In January last year, the UK government announced it was creating a consultation which could possibly extend the time allowed before the first MOT of a vehicle’s life from three years to four then annually thereafter – known as the 4-1-1 system.
At the time, Trust My Garage wrote extensively on why the 4-1-1 system was dangerous in a blog post, viewable here.
We are now happy to announce that as of January 18th 2018, the outcome of the consultation – based upon public and automotive industry opinion – was that the government has cancelled any plans to extend the time before a vehicle’s first MOT.
Upon the announcement of the consultation last year, Trust My Garage stated:
“If a vehicle has a defect by its third year of use, then extending the MOT for a further year will also have the effect of increasing the number of defects the vehicle carries, because defects associated with one component due to excessive wear could then snowball and cause defects with the related components in the vehicle. Not only is this dangerous for motorists, but it could also be costly as minor repairs that could be fixed in the third year could become major defects by the fourth.”
According to the consultation’s respondents, much of the public agreed. Most respondents were against the proposals on safety grounds, arguing that the savings to motorists were outweighed by the risk to road users and the test often highlights upcoming issues affecting the vehicle. A public survey for the Department for Transport by Populus also showed fewer than half of people were in favour of the change.
Jesse Norman, Roads Minister, said: “Although modern cars are better built and safer than when the MOT test was last changed 50 years ago, there has been a clear public concern that any further changes don’t put people’s lives at risk. We are looking at further research to ensure the MOT test evolves with the demands of modern motoring.”
Under the current system, 27.48 million vehicles took the MOT test in 2015 and 4 out of 10 of them were found to be unroadworthy when examined. (DVSA, 2015) Along with this, more than 770,000 vehicles were discovered to have a dangerous defect in 2013/14, equating to nearly 2,200 every day. The problems ranged from brakes, steering, tyres, suspension, seatbelts, lights and signalling equipment. (DfT, ‘MOT Scheme Evidence base’, 2008)
To find out more about why changes to an MOT’s frequency would be a danger to both vehicles and road users, take a look at the ProMOTe website here.
If your vehicle is due for an MOT or you feel it needs a bit of maintenance, why not visit the Trust My Garage website and find a trusted independent garage in your area? Click here to use our handy Find a Garage map to find your nearest member. If you aren’t when your vehicle’s MOT is due, The DVSA have created a new MOT Reminder Service. To arrange your e-mail reminder, click here.
In recent years there has been more evidence of consumers bringing parts they’ve purchased themselves to a garage, and asking the garage to fit them. This shake-up of garage traditions may seem like a good idea, but is it actually helpful for motorists?
What are consumer-bought parts?
A consumer-bought part is any part purchased directly from a supplier by a consumer instead of by a garage. In the case of most repairs, if a replacement part is needed for a vehicle the garage will order and fit it as part of their service. However, it is now much easier for a customer to make a diagnosis of the issue with their vehicle, purchase a part, and then take it to a garage and ask them to fit it for only the cost of labour time.
Why have consumer-bought parts become popular recently?
Over the past few years the massive rise in online shopping has meant that more and more ‘direct supply’ companies have been set up for vehicle parts. These kinds of companies mean that a consumer can buy a part directly for their vehicle, instead of going through a garage and potentially paying a small charge for acquiring the part. This method essentially ‘cuts out the middle man’.
Is it a good idea?
Buying parts yourself might seem like a good idea on paper. However, if there is an issue with the part in the future what consumer rights do you have? Unlike parts bought and fitted directly by a garage, there may be warranty issues about the part installation, leaving you with a once again broken vehicle and no way to claim your money back. It also could be the case that the part is of inferior quality if not purchased from a proper supplier, which could in turn do even more damage to your car. In the worst cases, it may even be a counterfeit part. Garages will use suppliers they trust to provide them with quality parts in order to ensure the best possible work for their customers – that is, after all, how they get business!
Do garages mind fitting consumer-bought parts?
It may be that if you take a part to a garage and ask them to fit it, they say no. While this might seem as if they’re turning away business for no reason it can often be down to the issues stated above. If a garage fits a part you’ve purchased at your request, and then the part breaks, where does the blame lie? The legal position is very clear, the garage is responsible for the work they do but any issues with the part will be your problem. However modern cars are complex and disputes regularly arise. Many consumers fault the garage’s fitting, but it could be the case of the part just not being up to the job. Remember, the main priority for a technician is to ensure your vehicle is safe and fit to drive – so if the part seems questionable, it’s acceptable for them to decline to fit the part.
Overall, we at Trust My Garage think that while consumer-bought parts may seem like a good idea it’s always best to let a garage do its job and make sure your vehicle is safe and working correctly. After all, would you take a steak into a restaurant and expect them to cook it for you? If you need to get your car repaired, MOT’ed, serviced or even just checked over, you can you use our handy Find a Garage map to locate a reputable, Chartered Trading Standards (CTSI) approved independent garage near you – and remember, happy motoring!
We’re always chatting to our members about what’s going on in their area and thought we would share some of their quirky anecdotes with you as well. We will be inviting garages to make guest posts on our blog so you can really start to relate with the Trust My Garage community, reinforcing the message of ‘trust’ from all of our members.
By Chris Gurney, owner of Quality Car Service
A customer recently said to me “Mechanics, it’s only nuts and bolts”, I politely smiled and quickly moved on however it left me thinking “If only!”. I partly agree, the routine day-to-day servicing is relatively straight forward, although every make and model of car has its challenges; such as pollen filters that require half the dashboard to be removed, service lights that require a £3,000 service reset tool to turn the light off the dashboard (we’ve purchased them all), electronic handbrake controls that require programming with laptops, and firmware updates to the various ECU’s around the car (computer’s to you and me) and so on.
Statement retracted, there is nothing routine to the day-to-day servicing of a car, and it’s definitely not only nuts and bolts!
… One of my goals in 2012 was to ensure our garage was totally up-to-date with diagnostic equipment and tools to ensure we could service and repair all makes and models – job done!
This year (2013) we made a commitment to focus on training, we set a goal to give our technicians the opportunity to get right up-to-speed on all the latest technology being fitted to the modern car such as:
- DPF’s (very expensive precious metal filters within the exhaust pipe reaching temperatures of over 700 degrees, designed to catch soot to reduce our carbon foot print)
- EGR Valves (recycling the exhaust fumes back into the engine, again to help reduce the carbon footprint)
- Variable Geometry Turbo chargers (a device used to give an engine more power and increased fuel efficiency)
…and on it goes. So far this year we have covered five courses, we have one technician who has just completed his NVQ 2 (3 year course), we have three staff members completing NVQ 3 (additional 1 year training) and we are now looking into future car technology, these are cars being designed and built to cover Euro 6 Emissions standards.
To summarise, gone are the days of servicing a car yourself, gone are the days of checking your oil on a dipstick – dipsticks are a thing of the past, (electronic oil level sensor more like), gone are the days of entrusting the road side mechanic to check your car and gone are the days of servicing a car without a laptop with the correct software and operated by a fully trained and qualified technician!
Next time I’m told “It’s only nuts and bolts”, well we’ll see!!
Quality Car Service is a Trust My Garage member based in Milton Keynes and offers MOTs, Servicing, and diagnostics. The garage has been running for 5 years and carry out thousands of MOT’s a year. They pride themselves on the high quality services they provide their customers with and are always striving to improve their processes.