July 4, 2023

5 Ways Your Classic Car Can Land You with a Fine

With summer in full swing, many enthusiasts will be dusting off their beloved classic cars and heading out on the road. There are a whole host of events taking place around the UK and, with the hot weather, an impromptu road trip is always on the cards.  

However, it's essential to be aware of the potential pitfalls that come with owning a classic car. It can, if you are not careful, expose you to various legal challenges that may lead to fines or penalties. 

The team at White’s Bodyworks have uncovered 5 misdemeanours that you may not be aware of. 

1. Bad Tyres

Due to the age of classic cars, their original tyres may not meet modern safety standards. These dictate that all car tyres should have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm. Moreover, older tyres are more prone to defects and wear, making them potentially unsafe. If you’re stopped by the traffic police and they see a problem it could lead to a hefty fine. 

  • Offence: Driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition.
  • Penalty: Up to £2,500 fine (per tyre) + 3 penalty points.

2. Faulty Components

Most classic cars are cherished by their owners and well-maintained. But they are more susceptible to wear and tear due to their age than modern vehicles. Little problems can remain hidden and develop into something major later on. Neglecting to repair faulty components, however, can result in a breach of the Highway Code.

3. Idling Your Engine at Car Shows

This is one that surprised a few people when we realised there was such a rule. Allowing your engine to run while stationary can incur fines of up to £80. According to the Highway Code: Must not leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running or leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while the vehicle is stationary on a public road.

Car shows are a popular pastime for classic car owners and enthusiasts. However, it's crucial to remember to turn off the engine when your car is stationary. Even if you're standing beside the vehicle, leaving the engine running can still lead to a fine.

  • Offence: Leaving the engine running while stationary. 
  • Penalty: £20 to £80 fine.

4. Modified Exhaust Noise

Some petrolheads and boy racers like to ramp up the noise on their exhaust so that the engine sounds louder. It’s something to do with the Fast and Furious franchise maybe but you can often hear them at shows revving their engines. Modifying your exhaust this way is actually against the law. 

  • Offence: Exceeding the maximum noise level for the vehicle type 
  • Penalty: £50 fixed penalty notice

Lack of Seatbelts for Children

Several classic car models lack seat belts as standard equipment. While it is not mandatory for adults to wear seatbelts in such vehicles, it is illegal to carry children under three years old without appropriate restraints. Moreover, children above the age of three must occupy the back seats.

Even if you are not aware of the law, however, it pays for health and safety reasons to have seatbelts retrofitted to your vehicle, even if it’s not original. 

  • Offence: Violating seat belt laws 
  • Penalty: Up to £500 fine

It's important to note that classic car owners are often exempt from yearly MOTs and road tax payments. Vehicles built or first registered over 40 years ago, with no significant modifications made in the past 30 years, are eligible for these exemptions. However, it remains crucial to obtain comprehensive classic car insurance coverage.

First of all, just because you don’t need an MOT and service doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have one. While many classic car owners do a major part of the work on their vehicles themselves, it does pay to give your vehicle over to a classic car specialist at least once a year. 

An experienced garage can often spot potential future problems as well as current ones which could save you a lot of money in the long run when it comes to repairs and updates. 

White’s Bodyworks

That’s where our expert team comes in handy. There’s not much we don’t know about classic cars of all types. Booking your vehicle in for a service and MOT check, even if you are not legally obliged to, makes sense. We can ensure that everything is working perfectly and potentially spot issues that might be a problem further down the line, helping you to keep your car on the road and reduce costs at the same time. 

It's easy to book an inspection with our team and it should give you complete peace of mind. Want to find out more? Contact White’s Bodyworks today. 

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