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Monday, 25 February 2013 17:27

Am I better off taking my car to a council-run Testing Station?

MOT Information for Motorists

Council-Run MOT Testing Stations

Many money-saving websites suggest that motorists could save money by going to Local Council operated Testing Stations because they don't do MOT repairs, and so have no incentive to fail cars. This clearly suggests that 'normal' Testing Stations do fail cars to get the work. Is that true? And what's really happening here? First, let's have a look at it from the motorists' point of view.

Less likely to fail...?

  • Council-run Testing Stations  do not repair vehicles which fail
  • This means that they are unlikely to fail a vehicle just to ''drum up' repair work (so the argument goes)
  • If the vehicle does fail at a council run Test Station, the owner must then take the vehicle away, have it repaired and bring it back for a re-Test, and probably pay another Test fee
  • VOSA statistics indicate that normal Testing Stations are more likely to pass a vehicle which should fail than fail a vehicle which should have passed
  •  Normal Test Stations are more likely to offer a discount, and will sometimes offer 'failures free' or 're-tests free'

The underlying basis of the suggestion that motorists will save money by going to 'MOT only' Testing Stations is that they will have a lower MOT failure rate than MOT/repair businesses. Without offering any evidence, it is assumed that most Testing Station owners corruptly fail cars that should pass the MOT, just to get the income from repair work which isn't needed.

But looking at the evidence, it simply isn't true. In all 'MOT compliance' surveys carried out by VOSA, they find that more MOT Testers pass cars that should fail than the other way around. For 2010/11, the last year for which accurate data has been published by VOSA, five times as many cars were found to have passed that should have failed the MOT than the other way around. It is a complete myth that MOT businesses fail cars to get more repair work.

That these people writing up 'money saving' websites make the assumption, (without, it seems, doing their homework to discover the truth) is as much an insight into how they think; a good job they're not running Testing Stations, clearly they would indeed consider failing cars to get more work!

But why do so many Testers pass cars that should fail? If you think about it, it makes sense, given VOSA's 'Pass and Advise' policy, which is where the MOT authorities tell MOT Testers that when in doubt as to a pass/fail decision, issue a pass and advise of the potential defect, in writing.

So, whatever people may believe, from VOSA's own data, it is incontrovertible, that, on the available evidence there's no difference as to whether motorists take their vehicles to the local Council for MOT, or to their local MOT/repair business, the pass/fail rate is likely to be exactly the same...


Last modified on Sunday, 20 October 2013 13:22
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UK MOT Testing Manuals Online


If you need more detailed information about the UK MOT Test, such as the method of inspection and reasons for failure, click on the relevant links below.

 UK MOT Testing Guide

If you want to become a Tester or to set up a Testing Station, what you need to do will be found in the Guide. It will also tell you how you will be expected to run the Testing Station and as a Tester what will happen if you do not carry out an MOT Test correctly – a disciplinary code.

UK Motorcycle Inspection Manual

The MOT examination for motorcycles is considerably more basic than that for cars and light commercial vehicles. This Manual covers the items checked, method of inspection and reasons for rejection.

UK Car and Light Commercial Vehicle Inspection Manual

This Manual covers the items checked, method of inspection and reasons for rejection for MOT Testing cars and light commercial vehicles.

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