Testing stations passing one in seven vehicles that should fail MOT, investigation finds

Survey of motorists reveals 11.9 per cent know of a local garage with a ‘reputation for being lenient’ on vehicle testing

Nearly one in seven vehicles that passed their MOT last year should have failed as garages failed to uphold government testing standards, according to an exclusive investigation by What Car?.

Analysis of thenDVSA’s MOT Compliance Survey (2019 – 2020) found 13.58 per cent of vehicles that passed their MOT should have failed, with MOT testers missing potentially dangerous defects on vehicles.

The figure equates to more than 2.9 million vehicles on UK roads that should have had an MOT fail, according to the latest available MOT statistics.

For the 2019 – 2020 MOT Compliance Survey, a team of DVSA expert vehicle examiners retested a randomly selected sample of 1671 vehicles, which had undergone an MOT test at test stations across the UK.

The aim of the study is to understand whether correct testing standards are being applied by the industry, and the DVSA disagreed with the test outcomes in 16.82 per cent of cases, with 3.23 per cent of failures deemed to be worthy of a pass certificate.

In 70.1 per cent of cases, the DVSA found at least one defect which the MOT test station missed or had incorrectly recorded, while the DVSA experts disagreed with three or more defects in 56.5 per cent of vehicles.

Safety critical features such as the brakes and suspension were subject to the biggest discrepancy between the DVSA and MOT testers.

Brakes had the highest number of misdiagnosed defects, at 17.74 per cent, followed by the suspension at 14.56 per cent, tyres at 13.22 per cent, and lights, reflectors and electrical equipment at 11.51 per cent.

Following its investigation, the DVSA issued 24 disciplinary action recordings and 179 advisory warning letters to the vehicle test sites it visited.

Between them, they were responsible for 12.1 per cent of all vehicles re-tested by the government agency.

What Car? surveyed 1425 used car buyers as part of its investigation, with 11.9 per cent stating they knew of a local garage that has a reputation for passing cars for their MOT.

For 76.8 per cent of buyers, a prospective car’s MOT record was either ‘very important’ or ‘important’ when deciding on whether to buy.

Steve Huntingford, editor, What Car?, said: “Our investigation has shown the significant differences between the DVSA’s own testing standards and those upheld by some in the industry.

“This poses a serious concern, with potentially hazardous vehicles being allowed to remain on the road, putting their drivers and other road users at risk.

“It also complicates matters for used buyers who often rely on a vehicle’s MOT history as an indicator for a car’s safety and reliability.”

Chris Price, DVSA’s Head of MOT Policy, said: “We carry out the MOT Compliance Survey to maintain MOT standards.

“The survey targets a random selection of vehicles and is designed to identify problems with MOT testing in order that we can put them right.

“The public can play their part in maintaining high MOT standards by reporting any concerns to us on GOV.UK.”

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Garage Gurus technical training sees record demand during pandemic

More than 32,000 have completed training sessions since the beginning of COVID-19 crisis

Tenneco’s Garage Gurus automotive technical education platform has attracted record numbers of aftermarket professionals from across the EMEA region to its expanded curriculum of online and onsite courses.

Garage Gurus is a no-cost technical education and support program that helps workshop professionals and other participants remain on the leading edge of vehicle service technology.

“Garage Gurus is a preferred resource for thousands of automotive service professionals who want to enhance their diagnostic and repair capabilities,” said Marijn Staal, senior manager, training and technical services, DRiV Motorparts.

“We have seen a dramatic increase in demand for all of our courses and learning formats, but especially the Garage Gurus Online platform due to its exceptional convenience and accessibility.”

The Garage Gurus Online curriculum now includes nearly 30 interactive training modules available in nine languages and tailored to a variety of skill levels.

These free, 20- to 30-minute self-directed courses cover each of the following vehicle systems and topics: steering; wheel-end bearing; suspension; braking (four courses); ignition (three courses); filters (two courses); engine (five courses); and general automotive.

Garage Gurus also offers a variety of custom webinars covering braking, steering and suspension, shocks service, emission control, engine technology and other diagnostic and repair subjects.

Webinar content can be tailored to the needs of any customer or sponsoring organization.

For further information click here.

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Richard Hammond to launch new car restoration business

Behind-the-scenes look at the new business is expected to be filmed and released on TV later this year

Grand Tour host Richard Hammond is set to launch his new classic car restoration businesses this weekend.

Mr Hammond’s new firm promises to cater for all audiences from “smaller jobs to full restorations”.

He said: “I don’t envisage us ever becoming a marque specialist.

“I’d far rather enjoy bigger surprises coming into the workshop… so we are open to all classic car owners offering everything from smaller jobs to full restorations.

“We are a new business and I’m not delusional enough to imagine anyone would immediately entrust us with a half million pound car, though, fingers crossed.

“We do actually have an extremely rare Bentley on the horizon for a full resto.

“At the moment we seem to have a lot of classic British sportscars coming in.

“That said, there’s also a Lancia Fulvia Zagato hovering on the horizon, which would be a cool project.”

Mr Hammond’s new business, The Smallest Cog, will be unveiled at this weekend’s London Classic Car Show at Syon park.

He said the name is a reference to their commitment to attention to detail, attending cars “right down to the smallest cog”.

He added: “Father and son Neil and Anthony Greenhouse have been restoring cars for me.

“They did a brilliant job on my E-type, my XK150, my Bentley – and they were about to lose their workshop which would have been a terrible waste of skills.

“I didn’t want to employ them because there’s no dignity for someone who’s been running their own show in rural Herefordshire for 26 years to start working for some bloke off the television who might suddenly decide he doesn’t want to restore any more cars this year.

“So together we decided to set up a proper restoration business.

“They have all the skills and I can help with the initial funding to get things off the ground and probably then help finding some new business.”

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Delphi Technologies Aftermarket ranks first choice for brake pads and discs in TecAlliance report

Ranks first at more than 99.56 per cent EU pad coverage and second overall in EU disc coverage at 98 per cent, according to April 2021 TecAlliance report

Delphi Technologies ranks first overall for EU brake pad coverage with products available for over 99.5 per cent of vehicles on the road, a TecAlliance report suggests.

The brake pads feature OE under layer technology that reduces noise, lowers heat transfer, and increases shear strength.

The brake discs offer similarly high performing innovation in a number of options including vented and cross drilled discs.

The portfolio listing doesn’t is not limited to pads and discs, but also offers brake drums, shoes, ABS sensors and more, making Delphi Technologies a clear go-to solution for all aspects of braking.

Jean-Francois Bouveyron, Vice President Europe, Middle East & Africa Delphi Technologies Aftermarket said: “We’re delighted that the report perfectly illustrates a goal which we have worked hard towards; to provide the aftermarket with OE quality braking solutions that meet their full braking needs.

“By presenting market leading coverage and consistently providing first-to-market applications we are a clear first choice of workshops.

“Additionally, our products are now available for more cars on the road in Europe than any other competitor.”

Delphi Technologies believes there should be application coverage with no compromise safety is paramount across the far reaching braking application coverage.

This year presents a pivotal moment for workshops to ensure vehicles are capable of safe braking in the increased likelihood of domestic holidays by car, compared to jumping on a flight to get away.

By realizing first-to-market provisions like those in brake pads, Delphi Technologies can help workshops maximize this service opportunity with parts for the latest models.

The Delphi Technologies braking portfolio provides solutions for both preemptive checks and servicing to larger maintenance repairs.

The range of braking products is partnered with advanced diagnostic support making it a truly end-to-end service solution that workshops can access with ease.

For futher information click here.

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Number plates most common illegal car upgrade

More than 13,000 drivers caught driving with modified number plates last year, more than any other unlawful upgrade

Number plate changes are the most common unlawful vehicle modification seen on cars in the UK, according to new analysis from Compare the Market.

A Freedom of Information Act request to local police forces has revealed that 13,720 number plate modification offenders accounted for 56 per cent of all ‘upgrade’ concerns among drivers.

Changes to a car’s headlights were the second most popular upgrade with over 5,700 motorists affected.

Illegally tinted car windows were spotted on more than 3,000 cars last year, making up 17 per cent of all illegal notifications, while 776 drivers were caught with illegal exhausts, making up three per cent of all dodgy modifications.

Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance at Compare the Market, has warned any illegal modifications risks “invalidating” insurance.

Related: Police and fire service issue fluid level warning following car fire

He said: “Modifications tend to fall into two categories: performance or cosmetic.

“But any modification, no matter how minor, should be reported to your car insurance provider.

“Lawful modifications can increase car insurance premiums, so it’s best to check with your provider before making any changes and there are some providers who specialise in modified cars.

“Modifications which are against the law are likely to invalidate any type of car insurance policy, so do your research beforehand.”

Gloucestershire topped the list of UK hotspots for illegal car modifications with an average of 1,452 offences per one million people on average.

Norfolk was second with 1,251 offences per one million people, followed by Northern Ireland and Suffolk.

London was fifth with a massive 9,373 offences recorded over the past year.

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Valeo webinar to discuss common failure causes of heater resistors and regulators

Online training highlights importance of correct diagnosis

Valeo Service UK is to discuss discuss blower motor heater resistors and regulator/control modules in its next webinar which is set to take place on July 21 at 10.00am.

The online session will look at the difference between a heater resistor and regulator/control module and what HVAC systems they are used in.

It will also provide an understanding of what fails on a heater resistor and regulator/control module and the main vehicle faults that cause a heater resistor and regulator/control module to fail.

The webinar will also available to watch on demand one hour after the live session.

For further information click here.

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NGK Ireland area manager to retire

Stewart Neill end of July after more than 30 years of service

NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd has announced that Stewart Neill, area manager for Ireland, is retiring after more than thirty years’ service with the company.

Stewart will leave at the end of July after helping establish the ignition and sensor specialist’s brand in Ireland since 1989 when he joined from the Isaac Agnew Group’s Tyre Division, having previously been employed by Michelin who he had joined after leaving school in Ballymena.

When Stewart started as a sales representative, NGK was a relatively new brand in the market-place with P R Reilly its sole NGK distributor in the south and he spent many years driving around garages and motor factors promoting NGK throughout Ireland with many early starts and late nights.

Stewart was appointed area manager for Ireland in 2003 in recognition of all his hard work on behalf of NGK in Ireland where it is now a leading supplier of spark plugs, glow plugs and NTK Lambda and assorted engine management sensors.

During his career he has enjoyed many trips with the company including a visit to Nagoya in Japan, where NGK has its headquarters, to see the production facilities where he was struck by how much emphasis was put on the quality of every single product.

Working at NGK has also given Stewart the opportunity to go on various customer trips including skiing in Italy, golfing in Portugal and Spain, a visit to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, a trip to Nashville and Memphis with PR Reilly, and a tour of the Ferrari factory in Modena.

He is particularly proud of helping set up the annual NGK Northern Ireland Golf Day soon after joining the company to enable staff to get to better know their Northern Ireland customers.

He said: “Right from the first one they have all been a great success.

“The Japanese directors always loved to come over to Northern Ireland, receive a traditional warm welcome, enjoy a round of golf and experience the ‘craic’ with the loyal NGK customers.

“It was one of the favourite days of the year for them, with the next year’s date being one of the first entries in their diary.”

In retirement Stewart plans to continue cycling and golfing to stay fit and healthy and also further pursue his love of travel, having journeyed thousands of miles visiting many countries including the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii, Bali, Thailand and the Caribbean.

He also plans to enjoy driving his recent purchase, a Mazda MX-5 sports car, sparked of course by NGK spark plugs.

Stewart said: “I have met many wonderful people and customers, worked with many great colleagues, visited many marvellous places. Many including former Japanese colleagues will remain friends long after I finish at NGK, a company that became part of my everyday life for 32 years.”

Tim Ward, deputy general manager for key accounts at NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “Stewart has been integral to the success of NGK in Ireland.

“When I became his line manager ten years ago, he helped educate me about the market-place and we worked together to retain and develop business opportunities with our customers.

“He is not just a colleague but a close friend.”

For further information click here.

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Tester finds python under bonnet during MOT

Snake belonged to vehicle’s owner and had been missing for two weeks

An MOT tester who discovered a python under the bonnet of a van during a test says he “nearly had a heart attack”.

The 1m-long snake, which had been missing for two weeks, belonged to the vehicle’s owners, who were “relieved” their pet had been found.

Mike Newell, co-owner of CSN Autos in Wymondham, Norfolk, said: “It’s not the thing you expect to happen when you come into work on a Monday.

“One of the guys lifted the bonnet and said ‘there’s a snake’,” Mr Newell said.

“I think he nearly had a heart attack. It was laid on top of the engine.”

After contacting the vehicle’s owners, the garage realised it was their pet Sunfire Royal Ball Python which had been missing since it escaped its vivarium and got out through a window.

He added: “The snake had been with them on journeys to Yarmouth and back without them knowing.

The garage owner said despite the dramatic start to the MOT the vehicle did pass and the owners were “relieved” to be reunited with their pet.

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Police search for men after taking car from garage without paying for repairs

Group of men not satisfied with work carried out booked date for further repairs and took car without paying

Police are searching for three men in connection with thousands of pounds worth of car repairs not being paid.

A Nissan Navara, was taken to a garage business in Colchester for repairs but on collection the men were not satisfied with the work.

Another appointment was made for the work to be carried out and the car was taken without payment and didn’t return for the scheduled appointment.

The car has since been sold.

An Essex Police spokesman said: “If you recognise the men or have any information you can submit a report online at www.essex.police.uk or use the ‘Live Chat’ button to speak to an online operator between 7am-11pm.

“Please quote incident the crime reference number 42/76107/21.

“You can also call us on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

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Valeo dual mass and solid flywheel hybrid to be discussed in webinar

Flexible flywheel offers hybrid solution

Valeo Service UK has announced that its next webinar will discuss its ‘flexible flywheel’.

Valeo’s hybrid flywheel solution is designed to address various engine/transmission related vibrations and noises.

The webinar will explain how and where vibrations originate, discuss the creation of torsional vibrations, axial bending and noise.

Viewers will also learn more about the components within the flywheel, the operation and the benefits.

The webinar will also available to watch on demand one hour after the live session.

For further information and to register to watch the webinar click here.

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