So say What Car? magazine whose 'secret shoppers' recently visited 6 garages up and down the country with a six year old Vauxhall Corsa that the RAC had inspected and rated as an MOT failure. What Car? report that there was a lot of disparity between the findings at each garage with various faults going un-noticed. The car even passed at two garages yet failed at the other four.
"With so much disparity between different garages, we think the Government should scrap its plans for bi-annual MOT tests, and focus instead on tightening up the current system to ensure motorists stay safe in their cars and on the roads," said What Car?'s editor in chief, Chas Hallett.
VOSA have responded to the research by commenting:
"MOT testers must be experienced mechanics and must hold a relevant qualification. Parts of the MOT test do have to be subjective and therefore rely upon testers to exercise their engineering judgement. It is refreshing to see that, when tester discretion is included, there is a large degree of consistency between garages in your survey. However, a number of your findings have caused VOSA some concern, which we will address with the garages involved."
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It is true that aspects of the MOT test are open to interpretation and it is important that we respect the knowledge and experience of the person that has carried out the test. However we would also welcome any move to ensure that procedures are followed correctly to enable a tester to make an informed decision. Many new pieces of equipment and tools have been introduced to the MOT test in recent years, and specification of equipment has improved, in order to aid the tester. It is important that this equipment is used, is used correctly, and has been correctly calibrated where necessary. The introduction of wheel play detectors (shaker plates) enable a more objective test to be carried out, the windscreen template tool would have helped the tester notice the chip mentioned in the full report, and the latest headlamp testers are more advanced so aiding effective headlamp beam alignment. We make no secret of the fact that we do not support the idea of extending the MOT test frequency so welcome What Car?'s comments.