MoT blind spots

Results of MoT roadworthiness can vary according to which centre you take your car to according to research carried out by What Car? Magazine.

Mystery shoppers visited six garages in five days the MoT of which the RAC had failed. For each MoT it was in the same condition, and had faults including a track rod end ball joint, handbrake, exhaust and a broken brake pipe securing clip. There was also a chip in the windscreen as well as faults with the registration plate and the rear foglight bulbs.

In four of the six tests, the vehicle was failed, though not all the faults were spotted. In two of the tests, a pass was recorded and only the rear foglight bulbs were noticed. Alarming stuff if you think that all cars on the road should be roadworthy for the safety of us all.

'With so much disparity between different garages, we think the Government should scrap its plans for bi-annual MoT tests and focus instead on tightening the current system to ensure motorists stay safe,' said What Car? editor in chief, Chas Hallett.

'If the current MoT system is working properly, all of the test stations we visited should have come up with the same results for the same vehicle. Not all of the faults that our RAC engineer found were simple pass-or-fail points, but we have to be concerned when some of these areas were missed altogether. Motorists should be able to rely on the expertise of the tester.'

The system of MoTs is run by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), a Government agency. It countered What Car?'s assertion, responding: 'MoT testers must be experienced mechanics and must hold a relevant qualification. Parts of the MoT test do have to be subjective and therefore rely upon testers to exercise their engineering judgement. It is refreshing to see that, when tester discretion is included, there is a large degree of consistency between the garages in your survey.

'However, a number of your findings have caused VOSA some concern, which we will address with the garages involved.'

One party blames the system, the other the garages involved. Who's to say who's right? We don't know. What are your thoughts, is the MoT system old hat, should it be scrapped, or should garages allowed to carry out the tests be subject to more rigorous checks?

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