You can’t put a price on peace of mind

As we are always pointing out at MTI compared to 15 years ago in relative terms there is no longer a really bad car made. Sure there are some pretty horrible ones in terms of aesthetics, but in terms of a car which will keep you fairly safe and trouble free I think that modern technology ensures that reliability is better than it’s ever been.

It is understandable therefore that the coalition government should consider increasing the time for a mandatory MOT test from annually to bi-annually and for the first mot to be carried out after 4 years from new instead of 3.

Based on the fact that reliability and technology has improved so dramatically then this should be worthy of consideration. But, of course, as much as this proposal could potentially save divers lots of money, on the other side it could cost the motor industry millions in lost revenue, particularly the many thousands of small family businesses that rely on this type of business to keep going.

So is this proposal realistic? Well although cars may be more reliable and components that may, in days gone, have been fixed and now are just replaced, there are still things that wear out. This is precisely what the MOT is there to pick up and remove potentially unreliable dangerous cars from the system so they cannot cause accidents.

In the day to day life of a car sales exec there are many times you would carry out an appraisal on a customer’s car where the tyres are like Kojak’s head (i.e. extremely bald to our younger readers – “who the f*** is Kojak? – ed) or there is a massive crack across the windscreen, or the breaks are virtually metal to metal and so on. The point is if drivers are putting off having their cars regularly maintained for the sake of saving money what are these vehicles likely to be like if the law does not require them to have a new MOT for another year?

There could be carnage on the roads as a result and certainly this would not be welcomed in the trade from a safety point of view let alone a financial one.

There is probably some justification for looking at what a car needs in the way of safety checks at the point it becomes 3 years old but with the likelihood of more potentially going wrong the older the car gets it is vitally important that the car is as safe as possible and roadworthy before being given its certificate.

To be honest another observation is that, in my experience, most drivers would want their cars inspected and MOT’d annually anyway for their own peace of mind. You only need look at the effect of variable servicing regimes with long life oils which enable cars to go much further before the driver needs to get them checked out, namely that more and more drivers and indeed many repairers are having their cars converted back to traditional time and distance service regimes which ensures an annual inspection.

That is it in a nutshell; peace of mind, and you can’t really put a price on that can you?

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3 Responses to You can’t put a price on peace of mind

  1. Mark R October 28, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    An interesting post this and one that resonates through our dealership on a daily basis, we are seeing an increasing number of three and four year old part exchange cars for “downsizing” that quite literally have had nothing whatsoever done to them in that time, only today a 59 plate Fiesta Zetec Sport was offered to us with bald tyres, brake pads worn to a crisp and no service history to speak of, the response from the customer was one we have heard on numerous occasions “It doesn’t need much does it? you will be able to sell this all day long” yes we will, but not until we have spent £500/£700 putting it right ! people are cutting back to extreme levels on all aspects of maintenance and that is starting to have dramatic affects on the value of their vehicles when offered for exchange.

  2. David W. Williams October 28, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    Good point Mark, that is why sales bods need to make sure they look at cars properley when they come in, often the profit on the cars we sell can be lost on the trade-in. People are looking to cut corners left right and centre but in our desparation to sell cars we are all too ready to hope we get away with it. Let’s be honest if we have a 2 yr gap before we MOT someones car we may as well shut up shop its the only way we re making money at present!

  3. Malcolm Henderson November 15, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    Mileage should also be taken into account as it is for servicing. There’s a big difference between a three year old car with 15,000 miles and one with 75,000. If consideration for mileage was a legal requirement drivers would have to ensure servicing was maintained to avoid surprises at MOT time. This would help the industry, improve safety and reduce insurance premiums.

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