MoT test shake-up

MoT test shake-up
13 Oct, 2011 12:46pm Jon Morgan

Radical shake-up will leave motorists liable for astronomical bills to repair electronic stability control systems from next year

Auto Express has learned from the Department for Transport that it will be required under EU law to test electronic stability control systems (ESC – also called ESP) in any car in which it is fitted, regardless of the date of manufacture or whether the system was an optional extra. And the cost to repair ESC can run into thousands of pounds.

Reader John Wilkinson, from Dunstable, Beds, was given a quote of £1,733 to fix the faulty system on his 2005 Vauxhall Astra. 

If John chose not to fix it, his car would be judged ‘unroadworthy’ next year – even though it would be considered fit for the road had he chosen not to tick the £399 ESC option when he first bought the car. 

And ESC isn’t the only technology that will be checked in MoT tests next year. Airbags, power steering, catalytic converters and factory-fitted tyre pressure monitoring systems will also be checked. You’ll find full details of the changes in next week’s Auto Express, released on 19 October 2011. 

What do you think of the MoT test shake-up? Is the DfT right to ensure the operation of safety technology like ESC is maintained? Should the new rules only apply to vehicles registered after 1 January 2012, so motorists like John aren’t punished for being ‘early adopters’? Or do you think the MoT test should be kept as it is? Tell us below…

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It should only be tested if it is std. Where do we start the petition?

Volkswagen Group have a "known issue" with ESC systems on certain vehicles including, but not limited to, petrol Golf and Golf Plus models. My aunt's car suffers from this problem and since being warned by her non-franchise servicing garage she has discovered that this is a common problem.

I approached the VW dealer in Finchley to look into the matter of manufacturer subsidy of repair of the known issue and verbally they were quite accommodating but when pushed to put anything in writing they squirmed. Eventually the offer was 15% discount on labour and 5% on parts for a job that was going to cost over £1400.

The clincher was that there would have been higher participation from VW if the vehicle had been serviced inside their dealer network. This flies in the face of EU law which permits owners to have vehicles serviced in non-franchise workshops with no loss of warranty rights. The workshop in this case is 50 yards from her front door and has been in operation for at least half a century so it is no fly-by-night set-up.

VW are just taking liberties. I'm not finished with this one yet.

Safety should come first but it will prove to be expensive if the new law is adopted and repairs have to be made outwith the manufacturers guarantee period.
ESC wasn't an option on my car it came as standard just like power steering, ABS, airbags and catalytic converters etc etc.
It's time there was an MoT for the roads we have to drive on as repairs are falling behind.
I expect the MoT fee will also increase in price just to rub salt into the wound.

How are these tests going to be carried out, will the average MOT test station have the correct diagnostic equipment to test every make and model of car? I agree with a shake up of the MOT but not at the cost of the motorist, in parts of Europe an MOT type test is only required every 2 years, so are we going to adopt that rule as well?

Soon enough every single car sold in britain will have electronic stability. I know from personal experience that these systems save lives and a car would be a lot less safe without it. I therefore think it is absolutely right that it should be part of the MOT. It may seem unfair that you have to maintain the system after the warranty period when a car without it isn't subject to this check but ultimately, you want YOUR car to be as safe as possible.

Technologies advance and make cars safer, checks and bills for repairs are a small price to pay.

This will surely just involve an obdII plug in test to read for fault codes, I can't see every test station getting a skid pan, and I assume the airbag test is visual, and not a live activation test!

In which case. I know that the software and plug I bought of the internet for next to no money, allows me to clear fault codes, and switch things on and off on my car....which is what I will do if Mr MOT man fails my 10 yr old car with all these gizmos fitted.

POINTLESS TEST, I'm sure the government will have spent money on a focus or steering group to make this decision rather than fix the pot holes In the road, that ruin my front upper wishbone bushes.....which by the way are an MOT fail!

Few garages are going to be bothered. If one garage fails it, just take it to another down the road and they probably won't even notice.

They'll "test" these things by looking for dash warning lights or messages from the computer. Simple as. If there's an ABS/ESC light showing, the car will fail.

They won't even plug in a scanner to read codes. It would be pointless to do so, as even if you did find a code, it's a real skill to make sense of half of them anyway!

There was also talk of looking for "illegal" engine tuning, whatever that means. I didn't think it was illegal to modify the software in your own car? Either way, I don't think it will happen, unless they install a rolling road in every MOT testing station!!

The changes to the mot which come in to force from January cover all obd systems on the car from engine management,esp,eps. at the moment a car could have a miriad of faults on it but still be road legal, this is no worse than making sure a smoky old diesel is taken of the road , people who dont take care of their cars are more likely not to have an MOT and therefore insurance. and its not just a case of looking at codes, a proper tech will check out the system before trying to blag a driver this will weed out the fred in the sheds who pass for the sake of passing as the dont understand the cars

So I assume if you drive a car like a Mercedes S-Class with all the safety features on then the MOT will cost thousands!! Are the government looking to make owning a thing of the past for the average person, only for the rich?! Come get real!
Please tell me which other countries in the world have the same level of testing to allow cars to be classed as fit for the road as the one's proposed in the article above

It's totally unworkable, just forget it.

ABS IS SUFFICIANT FROM EXPERIENCE MANY PEOPLE I KNOW WHO OWN VW'S MAINLY GOLF'S, JETTA'S & SKODA OCTAVIA'S HAVE HAD A BAD EXPERIENCE WITH THERE ESP & HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN ACCIDENT'S BECAUSE THE SYSTEM DID'NT LET THE DRIVER'S BRAKE SUFFICIANTLY, WHEN THE DRIVER'S APPLIED THE BRAKES THE BRAKE PEDAL PUSHED BACK AT THE DRIVER'S FOOT ON & OFF FRANTICLY WHICH IN THE EMERGANCY DID NOT LET THE DRIVER COME TO A SAFE & EMMEDIATE STOP, THE VEHICLES CONTINUED ON & WHERE INVOLVED IN ACCIDENTS & SOME INCCIDENTS THE STEERING WAS VIOLANTLY SHAKING & WAS HARD TO CONTROL THE VEHICLE BECAUSE OF THESE INCCIDENTS & MANY MORE NO DOUBT I AM NOT SUPPRISED THAT VOSA HAS DESIDED TO CHANGE THE WAY VEHICLES ARE M.O.T'D.

So basically they're going to turn the ignition on and look if the fault light comes on....

All the commenters commenting that VW Group has a defect with their stability systems - Stop being sheep and buying VW Group products then!

You pays your money, you makes your choice!

More concerned about the cat testing, know of people who have put a pipe in place here because a cat is just an expense at some point.

Will they be testing that EGRs haven't been blanked off?

Perhaps some sort of testing for servicing (eg. state of spark plugs / freshness of oil?) test could be carried out, to test the amount of cars that are out there that never get serviced month in, month out!

@SirWiggum2 oil is infact checked, but spark plugs? No. On an MOT you cannot use tools to remove items. Only to lever, or poke into. There is going to be further changes such as removal of catalytic converters if they were installed as standard, and HID lights without washers and self levellers.

I presume that will put up the MOT bill for everyone, so in effect, simple classic car divers will be subsidising unreliable hi-tec new cars.

When the MOT was set up, the principal was to get cars that were rusting, falling apart and not able to stop off the roads or fixed. Like everything else, the government don't seem to know when to stop particularly even when it will cost you more. The present MOT is more than enough to keep the roads safe.

Is it not the case that a long term goal for some eurocrats involved in transport decision making to remove cars more than 5yrs old from the road? Justifying there goal with the age old matra's of 'saftey'...'green' etc. No doubt they've got 'statistics' too. So how can we possibly contest their ideology??
These updates may well be difficult to implement today but the systems to 'check' WILL come to a garage near you eventually. If you drive an older car this WILL affect you. It WILL consign many cars to the scrap.......Oh sorry, vehicle dismantlers early. It WILL massively drive up motoring costs. The people with the 'ear' of the legislators (car manufacturers etc) I'm sure are all too happy about the difficulty in keeping yesterdays model on the road. It's just another example of 'euro-control' for all our benefit.
All I can say is come on Tony..err Gordon....err David...Think that's the one we're up to? Give us the chance to vote on the real question!

I wonder if Europe has any (credible) figures that show exactly how many lives have been saved by ESC? I've no doubt that it has the POTENTIAL to save lives, but I'm rather less sure it really actually DOES (in significant numbers) in real life. For thopse who feel that you can't put a price on safety and we should all be forced to buy the safest cars possible, I have to say that you also have to put a price on mobility for the less well-off. I wonder if the number of suicides contributed to through lack of funds is anywhere near the number of lives lost through not having ESC?

I'm amused that the government tempted many of us out of our old bangers with their scrappage scheme, knowing that this was round the corner and they'd soon get their incentive money back in VAT on the extortionate ESC (and other) repairs that the more modern cars would soon b lumbered with?

Of course, they'll also end up unwittingly incentivising the new ultra-simple ultra-cheap cars that will be coming in from India and China soon - I expect there's a growing number of motorists who just want good, old-fashioned, simple-to-maintain mobility with no whistles and bells. I guess we'd better legislate all THOSE off the roads PDQ with mandatory fitment of even MORE safety features for cars sold in the European market!

Still, on the positive side, the cost of repairs will come down if demand goes up. If VW (or any maker) has a known problem, there will be plenty of enterprising firms who wil lbe ready to sell aftermarket replacement parts at a fraction of the cost of genuine, once demand is high enough. After all, they only need to make a light go out...

A train of thought I subscribe to is that all these drivers' aids actually make us worse drivers in the long run. The more the car looks after one, the less one feels the need to drive defensively and pro-actively.

Like they say - ABS is for people who don't know how to brake properly - the same can be said of all these other devices. I say take the emphasis off making the cars safer, and rather focus on making better drivers, through driver's training. Nothing is fool-proof; let's have drivers out there who can deal with an emetgency situation without having to depend on the car to bail them out.

Auto Express,

I am disgusted by this, frankly, misleading and scaremongering report. What's wrong? Are reader numbers falling that much?

If there is a safety system on your car that is not working properly then it is your responsibility as a member of a civilised society to get it fixed.

Using a car on the public highway is a huge responsibility. I don't give a toss if you kill yourself, but think about your family and other road users.

Yes, it is harsh where ESC has been fitted as an extra, but get over it and pay for safety. If you can't afford it, catch a bus.

Oh, and Oilburner, just because you're too much of a numpty to understand fault codes don't assume everyone else is!

I don't wish to appear too cynical but isn't it just possible that car manufactureres could build in a limitted life span to such parts knowing that they will be picked up by the mot test forcing the ever harder pressed motorist to fork out more money for repairs than some could only afford to pay for a car itself. This will encourage a growth in forged or falsified mot certificates and increase the usage of cars without such safety features fitted thereby endangering other road users and pedestrians. prhaps a little more thought and research by those involved in the descision making wouldn't go amiss.

Luckily my old Ford Sierra doesn't have ESP or any other complicated electronic components, just a straight forward easy to maintain engine and mechanics. Theres plenty of life left in it and its more reliable than some of the more 'modern' cars my friends and colleagues own!

Have owned my trusty RWD Escort that l brought in 1981, it starts first time every time and gets me from A to B.

I have not had or been involved in a single accident in it why do l need EPS or car that parks itself & loads of expensive gadgets to go wrong that l don't need?

VOSA & AUTOEXPRESS OWN'D BY THE VAG I THINK MONEY IS POWER & VAG HAS LOTS OF BOTH !

Issue 1346
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