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May MOT horror stories

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Horror stories

Time for our latest MOT horror stories blog, showing you that just when you think you’ve seen it all there’s always something worse out there.

We’re lucky to have well trained and hard working MOT testers keeping us safe from these latest horrors.

Here’s the latest selection.

All shook up

Alan, one of our ‘horror stories’ fans, sent us this picture of a 2005 Toyota Landcruiser that came in for a "Quick MOT" before the owner set off on a trip with his caravan in tow.

The chassis mounting point for his nearside rear trailing arm had completely rotted away and the back axle was floating about.

The owner said it felt a little odd on acceleration.

Needless to say, the caravan holiday was cancelled and the Landcruiser was scrapped.

corroded chassis mounting point on nearside rear trailing arm
corroded chassis mounting point

Spring loaded

Keith’s garage in East Sussex dug up this little marvel of an Audi rear spring.

Or most of it.

This car’s suspension was badly damaged and needed to be fixed before the car was driven again.

Not to mention it was incredibly dangerous….

It’s great that Keith spotted this and put it right.

image of spring detached at one end an dropping down
partially detached spring to wheel

Hanging on without a thread?

A customer brought this Audi A4 for a bit of work into Ben’s garage for them to find the lower mounting bolt about to fall out.  Work had recently been carried out in a nearby area as well, so surprising it wasn’t spotted!

Imagine what might have happened if the garage hadn’t sorted it out when it did.

image of loose mounting bolt about to fall out
mounting bolt coming out of fixing

Tied in knots

John sent us this picture of a seat belt nicely tied together.

That’ll do it.

No, it won’t.  Seatbelts are meant to be in one piece and actually work.

And the knot looks pretty ropy anyway.

There would be no restraint for the person on the seat in the event of an accident. Having a fire extinguisher nearby won’t help either.

Time to get it replaced.

image of seatbelt tied in know
Seatbelt tied in a knot

You do great work!

It’s great that most motorists keep their cars safe to drive and would never think this kind of activity was ok.

A big thank you to all the MOT testers who sent in these pictures and stories.

If you’ve tested a downright dangerous rust bucket or outrageous vehicle failure, please send them to along with:

  • some large and clear photos of the defect (‘landscape’ way round)
  • a brief description of what you found and what could have happened if the issues not been sorted out

We’ll include the very worst ones in our next MOT horror stories blog post.

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  1. Comment by Christian Height posted on

    All the comments on previous tests not having mentioned corrosion are what I agree with, testers should advise future possible degradation to components if they will become a safety concern I feel (I have been a tester & master technician for 25 years) however, as stated in mot guidelines, advisories are at the discretion of the tester, therefore not compulsory. The choices we make, make us who we are...

    • Replies to Christian Height>

      Comment by Graham posted on

      The mot is about the day it is tested. Why plaster a car with multiple advisory's about surface corrosion. That should be put on the invoice, or advised when it is serviced, in my opinion.

  2. Comment by bert posted on

    DVSA could you please give me some advice on the email sent out yesterday regarding the new AEC role, who would be best to be assigned this role?

    • Replies to bert>

      Comment by Julia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Bert
      The AEC role can be assigned to any one that the AEDM wishes. It can only be assigned by the AEDM and this is done from the AE details screen on MTS.

      This is not a mandatory role and is designed for AEs that use MOT consultants. The role enables the AE/AEDM to grant the consultant read access to MOT test data to support the AEDM in maintaining good quality testing through MOT data analysis.

      • Replies to Julia (DVSA)>

        Comment by bert posted on

        thanks Julie that makes it a lot clearer

  3. Comment by Mike Williams posted on

    A brake will fail for 'Significant' bind, can you tell what 'Significant' is.
    If it does not fail for bind on the RBT, but the wheel cannot be rotated to check wheel bearing for roughness, is it ok to advise unable to check wheel bearing due to slight bind?

    • Replies to Mike Williams>

      Comment by Julia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Mike

      We do not define significant bind as the amount will vary from vehicle to vehicle depending the measured axle weight. Also, not all roller brake testers can measure axle weight.

      Therefore, before you can you reject a vehicle for bind, the amount of bind should be obviously excessive or to a level that would affect the vehicles roadworthiness, such as pulling to one side or overheating the brake. If in doubt pass and advise.

      In regard to the advisory for not checking the wheel bearing, take a look at an earlier post on Matters of Testing which states: “If the brake bind is not sufficient to justify a fail, then an advisory should be issued for the binding brake. It is not necessary to advise that the wheel bearing could not be tested.”

  4. Comment by mercedes posted on

    had a peugeot 208 in yesterday with a pair off mole grips clamping o/s/rear brake flex the customer said i was too hard on him for failing it on this some mothers do have them

  5. Comment by hardit posted on

    took my daughters car for mot the mot garage failed this on front brake pads low than he said this is major fail and you are not legally aloud to take cars he know i do my own repairs surely if the pads are low this should be advise or fail but not major i would have fixed this my self, what about the rear drums where they cannot see the thickness of the pads this needs to changed this is racket money making for vosa / garage say 1.2mm on pad
    can do more than 2000 miles i was only taking it 4 miles to my home to fix
    who came with this as a major fault.

    • Replies to hardit>

      Comment by Julia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Hardit

      Please see the information on regarding taking a failed vehicle away from a test station.

      • Replies to Julia (DVSA)>

        Comment by Simon R posted on

        Hi Julia, whilst this is true regarding cars that have failed on a dangerous item should not be driven. I think it is important to mention that if the customer decides they want to drive the car away there is nothing the MOT test station can do about it. We had a visit from a VE who made it very clear about this.

    • Replies to hardit>

      Comment by richard posted on

      less then 1.5mm thick should be down as a dangerous not a major !

    • Replies to hardit>

      Comment by stevie m posted on

      if its a major fail you can drive the vehicle away to be repaired. our garage would never wrongly inform a customer. having said that we have advised customers with dangerous failures not to drive the vehicle away but they do. cant win sometimes.

  6. Comment by Dip posted on

    When we do mot or service we do video of cars under body and send it to customer showing all it fault or good condition

  7. Comment by Robert posted on

    Seems like only a couple of years ago a fractured/broken incomplete spring was pass and advise, is there any of you been on the front line!

  8. Comment by Christopher tones posted on

    The Honda civic comes with a plastic panel covering the outside underneath whole floor place.
    After passing an MOT it says on the not : couldn't test all parts as they are unseen because of the plastic panel covering everything.
    So your vehicle might be rusty under these panels that might go on for years unoticed.and if the panel was to fall off the next MOT inspection they would be wondering how it ever managed to pass previous happens.

  9. Comment by Mervyn posted on

    Surely the Audi with the bolt hanging out was not an anti roll bar mount but the lower mounting bolt of the front shock absorber!!!

  10. Comment by Tony S posted on

    Now a private welder will do the job cheaper than a retail garage will.
    The washers are poor means they're only just hitting the screen / blades. When you're driving they won't.
    You probably put a cheep bulb in that don't have enough colour on it.

  11. Comment by Graham posted on

    You want to see the brake pipes and the holes in the BMW 3 Series that was tested just 2 months ago.

  12. Comment by Gavin Adams posted on

    The MOT is the only thing I agree with in motoring. I take my hat off to the testers the difficult job they do. Not everyone is savvy when it comes to inspection and repairs some don't even check the tyres. Keep up the good work.

    • Replies to Gavin Adams>

      Comment by Tony S posted on

      Ain't that the truth. Iv'e seen a lot of that in my time as a tester.

  13. Comment by Richard posted on

    Just to add some balance, whilst i agree all dangerous defects should be addressed, however some advisories are a matter of individual interpretation, what is the definition of corrosion? A statement like corrosion on inner cills makes a car unsellable when it is nothing more than a little surface rust easily cleaned and treated , a little more realistic descriptions would help.

    • Replies to Richard>

      Comment by Tony S posted on

      And whats the definition of a worn tyre?
      If it's worn at the edge, then it's worn and the driver needs to know about it, cos it ain't gonna get any better.
      Means you need to keep an eye on it!!

    • Replies to Richard>

      Comment by Len Carne posted on

      Probably the tester covering his back. Sill corrosion can perforate quickly and then its a fail.

    • Replies to Richard>

      Comment by Mick posted on

      The phrase 'surface rust' would be better.

    • Replies to Richard>

      Comment by peter stocker posted on

      This is why I put "surface corrosion"instead of just corrosion,I think it sounds better.

  14. Comment by Don posted on

    Surely some of, if not all is down to people's lack of knowledge car about their cars, sometimes though I wonder about some knowledge of inspectors or whether some garages use the test to make money. Yesterday I had my car fail on a small piece of welding to the outer sill(which I suspected) no problem apart from a quote of £295 to weld it!!! Now I have a trusted welder I use and the same job will cost me no more than £75.
    1 advisory pa's light displayed??? The car doesn't have one
    2 Washers poor but provide enough to clear screen?? Surely they either do the job or don't do the job
    3 side repeater slightly discoloured offside (clear with near Amber bulbs fitted before test). I have no issue with the item that failed but scandalous pricing and made up advisorys I have

    • Replies to Don>

      Comment by Tony S posted on

      Now a private welder will do the job cheaper than a retail garage will.
      The washers are poor means they're only just hitting the screen / blades. When you're driving they won't.
      You probably put a cheep bulb in that don't have enough colour on it.

      • Replies to Tony S>

        Comment by Don posted on

        And a non existent pa's light, yes I agree welding is cheaper from a private welder, but it actually cost me £60, is different to £295!!! The side repeaters light really no difference in them. Will be cheating all the advisorys but the previous M O T had none and only approximately 1000 miles done

      • Replies to Tony S>

        Comment by Don posted on

        As I replaced both bulbs at the same time from a packet with 2 in it not the case and any components I fit are genuine where available as in 50 years of motoring if I've learnt 1 thing it's not to buy cheap parts as its false economy

  15. Comment by Chris Rayner posted on

    Excellent work keep up testing

  16. Comment by Osman posted on

    Thank got for Mot tests.. Saves lives everyday...

    • Replies to Osman>

      Comment by Tony S posted on

      If only everyone thought of it like that!

    • Replies to Osman>

      Comment by peter stocker posted on

      if everyone had their car serviced there wouldn't be any need for an MOT !

      • Replies to peter stocker>

        Comment by Tony S posted on

        Depends on how well the service is done, some just crop the oil and kick the tyres and out it goes!

  17. Comment by Steve Thorpe posted on

    Shows the importance of the MOT test so many cars are just driven with minimal attention well done MOT testers

  18. Comment by Gary Wade posted on

    Totally agree with Kevin, we in the garage trade are very undervalued, we see this kind of thing all the time, can you believe that these pictures you are seeing probably have child seats fitted in the rear and have full ashtrays.
    Mind boggling isn't it?

  19. Comment by Ian posted on

    No way would the landcruiser rot like that in 12 months. VOSA should check who tested that vehicle before. Some vehicles I get to see that have been "tested" have had similar faults.

    • Replies to Ian>

      Comment by Len Carne posted on

      3 Months is the limit for DVSA to inspect a car post test

    • Replies to Ian>

      Comment by Tom posted on

      Working om a limestone quarry can make a brand new car completely rotten within 12 months so it is possible

  20. Comment by Brian Hogg posted on

    It shows there are still dangerous vehicles on ours even with the MOT. The worst thing is there are vehicles out on the roads without any MOT, I wonder what state some of them are in.

  21. Comment by Beverley posted on

    I don’t believe it that could have killed someone on the road & how it ever got threw a MOT last year makes me wonder ? Yes dogie MOT must have to be that bad no way in a year that as gone like that

  22. Comment by paul reid posted on

    broken springs are more common with all the speed bumps for to reduce speed on the roads but the way manufactures make the suspension most seem to drop out off the spring cups where they ment to sit

  23. Comment by William posted on

    May have been worth welding in a new bracket done loads when younger

  24. Comment by G saunders . posted on

    I want you too add shocks too the fail list for excess bounce ...i a car yesterday and the shocks were bouncing like mad .but no fluid leak ...had too advise ...wasnt happy ...excess bounce ...should have failed ..

    • Replies to G saunders .>

      Comment by Nick posted on

      I agree with (bounce) check like the old days of testing but plastic wings have put a stop to that as long as you pass and advise not much more you can do.

    • Replies to G saunders .>

      Comment by huthwaite garage services ltd posted on

      I agree its not enough to just check shockers for leaks damaged casings and bushes a bounce check would find a lot more faults I feel

    • Replies to G saunders .>

      Comment by Andrew Hobson posted on

      It is a fail put it in to search and there's a fail for working incorrectly

    • Replies to G saunders .>

      Comment by peter stocker posted on

      Could always put a dangerous marker on the advisory !

  25. Comment by Richard Donaghy posted on

    Great blog!

  26. Comment by Mr sick of rip off garages posted on

    4yrs mot tester advisory, pads and discs were just about legal, changed pads myself, 10mm on old ones, 4mot's later discs still fine no advisory, please sort this out, surely trading standards and people who give mot licence can work together, also why can a vehicle fail on different things at different mot centres, this ripping us off is bad, check them take certificate away if they fail just once (one life saved)

  27. Comment by Hank posted on

    Come across a few dodgy MOT service centres, one was a tyre concern that said I needed a complete new head lamp unit. Took it elsewhere and it sailed through and has been for the last 5 years.
    One year accepted a cheap quote from a national concern, who had a Dragons Den personality connection, who offered to collect the car and return it next day. 5 days later after paying a bill for £600 ! got the car back. Ripped off big time.

  28. Comment by Andrew posted on

    Love these over the top faults can't believe some of them the person making the comment about getting car checked over pre mot is exactly right nobody does anymore because garages have just outpriced people who simply can't afford to spend more than how much it costs to pass mot

  29. Comment by bob posted on

    shame theres not a website where dangerous vehicles can be reported between mots.

  30. Comment by Martin posted on

    Why the cheesy comments accompanying every photo ?
    It is childish and annoying when the time should be directed at correcting all the mistakes and omissions in the manual.

  31. Comment by kevin posted on

    we see all of this and more in the garage trade and we are still under valued and driven by price constantly.

    • Replies to kevin>

      Comment by David Shipton posted on

      Obviously not good but that A4 Bolt is an anti roll bar mount. Wouldnt do anything but rattle a bit of it fell out

      • Replies to David Shipton>

        Comment by John King posted on

        Its not, it holds the bottom arm to the strut.

    • Replies to kevin>

      Comment by Roger wood. posted on

      As a class4/5/7tester for over 20yrs, I welcome the new minor, major, dangerous categories, but am dismayed when I find a dangerous defect, the reply from the presenter is I've no money for repairs need to get to the end of the month, but still use the car.

    • Replies to kevin>

      Comment by Thomas Booker posted on

      I moved 6 years ago and during that time I have tried 4 different mechanics in my new area. Each time there have been problems with the work they have done. I am in building trade so I sympathise with practical work not being highly regarded and being in a very price competitive environment. How can quality be improved when it is very difficult for the customer to know if the job has been done right?

  32. Comment by Derek McCarthy posted on

    I think this is great, it gives the public a chance to see why we have a MOT Scheme, long may it continue.

    • Replies to Derek McCarthy>

      Comment by Dr.M.M.Janapriya posted on

      Indeed Derek. You are absolutely right. We have an excellent system to keep us safe on Great British roads and long it my continue. BTW I think I met you at Uxbridge College when you took a couple of classes for us.

  33. Comment by Pete posted on

    I am beginning to wonder what has happened to the days when owners got there vehicles checked over before the mot test. Prime example just done at test, first thing the presenter said was " I know it's going to fail just want to know what else is wrong with it".
    Long story short 11 defects 4 dangerous and still he drives it away.
    Time for test fee rise then maybe just maybe this might stop.

    • Replies to Pete>

      Comment by Sam posted on

      I find this quite unfair. So many garages now just put the vehicle in for mot to see what is wrong without checking it over first. What is the customer to do? We should not get penalised financially because the mechanic is too lazy to do their job properly.

      • Replies to Sam>

        Comment by BR posted on

        A garage will do a pre-MOT checkover before submitting it for a MOT test proper ... If you want one doing then I would recommend you get it done by somebody that actually does MOT testing . IF you pay them their hourly rate then they will check it over . Or do you expect them to give up an hour of their time for free ?
        Would you mop the floor of their testing bay for an hour for free ?

        Didn't think you would .

    • Replies to Pete>

      Comment by Craig posted on

      Costs them less to put it in and fail it than to get it checked over we charge £35 for mot or £40+vat per hour . then most people only get the bare minimum done to pass Mot . The amount of brakes +tyres we have to pass that are on the legal minimum in shocking when you know the presenter has no intention of repairing until the components fail .Also most garages are free retest

    • Replies to Pete>

      Comment by Big edd posted on

      Maybe if mot, s where cheaper car's could be checked more often as it costs too much for someone to tell you that the car has failed its mot
      It's the state of the roads that's to blame mostly

  34. Comment by stuart beale posted on

    great to show how the mot test is very relevant

  35. Comment by Richard posted on

    would the Landcruiser corrode to that state in 12 months ? you would have to ask what state it was in the previous test ?

    • Replies to Richard>

      Comment by Tony posted on

      Was about to say the same mate, no way is that 12 months of corrosion!

    • Replies to Richard>

      Comment by Gaz Knight posted on

      Looks like it’s been used to lower boats into water some point in its life

    • Replies to Richard>

      Comment by den morgan posted on

      I wonder if anyone at DVSA checked where it was tested the previous year?

    • Replies to Richard>

      Comment by David posted on

      I'm NOMOT tester, just a welder and fabricator who does rust repairs for some local garages. I recently had a Mitsubishi Shogun in my workshop that passed its MOT year after year with the occasional advisory. Then one year it failed on corrosion, not just a little bit either, a big long list of fails. The rear of the chassis behind the fuel tank was almost completely gone, the body mounts were all hanging on by a thread, there was a hole several inches in the chassis and seat belt mountings were hanging on by a thread. Basically the whole underside of the vehicle was covered in very thick rust. Yet there was never even an advisory for corrosion on previous MOTs. It was that bad I couldn't even quote for repair, I advised the customer the vehicle was at the end of it's life. Would love to know how the vehicle could go through as many tests without the corrosion being noticed. As a welder who does rust repairs I see a lot of vehicles that have failed horrendously on corrosion but have never had an advisory for corrosion in previous MOTs.

    • Replies to Richard>

      Comment by Les R posted on

      Indeed, Richard...
      We see this sort of thing - although mostly not quite as bad - on an almost daily basis.
      It's sometimes tempting to check the vehicle history - to see if the precursor to many rust issues had been "commented on" in previous tests!
      Les NT east London.

    • Replies to Richard>

      Comment by Tony S posted on

      Now I don't know if your the same Richard as at the top of the page, but that's why some of us Testers advise that bit of rust that's showing so as the owner can do something about it before it gets worse and fails the test!

      • Replies to Tony S>

        Comment by Mick posted on

        Why not just put 'surface rust'

    • Replies to Richard>

      Comment by Darren posted on

      I’ve seen a car fail it first mot on corosion so anything can happen in 12 months,especially that one with a tow bar and possibly being dipped in a river for a boat

  36. Comment by Mark Stack posted on

    I couldn't believe a customer complained about me passing his car!!
    I MOT his car, checked everything as per schedule, give him a test certificate, then after 2 journeys in his car (almost a week) he come in complaining that his brakes failed!
    He tried to blame me!!
    Both his inner pads was actually on the metal!!
    He had the cheek to say i should have noticed it!! I am not responsible for the maintenance on his car!
    People need to get their cars maintainied properly and not blame us for not noticing things!
    If i had told him he needed new pads he probably would have moaned like hell!!
    Rant over.

  37. Comment by Chris Cliff posted on

    This shows that the MOT is a must. as some vehicles are not serviced if at all, as most horrors do not happen over night and again it shows that previous Advisories have not been acted upon

  38. Comment by Derrick posted on