth making sure that your car insurance is up to date. If it needs renewing have a look at State.


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