Once a year each and every London Taxi has to be presented for its yearly inspection to be licensed by TfL to ply for hire on London’s streets. If you rent a Taxi then the yearly Overhaul will not be something that you have to worry about but if you own your own Taxi then it can be a stressful time of year, but it need not be! There are things that you can do yourself to reduce both the stress levels and the associated cost of preparing your Taxi for its inspection.
About 1 week before your Taxi is due to be presented check all of your bulbs, both exterior and interior, you would not believe how many cabs fail the test for lights not working, get your meter changed and make sure you obtain a new Meter Certificate. Get you Taxi chassis washed and before either giving it to your garage or presenting it at SGS makes sure that you get cleaned inside and out.
One thing that a lot of taxis fail the test on is the emissions test, this is due to the fact that taxis spend most of their life poodling around London and sitting in traffic, they get a build up of soot in the exhaust which when the cab is smoke tested gets thrown out due to the pressure being forced though the exhaust when the accelerator is depressed to full throttle this means that the smoke machine gives a high reading rendering the test failed, this problem is prevalent with drivers who live close to London as their vehicles never really get a good run along the motorway to blast all the crap out of the exhaust. So about 3 days before presenting your cab it is always a good idea to add some sort of injector cleaner or diesel additive to the take and then take the cab on a good run to clear the exhaust.
There are a lot of other things that you can do throughout the year to reduce the cost at overhaul time, the main thing is to get your vehicle serviced regularly and don’t keep putting things off that need doing until overhaul time, if something needs replacing then get it done as and when the vehicle needs it as leaving something like a worn balljoint can lead onto other failures such as wishbone bushes, track rod ends and premature tyre wear. Preventative maintenance is always better than waiting until overhaul time when costs can spiral out of control. Basically if you look after your Taxi then it will look after you.