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OT - Road car MOT fail


daveturnbull
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Thought I'd ask here because of the general rich mine of knowledge this forum seems to have.

My daily driver (Volvo V50) has just failed it's MOT on lower front control arm bushes, a common fault I understand. Same as a MK2 Focus.

The MOT place has quoted £350 to replace both of them, which I think is taking the Pee a little, as a quick search on eBay shows I can buy the parts for £70 delivered. They don't look too tricky to replace - 3 bolts and a ball joint each and I don't mind getting busy with the spanners. The only bit I'm not sure about is the alignment. Anyone know how this is done? And is there a cave-man approach I could take to getting it somewhere near right?

Oh, and a one last question. The previous MOT expires on 22nd April. Now that it has failed a test on 26th March, can I still legally drive it around? There was no mention of anything being dangerous.

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Swap the arms then - without touching the alignment - take it to a decent tyre-place [*not* one of the big 'chain' tyre-pushers] for an alignment.

Considering the cost of tyres these days, I'd much rather spring £25 on an alignment than wreck a pair of tyres through a "caveman" alignment approach.

p.s. make sure the arms you buy are of decent quality - there are a *lot* of 'Britpart-quality' replacement parts in the normal-road-car marketspace too! A friend's just gone through three cheap ebay-special camshaft-position-sensors on his Opel - all of which still threw errors - before giving up and buying genuine.

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Looking into it a bit more, the rear bush is replaceable without changing the whole wishbone, so if the adjustment is on the arm not the rear bush that might be an option. I'll see if I can get it up on the ramps later and see if I can figure it out.

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post-904-0-63900100-1459002572_thumb.jpg

So this is the bush that has failed. It's held on by just those two bolts you can see. The other two mounting points of the control arm are the ball joint, and the front bush, neither of which I can see have any adjustment.

So I'm thinking I might just replace the bush. £25 on eBay and reuse the rest of the control arm, so no steering adjustment necessary.... Thoughts?

I'm still not sure exactly how you go about adjusting what ever it is anyway...

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looks similar focus setup. iirc the 2 bolts also hold arb bushes and there captive. having a long thin podger bar makes fitting the a damn sight easier to alight bush and arb bracket as the same time whist putting other bolt it. as with alignment. there not, many cars dont have camber alignment but if they do, is usually on the bottom of the strut.

as with the price. that is probably 1.5hr labour and a pair of compete arms from a reputable manufacture. rather than the micky mouse s**te you find on ebay. when fitting new ones, a good dose of wd40 etc always helps. :i-m_so_happy:

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My belief is that you can drive the car under the old MOT. This link shows that you can drive your vehicle if you have a valid MOT (which you do, from last year). https://www.gov.uk/getting-an-mot/after-the-test

Only to a place of repair, as I understand it. An MoT fail deems the car unroadworthy, invalidating the old certificate. There is no way your insurance would be valid or that you could defend yourself in court.

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Only to a place of repair, as I understand it. An MoT fail deems the car unroadworthy, invalidating the old certificate. There is no way your insurance would be valid or that you could defend yourself in court.

Correct.

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Correct.

Nope! You can't invalidate the old certificate, it runs until it's expiry date.

If your vehicle fails and you decide to keep driving it, you could only be charged with whatever offence you committed regarding the failure item.

For example you could fail on a defective registration plate with weeks left on your old MOT, drive off, get stopped. That's a non endorsable fixed penalty for a reg' offence. You couldn't be charged with not having a valid certificate because you still have one.

It would be the same with say tyres, different specific offence, different penalty, but still have a valid MOT.

As for insurance, unless you made a false declaration at inception, they can't void the policy. They are legally required to pay out on third party claims.

What they normally do is insert clauses into the contract, such as if an accident occurs and the vehicle was being used in an unroadworthy condition they reserve the right to withhold payment to the policy holder, and/or to recover their third party losses from the policy holder. I think most policies have this clause for drivers that have accidents whilst unfit through drink/drugs.

It's all down to the policy wording and their discretion.

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Done some research of my own.

https://www.gov.uk/getting-an-mot/after-the-test

Looks like I'm fine to drive it as long as it meets roadworthiness standards.

It merely states that you can take your vehicle away, ie. it is not impounded. It doesn't state that you are road legal. The point is to allow you to take the vehicle to a place of storage or repair, the latter including garages and your home, amongst other things. That is not the same as carte blanche for normal driving. I'm sure you'd be prosecuted heavily if you harmed someone with a vehicle that had failed its new test.

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I'm sure you'd be prosecuted heavily if you harmed someone with a vehicle that had failed its new test.

I think what is being suggested is that, yes that is the case - but you would be prosecuted for having a unroadworthy vehicle, not for having no MOT. In theory you could have had an accident the day before the failed test and it would still have been unroadworthy and you would still be prosecuted.

If the vehicle is defective it is defective, whether it has a valid MOT is irrelevant. The obligation on the owner/driver is the same.

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I think what is being suggested is that, yes that is the case - but you would be prosecuted for having a unroadworthy vehicle, not for having no MOT. In theory you could have had an accident the day before the failed test and it would still have been unroadworthy and you would still be prosecuted.

If the vehicle is defective it is defective, whether it has a valid MOT is irrelevant. The obligation on the owner/driver is the same.

Well clarified - I think we were both saying the same thing. but from different perspectives. The regulations suggest that you won't be prosecuted for not having an MoT if the old one is still in date, but the vehicle still has to be safe to be driven, just as you say.

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Is it not the purpose of the MOT to ensure a vehicle is roadworthy? So if it fails it is not roadworthy? So how can it be roadworthy enough to be driven away after failing a test? And now you know it is unroadworthy, so are breaking the law with intent, rather than in ignorance. I suppose it depends on the definition of "roadworthy" but it all seems a bit vague.

I am not advocating that vehicles that fail should be impounded, but how the law can tie itself in knots to confuse us.

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No, it is not determining roadworthiness, for example having tyres sticking out the wheel arches is illegal (unroadworthy) but not an MOT-tested item.

MOT is just a basic safety check, nothing more.

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No, it is not determining roadworthiness, for example having tyres sticking out the wheel arches is illegal (unroadworthy) but not an MOT-tested item.

MOT is just a basic safety check, nothing more.

Which in turn implies that any failed vehicle is "unsafe", in which case it should not be driven. In response to Sheffield's question, the law is quite clear that a vehicle with no MoT can be driven to a place of repair or the MoT testing station, with a booking, but nowhere else. So, if you were going to carry the work out at home, you are theoretically legally covered for that drive. The trouble is, if the failure is the cause of an accident or is an exacerbating factor, you can't plead ignorance about it and could still be prosecuted for negligence or driving an unsafe vehicle. Tricky, isn't it? Basically, they have you either way, if anything goes wrong.

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