Why has my car been given lots of MOT advisory notices?

After two years of clean MOT passes, a reader's Mazda MX-5 has been given 10 advisory notices by a garage - are they being over zealous?...

MOT garage sign

I have an issue with an MOT that was carried out on my car by a Mazda dealership last week. The car is a six-year-old Mazda MX-5, which  I have owned from new and has completed just 24,893 miles. It's only done 2500 miles in the last 12 months and it is mostly a fair-weather car and garaged when not in use.

I have had the car serviced fairly regularly at local independent garages and was tempted to go back to the main dealer for a major service with an email discount offer.  I booked the service and asked them to MOT the car while it was with them.

The service was fine, but I'm not happy with the fact that 10 advisory notices were put on the MOT certificate. Last year, the car passed with no advisories, so it seems strange that after so little use it should have so many this year.  

According to the MOT tester, the front brake pads are down to 30%, all four discs are pitted or scored but not seriously weakened and all four shock absorbers have slight corrosion on the casings.

Mazda MX-5 2.0 Sport Nav+

I'm not surprised about the brake pads and accept that they will need replacing fairly soon. However, I find it odd that the other issues weren't noticed before. 

I am concerned that should I wish to sell my car this MOT result would make doing so extremely difficult and would have a detrimental effect on the car's value.

Could this be a case of a main dealer carrying out MOT tests to a different, higher standard than an independent garage or a main dealer trying to drum up business?

Colin Fox

What Car? says...

It's very difficult for us to say if the Mazda dealership is being overly cautious about the advisory notices without having seen your car.

However, advisory notices should only be given for components that are near to, but have not yet reached the point of, test failure. They are sometimes used for parts that are slightly corroded, although the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) advises testers against doing this.

Professional inspections

If the tester examining your car has been overzealous in including some items on the advisory list, these items might be removed from the MOT certificate when the car is retested next year. 

We wouldn't be overly concerned about the advisory notices affecting the value of the car, though. According to the free What Car? valuation tool it's worth around £8500 in a private sale and £9600 from a dealership. The fact that it may need a few hundred pounds worth of work at some point in the future won't have a hugely detrimental effect on those valuations. 

If you're worried about the advisory notices, it might be worth you getting a second opinion on them. If there is a local garage you trust you could take the car to and ask them to stick it up on ramps and have a look at the shock absorbers and rear axle to see how corroded they are. 

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