MOT test garages pass one in 10 cars that should fail

Car mechanic looking at electrics

Potentially dangerous defects are being missed by garages, according to analysis of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA’s) MOT Compliance Survey 2021-2022.

It has revealed that 10.1% of cars passed by MOT testers should have failed.

As part of the compliance survey, a team of DVSA expert vehicle examiners retested a randomly selected sample of 1,732 vehicles.

The aim of the annual study is to understand whether correct testing standards are being applied by the industry.

The DVSA disagreed with the test outcomes in 12.2% of cases, with 2.1% of failures deemed to be worthy of a pass certificate.

In nearly two-thirds of the vehicles retested (65.9%), the DVSA found at least one defect which the MOT test station had missed or incorrectly recorded.

Of the 1,142 vehicles with defects disagreed, more than half (51.6%) had three more defects missed or disagreed.

Tyres were the component area with the highest number of defects disagreed, at 734, followed by brakes (660) and suspension (642).

The 1,732 retests also resulted in 27 disciplinary actions recorded and 164 advisory warning letters sent to garages.

A DVSA spokesperson said: “Our MOT Compliance Survey is an essential tool helping us make our roads among the safest in Europe.

“The vast majority of MOT testers carry out testing to the highest standards. Our survey targets a random selection of vehicles and is designed to identify any problems with MOT testing so that we can put them right.

“We are delighted to see that standards have improved since the last report. This underlines the importance of DVSA taking action on the survey results and supporting testers with new digital tools, as well as demonstrating the hard work of MOT testers.”

In separate research, What Car? conducted a survey of 961 car owners, with 13% admitting they are aware of a local garage that is favourable with passing cars through their MOT.

What Car? editor Steve Huntingford said: “Our investigation highlights the differences between official vehicle roadworthiness standards and those upheld by some in the industry.

“With safety critical components such as tyres and brakes at the top of the list of defects missed there are potentially serious road safety concerns at play here.

“It might seem beneficial for owners to have their vehicle inspected by a favourable garage, but the test is there to provide a minimum standard of vehicle safety.”

The Government published proposals to change the MOT in January, including changing the date at which the first MOT for new light vehicles is required from three to four years and improving the monitoring of emissions to tackle pollution.

Ministers claim the changes are necessary because today’s vehicles are built better and are more resilient to wear and tear, particularly with electric vehicles (EVs) having fewer moving parts.

The Government says pushing the requirement for the first MOT back from three years to four would also save money.

1 thought on “MOT test garages pass one in 10 cars that should fail”

  1. Policing Through

    There are several points to look at here.

    Illegal front window tints are an ambiguous area, with some stations failing cars and others passing them. The front windows must allow at least 75% light penetration. Given that MoT stations are businesses, can the case be made for investing in yet more expensive kit?

    One pet peeve of mine is that brake fluid is never tested. It is hygroscopic and at just 3% contamination, drops the boiling point of Dot 4 down from around 250C to 120C. I have seen brake fluid that is black, suggesting widespread deterioration of cylinder seals. How long would it take to remove the reservoir cap and dip it?

    As for the argument for extending testing from three to four years and then every 2 years rather than annually, it is completely idiotic and technically incorrect.

    The argument about fewer moving parts in an EV is quite correct. The suggestion that an EV has fewer moving parts that need a safety inspection is totally false. They will drive shafts with CV joints, tyres,, brakes and suspension components such as springs, bushes and dampers. All of these wear and need periodic inspection exactly the same as an ICE vehicle. Given that there are plenty of high mileage vehicles that con cover 100,000 miles in three years, letting them run onto 134,000 miles over 4 years is plain stupid.

    To extend tests from 1 year to two is equally idiotic. What might be an advisory one year could have deteriorated to something much more serious over 2 years. Just because the EU has a 4 + 2 regime is no reason to change our 3 + 1 regime which has worked well for decades. The existing system has already identified that brakes and tyres are the top failures, so leaving them longer is utter madness.

    If the first test is at 4 years, if a vehicle is making a bit of a smell, it will take that much longer to pick up, which is hardly helping pollution. As for the claim that it will help reducing motoring costs, an MoT, even at full price, is less than the cost of a tank of fuel. Deal with fuel prices first, and that includes electricity at commercial charging points. They now charge more for a fill than fossil fuel with all of the attendant disadvantages of range, charge time, location of chargers, will they fit and do they work. As a result, demand for electric cars has nose dived.

    If going down the electric route, go hybrid which offers the best of both worlds, but these too will be outlawed in 2035. One small sensible voice comes from, of all people, Emnmanuel Macron, who has said that net zero is unattainable within the time frame. He is right.

    Meanwhile, the EU has allowed ICE production to continue because the German car industry has finally convinced the EU that the production and raw material capacity is simply not there.

    There is very little to commend the Windsor Accord but at least it will be possible to import a new car into Northern Ireland from the republic under the single market rules. I expect new car sales in NI to go through the roof in a few years.

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