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Fair Wear and Tear in a Car Explained

Car fair wear and tear is unavoidable, but understanding it is the best way to manage it and prevent more serious issues from arising in the future. It happens as a direct result of your vehicle ferrying you around on a daily basis as much as you use it. As a result of all of the hard work, the moving parts and the distance covered, things start to degrade over time. It’s completely natural, expected, and manageable in the right hands. The issue many people have, however, is not actually understanding the very essence of what cars fair wear and tear really is, and the implications that it can have on your vehicle’s health. That goes for both the long and the short term too.

To help solve this issue, the best thing to do is to actively learn all there is to know about the subject of car wear and tear as a whole. Understanding every aspect of it and what it really means helps you gain a much better undertsanding of how to minimise it’s impact. It all goes a long way into saving you time, money, and resale value too.

What car wear and tear is

First things first; what is fair wear and tear when it comes to a car? Before we begin, we’ll be the first to say that it’s subjective. It can be different for everyone. From a general point of view, it defines any of the most common issues that crop up with general use of a car. They’re the things that come up most commonly in an MOT too for that matter.

In its most basic form, cars fair wear and tear is essentially the degradation or gradual damage that occurs as a result of use and time. It all depends on how you are using the parts involved and to what extent.

What are the main culprits?

Fair wear and tear in a car is usually the biggest problem for perishable materials and moving parts. That covers the essentials more than anything else, such as the tyres, brakes, suspension, belt, and just about every other part of your car as well in some way or another. They’re responsible for most noises your vehicle will begin to make over time as well.

Anything that moves is being slowly worn away in some shape or form. The more friction that moving part is facing is what usually means more wear and tear. For tyres moving across a rough road surface, for example, life is much harder than a correctly lubricated engine piston.

How can you stop car wear and tear?

So, if fair wear and tear is going to be detrimental to the health of your car and what it is worth to resell, what can you do to stop it from happening? Sadly, like a lot of things in life, you simply can’t. The more that you use the car the more it will happen. That doesn’t mean that not using the car as much will stop it either though.

Two of the biggest factors in fair wear and tear in your car as we mentioned are time and usage. Mileage is a good indicator of the wear and tear in your car, but too little mileage can be a bad thing too (see here). Time, on the other hand, is just another thing none of us can change. This is more applicable to rubber-like on your tyres as they degrade no matter what. As well as that though, you can be affected by too little use over time resulting in parts seizing. Both are just as bad (so remember to learn how to look after a standing car as well).

What should you do about it?

All of this information makes it sound a lot like the world is stacked against you here, and the odds are not in your favour. That doesn’t mean you are completely helpless though either. There are several things that you can do to make sure that you’re minimising the damage that simple use of the car causes. All of them are great habits to get into and can make your life much easier in the long term.


The biggest factor and one of the most recommended things that you can do to help the wear and tear your car deals with is servicing it as you are advised to do. It can be a little pricey, but it really can have a huge impact on what happens to your car, in the long and in the short term. Half and full services are both a good idea when you need them to be done. Don’t neglect them, but don’t put all of your hope in them either. They’re good for maintenance but they don’t work miracles and they can cost a lot.


Next up on the list is equipping your car with the tools it needs to keep on going. Make sure that you are giving your car the right stuff for the job. Tyres and fuel are great examples, as they’re fundamentals to every journey, and some of the quickest things to expire for obvious reasons. Add premium fuel every once in a while, and even try seasonal tyres. Everything affects everything, and your car is a finely tuned instrument you need to know about.

Proper Use

The final point is to simply drive nicely. We don’t mean drive like an instructor with flawless precision, but don’t treat your car like a toy. Make sure you are changing gear when you need to, using appropriate speeds, and even using it for proper journeys. It’s not a rare thing to hear about misused cars like 4x4s for city traffic or a tiny car for cross country driving. They all have a massive impact on your vehicle.

No matter what you do, just think ahead and give your car the attention that it needs to work as you want it too. They are complex machines and they need to be respected. If you’re unsure what to do, get advice from a professional.

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