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The MOT nightmares before Christmas

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

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, and someone, somewhere, is merrily driving along in a dangerously unsafe vehicle.

Luckily for us, our nation’s MOT testers are working every day to find dangerous problems with the vehicles motorists bring in.

As an early Christmas present for you, here’s a selection of the juiciest things they’ve found over the last few months.

One completely corroded fuel cap

Corroded fuel cap

Cam in Gloucestershire sent us this photo of what he called a “slightly insecure fuel cap on a 2002 Nissan Micra”.

Needless to say, he was understating the problem for comic effect.

As you can see, the fuel filler neck has corroded away and is almost completely detached. This could have allowed petrol to spill onto the road, creating a fire hazard.

Well done Cam for making our roads that little bit safer this Christmas.

One badly chewed seatbelt

This photo of a seatbelt on a 2010 Yaris was sent to us by Andrew.

His best theory as to what happened here is that the owner’s dog chewed through it, meaning it'd be useless in a serious accident.

One van held together with duct tape and cardboard

This is a photo of an underside of a 2004 reg Transit van that an MOT tester named Stuart sent us.

It might be a little hard to see because of the angle of the photo (the grey in the bottom left corner is the floor), but parts of the van have corroded away, leaving gaping holes.

The owner has then tried to fix the problem by stuffing the holes with cardboard and holding it in place with duct tape!

Here’s another photo, to show you just how bad the underside of this van really was:

This vehicle was obviously not roadworthy and thankfully it was taken off the road as a result of Stuart’s work.

And a pair of corroded radius arms

For the final part of this edition of Horror Stories, we have a two parter. Both are radius arms from different vehicles, both are corroded right through.

Here’s the first photo. It’s from a 2004 Vauxhall Agila and was sent to us by Philip in London:

Apparently the owner tried to argue that it was safe to drive! Philip disagreed and failed her vehicle. Judging by the photo, he was right.

And here’s the second, from a 2007 Nissan Qashqai:

According to Terence, who sent us the photo, the arm on the other side was just as corroded.

Radius arms come under a lot of stress when in use, so both these vehicles were clearly unsafe.

By taking them off the roads, these testers have done their bit to help keep Britain’s roads safe.

The response to the last edition of MOT Horror Stories was amazing and some of the photos you sent in were truly hair-raising. Sorry we couldn’t include them all.

If you’ve tested a particularly dangerous, ridiculous or outrageous vehicle, please send your photos to along with a brief description of what you found.

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  1. Comment by karen oconnor posted on

    can I Find out any information about my rights if Ihave brought a faulty scooter and dealer will not refund money.I DO NOT FEEL SAFE DRIVING THIS BIKE WHERE DO i go.

  2. Comment by Dave s posted on

    Cant understand in the draft in the section on steering, where you say power steering inop is a major fault, power steering inop but affects the steering badly, is a DANGEROUS FAULT, then you go on to say a road test may be required to make a decision, dont think my insurance company or the police would look on me kindly driving a car i think has a major steering defect, so i can decide if it is dangerous or major fault.
    Also agree what is the point of showing us a draft that may not show the full requirements or will change others , when will we know exactly what we are supposed to learn and put into practice, already rumours are reaching the general public as to what is going to fail

  3. Comment by Graham posted on

    You have asked us to look through and learn this new 'draft' manual. I have already had a look through and done this, however with it being a draft, there will be changes to it and it wont be finalised till april / may. Will you be telling us about changes you are making to the draft so as not to confuse us. If not you may aswell hide the draft until its finalised then let us see it.

  4. Comment by Harry posted on

    With all the changes.
    Training and the test, is going to take more time, this is going to cost more. The upgrades to the emission machine are going to cost more.
    It is now eight years with no increase in MOT fees. We keep being told its not our department, there is going to be a consultation.
    DVLA needs to start communicating with the DfT, to sort out MOT pricing. Be for implementing change with no financial help to testing station's.

  5. Comment by cheekyboy posted on

    with the updated manual are we as testers going to get pin pointers to some of the changes? as there seem to be a rather alot, or different wording etc

  6. Comment by Dave Bradley-Scrivener posted on

    web version would be simpler and quicker to use

  7. Comment by Graham posted on

    Page 10 out of 13 of 'Nuisance' section of draft new manual, there is a calculation for working out average smoke level towards bottom of page. You have 1.5 + 1.0, divided by 2 as 0.75. Maybe it would be an idea to change this to 1.25 before it creates confusion, thanks

    • Replies to Graham>

      Comment by Julia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Graham

      Thanks for pointing this out. The person who's editing the new version has made the changes that other people may have missed.

  8. Comment by Graham posted on

    You have introduced a 'Major' for ' Any smoke of any colour emitted from exhaust with a dpf'. This is ridiculous!! There are a few engines out there which smoke with a dpf fitted. 1.6 d (psa) fitted to alot of cars, ford citroen mini etc.. Defenders. This needs to be removed else there will be alot of unjustified fails, and some very unhappy customers!!!

    • Replies to Graham>

      Comment by mark posted on

      They wont listen they never do

    • Replies to Graham>

      Comment by Graham posted on

      Just another thought on this, what if a car comes into us and its regenerating. There is no warning on dash that its in regen mode but it will be very smokey / smelly. Also sometimes when i am revving cars to get oil temp up (completley usless idea on new diesels that are going to pass anyway, talk about save the enviroment, hows about bring oil temp down to 60 if you know it will pass save 5 mins of pointless revving) they go into regen mode and will start smoking, so i guess i will have to start failing them. And dont say dont fail if its regening because there is no way of knowing.

  9. Comment by Graham posted on

    I see you have made a new inspection manual draft, please make this available in web format!!! it is not practical to scroll through page after page if you have a few things you need to check on, with it being new manual new rules, is suppose there will be alot of things i will be checking up on!!!