Home » My Ferrari Failed Its Annual Inspection And Made A Total Idiot Of Me

My Ferrari Failed Its Annual Inspection And Made A Total Idiot Of Me

Mot Ts2
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A lot of companies these days make you complete what is known as psychometric testing as part of an employment application process. These as usually done to make sure you’re a good fit for ‘our fast-paced work environment’ or some other such form of Linkedin doublespeak. What companies are actually doing is making sure you’re not a total lunatic who’s going to murder everyone in the building the first time someone steals your milk from the office fridge.

Here at The Autopian, we do something similar, only failing the test is considered essential. No one with any modicum of automotive sanity or a functioning brain gains paid employment inside The Autopian substation (actually a series of dangerously constructed, mildly radioactive tunnels hidden deep underneath Galpin Island). How else to explain Miss Mercedes’ airfield full of non-functioning Panzers? S. W. Gossin’s front yard full of non-functioning junkyard orphans? Torch’s back yard full of non-functioning oh you get the idea. Even the members of staff without permanent dirt under their fingernails are not immune. LA David is showing worrying signs of recidivism. Matt bought an old BMW with Apollo capsule miles and is keeping his fingers crossed it doesn’t blow up. And last week my old Ferrari failed its annual MOT test immediately rendering it non-roadworthy in the eyes of the UK Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (only not quite, and I was a spectacular idiot, but we’ll get to that).

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

What is a MOT test? Let me guide you my colonial cousins, through the thicket of British motoring bureaucracy. Every motor vehicle used by the public on the highway in the United Kingdom, with a few exceptions for things like farm equipment and military vehicles, is subject to an annual test of its roadworthiness and level of exhaust emissions – it’s basically analogous to state testing in the US for the states that have them.

Mot Tester
Photo: KwikFit/Newspress

It takes about half an hour, and is carried out by certified tester at an approved location with the required equipment (most garages offer an MOT service). A valid MOT certificate confirms the vehicle meets the minimum standards of safe operation and environment standards on the date the certificate was issued. It is part of the triad of things legally required to use a car (or bike, or commercial vehicle) on the road. The others are valid insurance (durrr) and Vehicle Excise Duty (colloquially known as road tax). You must have a valid MOT certificate to use or park your car on the road, so getting caught driving without any one of these things (or of course a driving license) will result in flashing blue lights in your rearview mirror and your collar being felt by His Majesty’s Constabulary.

What Gets Inspected

The MOT test got it’s name from the then Ministry of Transport, which originally introduced it as a voluntary road worthiness inspection in 1960, only originally applying to cars that were over ten years old. It basically just made sure the brakes, lights and steering of a car worked properly. The voluntary period ended in 1961 but because it was catching so many barely functioning death traps, in 1967 the age of cars being tested was lowered from ten years old to three. Over the years, the number of items the test covers has expanded considerably, but essentially it covers anything that has an impact on the safe operation of the vehicle, and its exhaust emissions. Listed below is what the MOT tester looks at, courtesy of our friends at F1 Autocentres:

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Under the DVSA (formerly VOSA) requirements, a MOT will test all these important items on your car to check that they meet the legal requirements:

  • Exhaust and emissions – the exhaust should be secure without any serious leaks and vehicle emissions should meet the necessary requirements, which are dependent on the age and fuel type of the vehicle.
  • Seat belts – all compulsory seat belts must be in place and are checked for security, operation and condition.
  • Steering – the steering wheel should be in an acceptable condition and securely attached to the steering shaft
  • Windscreen – this will be checked for all aspects affecting the driver’s view of the road; its condition, the wipers and the washers.
  • Bonnet catch – this will be tested to ensure that it securely latches in the closed position.
  • Horn – the horn should be operational and of a suitable volume to be heard by pedestrians and other vehicles.
  • Number plate – the registration plate should be present and secure, not faded, dirty or obscured. All letters must conform to the approved font design with the correct spacing between them.
  • Lights – all required lights are checked to ensure that they are operational, in a good condition and secure.
  • Brakes – their condition, efficiency, operation and performance will be tested to ensure that they meet the legal requirements.
  • Tyres and wheels – tyres must be the correct size, condition, type and must have the correct tread depth.
  • Mirrors – mirrors will be checked to make sure that they are secure and visible from the driver’s seat and that they are not distorted or damaged so as to impair the driver’s view to the rear.
  • Doors – both front doors must be operational and have the facility to be opened from inside and outside the vehicle.
  • Seats – the driver and passenger seats must be secure and all seat backs in a stable upright position.
  • Suspension – suspension is checked and must be of a satisfactory operational condition.
  • Fuel system – this should have no leaks and the fuel filler cap must fasten securely.
  • Body and structure – the car body must be free from damage and excess corrosions.

Pictured below is a copy of the actual checklist the MOT tester uses:

Mot Inspection Checklist Vt29 Adrian’s Macbook Pro (2)

As you can see, some of these are pretty straightforward ‘is it working yes or no’ and some appear to be more open to interpretation. However the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency lays out very clearly how each item is assessed and what constitutes a pass or a fail, so in actual fact it’s quite black and white. Defects are classed as minor, major or dangerous. Major and dangerous defects result in an instant fail and mean your vehicle cannot be driven on the road until it is repaired, even if its previous MOT certificate is still valid. You would have to get it repaired at that test center, or get it recovered somewhere else. Driving a vehicle on the road without a valid MOT could potentially get you fined up to £1000, but if your car fails with a dangerous defect and you get caught driving it, that increases to £2500 and three penalty points on your license. Here’s a helpful explainer from the UK’s equivalent to Autozone, Halfords.

All My Christmases Came Early

Now the dodgier among you will no doubt be thinking there must be ways around this pinko-commie-Euro government interference in my constitutional right to drive a sketchy vehicle held together with pigeon shit welding and brake response measured in minutes. The UK doesn’t have a constitution like the US does, but in days gone past, well yeah, that was kind of possible.

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My bastard of a step-father certainly bluffed some of our family crates through an MOT with rockers full of old newspaper and filler, liberally covered up with underseal. No dodgy under-the-arches mechanic in the seventies and eighties worth his salt stayed in business without knowing a ‘friendly’ local tester who could sort out an iffy MOT on a handshake and a drink. The MOT certificate came off a pad, was filled in by hand and the only authentication was the garage stamp at the bottom. Back in the mid-nineties when my mates and I finally made friends with someone who could sort out a ‘ticket’ for our daily driver shitbox Fords it was like all our Christmases had come at once.

I can’t remember exactly what my Capri 2.8 injection failed on, but our guy told me to ‘get that sorted’ with a wink as he handed me the sacred document that meant I was legal again. These types of shenanigans ended in 2005 when a computerized MOT database system was introduced, making the whole thing a lot more secure and accountable. The old-style certificates are no longer issued, and the results are instantly updated, so the police can tell straight away if a vehicle is being driven illegally. The good thing about this is a vehicle’s MOT records are online for everyone to see, so if you’re thinking about buying a car in the UK you can check out its MOT history if you have the registration number.

Mot4
The old fashioned paper MOT certificate

Which was how I ended up with a major spanner in the works last week. My friend Lewis runs Takona, a small brand centered around raising mental health awareness through cars. They have regular Coffee and Cars meetups up and down the country, and the first of these was happening last Sunday morning. I thought this would be a perfect first 2024 outing for the Ferrari, so booked the MOT test for lunchtime on the Thursday before. I knew the MOT was rapidly approaching the top of my to-do list – but I didn’t foresee any problems because it passed last year without any issues. The trouble is an old Ferrari behaves a lot like me – moody and uncooperative when it’s cold and grey outside.

But it fired straight up after about four weeks hibernation, nothing new was leaking out underneath and the appropriate lights came on with the appropriate switches. Great. I drove the few minutes to the local garage (who had tested it for me last year) and after explaining to the tester about the dog-leg first gear and fly-off hand brake lest he end up backing through the roller shutter door, sat down to wait.

And it failed. In a rare display of recalcitrant Italian electronic misbehavior, the horn refused to work. Shocking I know. Major defect. Instant fail. Asshats.

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I wanted to use the car Sunday. That meant I had exactly a day and a half to get it sorted and re-tested so I would be legal to drive (or so I thought…). Panic ensued. Could I channel my inner David and pull of this herculean repair in time? How complicated could it be? I knew it couldn’t be something as simple as the fuse – a quick glance at the wiring diagram told me other things ran off the same fuse that I knew were working – namely the cigarette lighter and the stereo. Maybe the relay? Possibly I could pull the old switcheroo and take one out of something not required for the test. Several minutes of messing about in the gathering gloom outside confirmed it wasn’t the relay either. Next point of investigation, the horn button.

Giving My Neighbors The Horn

After removing the prancing horse in the middle of the Momo with the aid of a couple of trim tools, I was able to earth out the spade connector to the metal steering wheel boss. No honk. This was starting to look more complicated and expensive by the minute. The steering wheel was going to have to come off, so I could look at the switch behind it. My suspicions that this was where the root of the problem lay arose partly because the indicators had stopped self-cancelling. Not a MOT failure, but enough to convince me something was amiss back there. But the steering wheel was held onto the column with a ring nut, which required a special socket to remove it. Because of course it fucking did. Having learned from my previous wrenching experience I rang Superformance straight away; just in the nick of time to make the post for the next day. At a cost of eighty three quid. Ouch.

Img 1909

Suitably tooled up Friday morning I struggled to get the socket onto the nut, and inadvertently earthed the spade connector against the inner boss of the steering wheel again. HOOOOONNNNK! You have got to be kidding me. Either HMS Queen Elizabeth was coming up my street or that was the dulcet mating call of a 1983 Ferrari Mondial QV. I took the socket off, and touched the connector to the inner boss again. HOOOOONNNNNNK!

This was both good and bad. Good, because it meant the fault wasn’t the horn compressor, a fault at the fuse box or something else that was no longer available and therefore expensive. Bad because what the hell? I reconnected the horn switch, pressed it back into the middle of the steering wheel. and pushed the button. Deafening silence. Bollocks. I pried the button off again, removed the connecter and earthed it. Nothing. Double bollocks. The steering wheel was definitely going to have to come off.

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After removing the ring nut the steering wheel was not budging. I needed a hub puller, which naturally I didn’t have. An hour later and twenty five pounds lighter, I had the steering wheel in my hands. Behind the wheel sat a round plastic donut on the steering column. This had a rotary contact for the live feed to the horn wiring, and two plastic tabs that clicked the indicator stalk as they rotated passed it, cancelling the indicators. It wasn’t sitting flat for some reason, so I pulled it off, cleaned up all the electrical contacts with cleaner, and gently pressed the brush contact backwards so the rotary contact piece would sit flat. After gingerly placing the steering wheel back on the column, I again earthed out the space contact to the horn switch. HOOOOONNNNNK. Connect the horn button to make sure before bolting it all back up. HOOOOOOONNNNNNK.

In Your Face, David

Mot1

Mot2
The Modnial’s MOT history screenshotted from the Gov.uk website

Perfect. Ring nut securing the steering wheel back in place, column trim screwed back on, horn button affixed back in the middle of the steering wheel. Let me just make sure. HOOOOOONNNNK. It’s bad enough for the neighbors when I start the bloody thing. Best not to make it worse with incessant honking. Toasting my success with a well-earned cup of coffee, I arranged to have the re-test done Friday afternoon, meaning I would be nice and legal for Sunday morning.

Mot5
Hahaha what kind of dickhead puts an Autopian sticker on a Ferrari?
Mot6
One of these cars is considerably faster than the other…..

Yep, all that rushing around, paying extra to get a specialist tool delivered overnight, running out to buy another tool, sweet-talking the nice MOT man into squeezing me in at the last moment on Friday afternoon when no doubt he was looking forward to getting down the pub, had all paid off. I had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. In your FACE David Tracy! Gaze upon my works and tremble! Coffee and Cars attended, Ferrari admired, pictures taken, doubles all ’round…

Except.

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Then at the beginning of this week it dawned on me I had been a colossal, monumental, heroically massive, total dipshit. On the Jason scale of dipshittery, well just call me Adrian Torchinsky. Dipshit Town had a new mayor. Me. Why? Because since 2018, cars over forty years old no longer require a valid MOT. It’s not something you have to apply for like Vehicle Excise Duty exemption. You just simply don’t need to get your car tested once it has had it’s fortieth birthday.

The Mondial turned forty last March. All that panic, stress and expense was unnecessary.

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SonOfLP500
SonOfLP500
3 months ago

After more than 60 years of “Her”, “His Majesty’s…” still brings me up short.

Thomas The Tank Engine
Thomas The Tank Engine
3 months ago

“…you can check out its MOT history if you have the registration number.”

Fellow Brits know that this also is a valuable resource when browsing used cars.

D0nut
D0nut
3 months ago

Fantastic ending. Made me literally laugh out loud!

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
3 months ago

 “You just simply don’t need to get your car tested once it has had it’s fortieth birthday.”

Well look at the bright side… now you’re extra safe because without that horn functioning, it might have led to FIERY DEATH…

Last edited 3 months ago by Manwich Sandwich
Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
3 months ago

It’s an Italian exotic. That is always an option, surely?

67 Oldsmobile
67 Oldsmobile
3 months ago

The end of this story made me laugh out loud whil sitting on the shitter, so it wasn’t all for nothing Adrian. Also, good job????

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
3 months ago
Reply to  67 Oldsmobile

Side note: Did you have any CORN???
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTRk_-lCCXA

Alpine 911
Alpine 911
3 months ago

Brilliant. Truly enjoy your stories, especially this one. But the plate asks for an upgrade to a Ferrari 456. Lots of stories would come out.

Art of the Bodge
Art of the Bodge
3 months ago

My mk1 MR2 also had a Horn fail for last year’s MOT – a dodgy contact in the aftermarket wheel switch. Easiest retest I’ve ever had- drove around the back of the garage to the drop off area and happens to catch the tester as he was walking across the yard. Demonstrated the now perfectly functioning (if weedy) horn and he went and fetched the pass certificate. Never got out of the car.

My E91 is in tomorrow and I’m not expecting that to be as smooth sailing.

Karl Bonde
Karl Bonde
3 months ago

Thank you Adrian, that was a wonderful piece of prose.

For whatever reason, it reminds me of how I thought I absolutely had to open up the rear hatch of my old Volvo XC70 in order to give it a jump start (battery in the trunk/hatch/boot). If I would have been smart about it, I would have thought about the positive battery jump point under the hood/bonnet, but I was freaked out that day.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
3 months ago

On the subject of David Tracy, the MOT is almost directly comparable to the German TuV, as described in the saga of Project Krassler. Decades of reading Practical Classics have given me more knowledge of UK regulations than I need. Here in Oregon we have no safety inspection and only have emissions inspection in the Portland and Medford regions so all I do is pay money for a sticker every two years.
I suppose the bright side is that you know your car is in full working order and next year you won’t worry about the MOT.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
3 months ago
Reply to  Slow Joe Crow

Also you’re better off than all the Landrover 12 seat station wagon owners in the 2010s who suddenly had to get a PSV license and a tachograph or saw 6″ off the rear bench seats to make them legally 10 seat vehicles.

Space
Space
3 months ago
Reply to  Slow Joe Crow

Let’s hear that story, personal experience?

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
3 months ago
Reply to  Space

It was in the Landrover Monthly and Landrover Owner magazines at the time. Back in the day, having 12 seats meant it was a minibus for tax purposes but a change in the rules meant that anyone who got their license after the mid 90s would need an endorsement and may have needed a tachograph. One way around this was to shorten the two inward facing seats in the way back so the vehicle became a 10 seater. UK regs specified minimum width per seat.

Rod Millington
Rod Millington
3 months ago

Reminds me of the time when I was living in WNY and needed to get my E34 540/6 through inspection. A lot of places didn’t like it because it was old, German and a manual.

The first place? Oh, your rear brake pads are low, you’ll need to change those in 8000mi so I’m failing you. Not dangerously low, not steel on steel, just need replacing soon.

Second place? CEL came on during the test. Not a failure in an OBD1 car in NY. Failed me.

Third place? Failed for excessive play in front suspension. That one was valid and fixing it made such a difference in driving.

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
3 months ago
Reply to  Rod Millington

I got failed in Upstate NY for missing a part that didn’t exist for my car, and wasn’t required for inspection.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
3 months ago

The HOOOOONKs gave it a delightful Untitled Goose Game vibe, 10/10 would fail again

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
3 months ago

Here near Milwaukee, we don’t have inspections other than emissions. Only a few counties, actually, majority of the state has nothing. Why? Because dirty ass air from Chicago blows up here, and sets off the EPAs sniffers, and says “your city is dirty, clean it up” and forces everyone to get emissions tests. It’s stupid.

I ‘keep’ all my cars in other counties. ;P

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
3 months ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

Also here near Milwaukee, I wish we had inspections like this. So much crap driving around here with damage from previous accidents, rust, and parts ready to fall off. A proper inspection would work wonders for the safety of our roads.

rctothefuture
rctothefuture
3 months ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

“oh, your car failed emissions testing? Just register it in another county!”

CTSVmkeLS6
CTSVmkeLS6
3 months ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

Yep it says ‘vehicle kept in county of’ meaning if outside of the 2 population centers- no emissions, renew the sticker online, no problem. Cool for enthusiast but you do see so much ridiculous broken ass junk driving around all the time. It really makes you think! Lol

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
3 months ago

Ha! Karma has struck you for all of those vile, nasty things you said about the E-Type!
∋━━へ(⚈Д⚈)へ

( ͡~ ͜ʖ ͡°)

Last edited 3 months ago by Shooting Brake
ADDvanced
ADDvanced
3 months ago
Reply to  Shooting Brake

Upvote for Lenny face

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
3 months ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

(*ˊᗜˋ*)/ᵗᑋᵃᐢᵏ ᵞᵒᵘ*

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
3 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

True, but with 40 quid less left in the old piggy bank. ヽ(͡◕ ͜ʖ ͡◕)ノ

Sandshadow
Sandshadow
3 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

I will quote my father “I’ve never regretted buying a tool”

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
3 months ago
Reply to  Sandshadow

The complete quote ends with “but I will always regret fathering one”

Black Peter
Black Peter
3 months ago

I have two funny (IMO) inspection stories; the first (in Massachusetts) on my Mk1 MR2, I would get it tested at the same garage where I happened to know the testing tech. No matter what I did to the car it always passed, monkeying with the air flow sensor, removing the EGR etc. Well one year I went in and failed, “What??” my acquaintance wasn’t working there any longer… I happened to see him a short while later at a party “Hey Baker! My car failed inspection!” Dude (it was the 80’s) your car always failed inspection, sometimes I had to hold the sniffer (for emissions) a like 2 feet away. A tune up actually passed me, but “hey, you could have let me know!”
The second was when I was visiting my dad (again in Massachusetts) and he asked me to get his early Eagle Talon (non turbo) inspected. First part was getting it out of the garage, it had sat so long the tire were flat spotted, I thunk thunk thunked down to the garage. The boy and I poked around a small junk yard then the mechanic told me it was ready; it passed. “Thanks, any work needed before next inspection?” Nope, there’s absolutely no way that car lasts long enough to make it to the next inspection.
“Great! I’ll pass that on!”
State inspections are crazy, at least here in Arizona the inspection is done by AZDOT, the focus is on emissions and nothing else (OBD2 if equipped, rolling road if not) and gas cap operation. In Texas the inspection is done by independent shops, that just so happen to carry every part you’re likely to fail for (what a coinkidink) I have failed for wipers blades, low power steering fluid and (rightly) weak rear brakes. The fluids and wiper blades offered at a mere 3-4X retail. Minnesota has nothing, but actually the cars on the road were in better shape than most states.
Oh one more: in the 90s Massachusetts started enforcing motorcycle inspections, they linked it to the registration sticker on the plate. Well Saturdays suddenly became huge motorcycle meet ups as everyone who was shirking inspections flooded the garages. Waiting my turn I noticed everyone was “walking” their bikes into the garage, I asked the guy next to me in line “What’s that about?” They have to check exhaust noise (by ear not a meter) but there’s no rule that the engine has to be running during the inspection. Box ticked, on your way!

Last edited 3 months ago by Black Peter
Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
3 months ago

Nonfunctional horn is a Major Defect? Of the same order as lack of brakes or falling off steering? Seems odd, I use my horn about annually.

Regarding safety inspections: About half of the US states have mandatory safety inspections. In inspection states, crashes due to mechanical failure are so infrequent compared to driver’s error crashes as to be rather negligible. In non-inspection states, crashes due to mechanical failure are also so infrequent compared to driver’s error crashes as to be rather negligible. This is roughly the same for rusty and non-rusty states.

It’s less that people don’t try to drive deathtraps down the road and more that inspections are remarkably bad at stopping them. Too many dodgy shops that will pass anything with a wink, as Adrian described.

Cerberus
Cerberus
3 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Having gone to school in Detroit, MI with no inspections and residing in MA where there are, I couldn’t disagree more. Even having to sometimes scramble to pass, I became a big proponent of inspections after seeing and having to avoid the demolition derby of broken down, rotted shitboxes that littered the roads in MI (including vehicles blocking streets—even an on-ramp—with wheels broken off underneath them) that would have been failed out a decade previous in MA. The rare stand-out terrible cars here are running on long-expired stickers and still don’t approach the common junkers I saw in Detroit.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
3 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/Publication/812506

The numbers don’t lie. You’re 47x more likely to get taken out due to bad driving than a car problem.

I had different feelings about car safety inspections before I read about these numbers. I think everybody should check their car occasionally for safety issues, but I don’t think the state needs to mandate it.

I almost never see unsafe or broken cars in my non-inspection state of Idaho. I do see crashes caused by poor driving all the time.

Texas recently stopped doing state safety inspections because they decided the program wasn’t doing anything.

Cerberus
Cerberus
3 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

I don’t want is to share the roads with even worse shit boxes than are out there. I don’t want to live where I have to negotiate a broken minivan blocking an on ramp (not that it would likely sit there for 4 months here, like it did in Detroit) or where broken junk congregates collecting more junk and trash around it with that type of gravity that garbage has to attract more garbage (Broken Window Theory) any more than I want to live around crack houses and graffiti-covered industrial buildings regardless of whether some numbers say I’m more likely to fall down the stairs than to get mugged in those areas.

But, if I did care about percentages and numbers, I would argue that there are far less junkers driving fewer miles than cars without major mechanical defects, making crashes less likely per miles driven, and who is actually recording and tracking the information? We’re not talking plane crashes, unless there’s a fatality where they might put some effort in, we’re talking cops who are not trained mechanics and are not taking vehicles apart for inspection who want to get traffic moving ASAP and they record the most obvious reason for a crash if the crash is serious enough to warrant police response in the first place. But, don’t go by me, go by the link you provided: “There were no detailed inspections of vehicles during the NMVCCS on-scene crash investigation; the vehicle-related critical reasons were mainly inferred through external visual inspection of the vehicle components. This resulted in only mostly external, easily visible factors (tires, brakes, steering column, etc.) that were cited as the few vehicle-related critical reasons. The related statistics may not, therefore, be representative of the role of other internal vehicle related problems that might have led to the crash”.

Ignoring my (thankfully brief) experience as a mechanic dealing with clueless cheapskates with little to no regard for the condition of their vehicle and its safety (minivan full of kids with the brake rotors worn down to the vents? Nah, it’s fine), I live in a country where they had to mandate TPMS because morons couldn’t so much as check their tire pressure and brake-throttle overrides were implemented because people were hitting the wrong pedal and insisting the vehicles were running away from them on their own. These people and many others do not check their car’s safety. They wouldn’t even now what to check and, with the isolation and solidity of modern cars, serious problems can be masked for quite a while before it’s obvious enough for the typical oblivious driver to think about bringing it in to get looked at, when they get around to it and when they can find a mechanic who has an opening.

I don’t know about Texas’ inspection program, but that’s one of the last states I would trust to have been properly implementing something like that in the first place.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
3 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

Tires, brakes, and steering are pretty much the only safety critical parts of a car, and suspension, but only because of the suspensions effect on tires brakes and steering. What other car issues are likely to cause a crash? Not a broken horn.

“they had to mandate TPMS because morons couldn’t so much as check their tire pressure” I want to point out that tpms was mandated mainly in an effort to improve fuel economy, which in my opinion has been a colossal failure.

I completely agree that plenty of drivers are severely undertrained, ignorant, and negligent, but the fact remains that I have never seen or personally heard of a crash due to a safety issue with the car, and NHTSA agrees with me that car issues are a vanishingly small contributor to total danger on the roads. The video of a wheel coming off of a pickup and nailing a Kia Soul on the freeway blew up because it was so notable and rare.

If we agree that the issue is that people are stupid and ignorant, since that is the source of 100% of driver error crashes and 97% of mechanical failure crashes, then can we agree that the humongous amount of taxpayer money spent on inspections could be better spent on driver training and testing?

In my opinion, a basic lights, tires, and fluids check should be part of the required knowledge for a driver’s license. It already is for CDLs. If we actually trained drivers better, and had tests that weren’t a joke, that would help with both the 94% of crashes and the 2% of crashes. Win win.

R Rr
R Rr
3 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Texas stopped requiring vehicle inspections, but replaced the inspection fee with an identical fee to be paid to the State called “inspection replacement fee”

So instead of getting something for your money, now the State of Texas just takes that money from you 🙂

Last edited 3 months ago by R Rr
Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
3 months ago
Reply to  R Rr

I did leave out that particular gem. If that doesn’t help prove that vehicle inspections are designed to make the state money, I don’t know what does.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
3 months ago
Reply to  R Rr

So much for freedom from big government taxation.

R Rr
R Rr
3 months ago

Yeah, the ‘party of small government’ is not even pretending anymore

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
3 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Oddly enough, given how much California regulates road transport, we don’t have safety inspections here. I periodically see the odd shitbox hanging on by a thread, but as far as I know, the crashes I’ve seen have been due to asshattery from the squishy apparatus behind the steering wheel.

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
3 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

Yeah, I’ve dealt with a shady inspection station in the past. Hell, I just saw my trustworthy place apparently closed. So now I need find a new place this year. Sucks.

But I’ve seen too many heaps with bald tires from non-inspection states to advocate for getting rid of it.

Bracq P
Bracq P
3 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Maybe in general people take care of a roadworthy condition because it is them or loved ones riding in it?

Sid Bridge
Sid Bridge
3 months ago

If it makes you feel better, I keep regular license plates on my ’68 4-4-2 and take it in for inspection every year because I know me. If I didn’t do that I would miss some kind of safety thing I should be checking on my own. I like to have the shop look at it… and Virginia state inspection isn’t a pushover. They don’t check emissions, but all the lights and safety equipment need to work.

I mean, if I had a Ferrari, not sure how that would go for me, though. When the horn doesn’t work in an Oldsmobile it’s always a cheap fix.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
3 months ago

I just put a new horn in my 1993 Honda Today, after having had it inspected (w/o functioning horn) in August. I don’t drive it much, but I noticed its absence every few blocks since I live in NYC. Replacement had to be located in Japan, so it took quite a while to acquire.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
3 months ago

Did you forget the Beatles sticker? 😉

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
3 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

I’m on so many lists. Sigh.

But seriously, I have now read the whole post and have to say, I can 100% relate. That 40 year shit is exactly the kind I would do. In the immortal words of Bill Clinton, I feel your pain. But also, thank you for sharing this idiotic moment, as it definitely makes me feel less alone with my own special kind of dumbassery.

As consolation I’m going send you a box set of all The Beatles CDs. Enjoy.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
3 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

Thank you.

Enough of that drug fueled Kid Bop masquerading as rock and roll.

Top Ten Overrated Bands Of All Time:
1. The Beatles
2. Nirvana
3- 10 are debatable.

Last edited 3 months ago by Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Thx1138
Thx1138
3 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

What are your thoughts on The Sisters of Mercy?

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
3 months ago

That was like an entire novel, with all those ups and downs and then the rug pull at the end.

SonOfLP500
SonOfLP500
3 months ago
Reply to  Vetatur Fumare

Shades of Tom Jones.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
3 months ago

Come to Oklahoma! No vehicle inspections OF ANY KIND. Also, if you can somehow get plates from one of the recognized tribes, there is a possibility, due to court rulings, non-tribal police may not have the ability to give you a ticket!

I’ve also read that it’s estimated that as much as 20% of vehicles on Oklahoma roads aren’t insured! WOO-HOO!!

Protodite
Protodite
3 months ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

I had no idea the tribal nations had plates until I saw a vehicle in NYC with Cherokee plates and I was shocked! I never saw that before and they looked pretty damn cool tbh

Al Camino
Al Camino
3 months ago

And here I thought that the MOT was the Ministry of Truth.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
3 months ago

My laugh is one of familiarity, at least the part about unexpected stuff going wrong with old cars and finding a way to fix it.

Now, if California would just decide my 35 year-old car didn’t need to be smogged anymore.

Great article!

Pneumatic Tool
Pneumatic Tool
3 months ago

As a resident of Pennsylvania, I can attest that you are getting off a little light with the MOT inspection. Our regs are clearly spelled out pretty clearly, with little left to the imagination or interpretation by mechanics. And yeah, we have emissions too (at least where I live – not sure if that’s statewide). Got a CEL lit? you fail. Try to disconnect the battery to clear the code? Fail because the computer can read that as well. Coming in to the state from the south and have tinted windows all around? fail. And so on…

To those who aren’t familiar with all of this (AKA – haven’t lived here all their lives) this may seem draconian and heavy handed. Honestly, some of the stuff is, like having literally every factory-installed light (including fog lamps) functional or fail, but there’s some benefits. In a state that has a lot of fairly old stock running around, especially in rural areas, you don’t see the kind of roadside carnage – like cars with broken tie rods, failed steering, or ball joint failures – that you tend to see in states where there are less (or no) inspection regulations. The benefit is that a vast majority of cars that are clearly neglected and downright dangerous to both driver and others on the road are less of an issue here.

Are there ways around it? Sure…find an urban taxi cab company that inspects their own fleet and slip the guy some extra cash and you’ll probably get a sticker. How? Well, if you inspect your own, in your own garage, you are obliged to hang a sign stating that you are an official PA inspection station and, by law, have to provide the same service to the general public.

Tbird
Tbird
3 months ago
Reply to  Pneumatic Tool

I believe Emissions is based on county population density. My county requires Emissions testing but most neighboring don’t. Agree you see far less broken down cars roadside on PA than neighboring states and you have confidence the car in the lane next to you can steer and stop.

Last edited 3 months ago by Tbird
Tbird
Tbird
3 months ago
Reply to  Tbird

PA also has 5000 mile emissions exemption (if you accrue less than 5000 miles in a year between inspections) and I believe a 25 year permanent exemption. I believe all cars still require the annual safety inspection.

Delta 88
Delta 88
3 months ago
Reply to  Tbird

I believe all cars still require the annual safety inspection.

Unless you have it registered as a Classic or Antique

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
3 months ago
Reply to  Delta 88

Next time my doc reminds me to schedule a colonoscopy, I’ll just tell her I’m an antique and exempt from her inspection requirements.

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
3 months ago
Reply to  Tbird

Emissions testing is almost always because the area fails a “National Ambient Air Quality Standard”. Any populated area seems to fail for particulate matter and ozone.

Anyway, under the Clean Air Act, the state that has an area fail has to put together a plan to address air quality. Car emission inspections is part of the plan.

So you get emissions inspections around the big city, but the rural area two counties over doesn’t.

Delta 88
Delta 88
3 months ago
Reply to  Pneumatic Tool

And yeah, we have emissions too (at least where I live – not sure if that’s statewide)

It is not. Off of the top of my head, I know Indiana and Armstrong counties don’t do it. Also, in fact, if your address is in an exempt county, but you actually live in a county that requires it, you have to make a note of it on your registration.

I have a hard time thinking the inspections in this state are a bad idea because the wintertime salt is just havoc on undercarriages

Tbird
Tbird
3 months ago
Reply to  Delta 88

Westmoreland County! Hello neighbor.

Last edited 3 months ago by Tbird
Delta 88
Delta 88
3 months ago
Reply to  Tbird

Howdy! Enjoying this beautiful warm weather? Lol

Protodite
Protodite
3 months ago
Reply to  Delta 88

Yeah no emissions here in the Skook, definitely the sparser places get out of it. Annoying as it may be, I do think the annual inspections are good. It’s mandated but it’s actually useful, rather than what you get in other states where you have to go through government paperwork, pay them, make it annoying, and then really have it do nothing of real value. My uncle’s Honda Element, though it ran fine, just got killed because the inspection showed massive frame rust. Sad as it is, that’s the reality of the road and it’s better it was caught then being really horrific failure.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
3 months ago
Reply to  Pneumatic Tool

Pennsylvania used to also fail anything with rust perforation on the body panels, on the grounds that jagged, sharp rust holes were dangerous to anyone standing around the car when it was parked. Lead to some very sketchy newspaper and Bondo repair jobs in the ’70s, but I think they relaxed that at some point. Or else everyone just switched to using that shiny silver tape instead.

They did use to give you a pass on the CHMSL, on the grounds that apparently some manufacturers used weird bulb sizes on them in the ’80s and it wasn’t always easy to replace them

Space
Space
3 months ago
Reply to  Pneumatic Tool

Could you roll down your windows and disconnect the fuse to get around the tint inspection?

Cal67
Cal67
3 months ago
Reply to  Space

Most safety inspections require that the driver’s and passenger’s windows be checked to ensure that they go up and down properly.

Space
Space
3 months ago
Reply to  Cal67

That’s inconvenient, I’m glad I don’t live with inspections or my duct tape fix I had for 2 years would be a fail.
Plastic window regulators should have never been a thing, thanks late 90’s GM.

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
3 months ago

Although embarrassing, I wouldn’t worry about the horn failure too much.

As they age, many people have to go through certain procedural routines, sometimes involving special instruments, in order to get horny.

The main thing, is that it all resulted in a successful toot at the end.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
3 months ago
Reply to  Doctor Nine

It’s not fifty years old yet.
You can go ahead and take that particular surgical glove off Doc.

Last edited 3 months ago by Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Chronometric
Chronometric
3 months ago

Italian girls…

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