Many of the recent changes to the MOT test for cars and light vans relate to electronic systems. If you have a light on your dash it could now be that your car will fail its MOT test.
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 £42). This will show which, of many possible faults, could be causing the failure and therefore the light to show. I am sure that’s making you 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 can begin 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 European law! So came about ‘Block Exemption Regulation’ a law put in place to try to enforce manufacturers into allowing independent garages to have access to this code as well as other information. The manufacturers and franchised dealers 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 and made 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.