Case studies 4-6

* Alarming disparities... * ...between MoT testing stations * System is not fit for purpose...

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What Car? Staff
25 August 2011

Case studies 4-6

Case study four
Chain garage, south-west London
Our car initially failed the test on the faulty rear registration plate bulb. After this was replaced, the car passed the test despite the poor condition of the parking brake and the faulty rear foglight. The advisories did include slight play in the offside track rod end ball joint, the windscreen chip and the deteriorating exhaust, while both rear brakes were said to be juddering slightly when tested.

Nonetheless, we werent expecting the car to pass because of how unsafe our RAC engineer thought the car was. Another thing that caught our eye was the cars emissions from this test station. The carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon levels registered at 0%, which isnt possible for a petrol-powered car.

This garage declined to comment on our findings.

Case study five
Independent garage, south-west London
Again, this garage initially failed our car because of a blown bulb (the rear foglight), then passed it when the bulb was replaced. However, the advisory notice had just the one item on it: the slight play on the offside track rod end joint. Although this advisory was subject to opinion, what we found shocking was that nothing was noted on the parking brake or the exhaust, despite the latter having a hole in the central box. The windscreen chip and broken clip werent listed as advisory points, either.

A spokesperson for this garage acknowledged the failure point on the foglight, and said that the offside track rod end ball joint had slight play, but not enough to fail our car. They also said that wheel lock was achieved on both rear wheels when the parking brake was tested on the rolling road, so the car automatically passed.

Case study six
Independent garage, south-east England
The parking brake efficiency was recorded well below requirements at 5%, with both rear brakes recording either little or no retardation. The deterioration of the exhaust was also listed as an advisory. However, these were the only points that were picked up on the car. We were surprised that the play in the offside track rod end joint was not picked up even as an advisory point.

While neither the windscreen chip nor broken brake pipe clip had been noted, both blown bulbs had been replaced at the previous two stations.

A source from the garage said that they were sorry if theyd made a mistake, and that it wasnt intentional and put it down to human error. They also added theyd take every step possible not to make the same errors.