The government body that controls the MOT Test VOSA has recently announced that some important mandatory changes are to be made by early next year. The changes are largely to do with European standards however they will effect most car drivers when it comes to MOT test time.
Some of the changes are sensible additions and in my opinion are long overdue. For some cars with less responsible owners the MOT is unfortunately the only time the car will visit a garage and therefore a vital safety check. Some of the changes, however, are more controversial, I am not quite sure how we are supposed to check the operation of your speedometer when VOSA encourage us not to test drive the vehicle during an MOT!
It is hoped the new tests will reflect the electrical complexity and sophistication of modern safety car features. It’s worth noting that these changes will add a considerable amount of time to the MOT and no price increase is applied, garages just have to take that one on the chin.
However as a car owner it is the more obvious changes that may affect your pocket! If you’ve been ignoring a warning light on your dash, the chances are that will mean your car will fail the MOT test and therefore be illegal to drive on the road!
So what does that mean- Well initially you will have to have a diagnostic check carried out (cost at main dealer £90, cost at Motor Marque £55). This will show which, of many possible faults, could be causing the failure and the light to show. I am sure that’s making many wince already, however look at it this way, the MOT is a minimum safety test for all cars over 3 years old to pass. If your car has a warning light on it is there for a reason, there is a fault present that could affect the safety of you, your family or another innocent road user. I am sure no one wants to be at the hands of a car that is dangerous.
The trouble really begins once the diagnostic test has been carried out, which is when that little orange light can really start causing some major inconvenience! The story starts a long time ago when manufacturers first began to realise that if they programmed the computers on their cars in a way that only their machines could communicate with, the vehicles would have to be repaired by one of their own dealers with that code (A bit like trying to run windows on a Mac). At last they could virtually force people to always use the main dealer guaranteeing continued revenue at their own pricing level.
‘Monopoly’ I hear you cry! And so did the European Government! So came about ‘Block Exemption Regulation’ a law put in place to try to enforce manufacturers into allowing other independent garages to have access to this code as well as other information. Problem is that ruling runs out on 1st June 2013 and the manufacturers have on the whole ignored the freedom of information part of it, sighting security issues and generally making it very difficult for independent garages to get hold of certain codes and downloads for their vehicles.
So, the big picture is that your 5 year old car could fail the MOT on a warning light and try as they might an independent garage may not be able to repair it to get the light off. So you have an unusable vehicle unless you pay a visit to the main dealer for a software download or specialist repair, and guess what they’ll charge for that? Ouch!
Now that is not the norm and Motor Marque has invested thousands in technology so we can get you back on the road for a reasonable cost, but I really don’t believe the bods at VOSA have really thought about the potential cost implications for motorists. I do think a car with a warning light on should be repaired to make it safe, but I also believe that VOSA should be leaning on the manufacturers in order for them to play ball. We supposedly live in a free market and main agents should win your custom like we do, through excellent service at a fair price, not by bullying people into visiting them.
Some of the changes are listed below;