Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Birmingham, England
Pricey Month + MOT story
Pricey month just on routine stuff, not even on problems.
156 Cambelt £450
Tax Disc £210
Major Service £170
AA Renewal £173
Just over a grand - Insurance due in July , which is around the bloody corner.
Any hows, still managed to save myself £280 + VAt today.
Took my car to a well known national chain of vehicle Servicers on Friday (- NOT the ones that jump in the air in the blue overalls !)
MOT cost was £50- discount with a High Street Loyalty card etc bought it down to £33.
MOT was failed for
1) washers not providing enough water
2) Petrol / fuel seal cap missing
3) Rear n/s o/s trailing arms have excessive play
Ok No. 1) was my fault, I should have checked the water resevoir - totally slipped my mind
No. 2) A week ago, the rubber that held the petrol cap to the flap broke - dried out - so at my last petrol fill I must have left the petrol cap at a petrol pump and didn't even realise until pointed out.
No.3) I was told it would be a cost of £280 (£140 each arm/bar) + VAT if they fixed it and free re-test.
For No.1) I topped up the water - and cleared out the washer jets - from instructions on these forums.
For No.2) I borrowed my brother's petrol cap from his 3 series BMW for the day, until I bought a proper one which may take a few days inclusing delivery etc and I wanted to sort this all out before my tax disc would run out in a couple of days.
I took my car to a guy who did some work on my previous car , Peugeot 406 Coupe and did the MOT on this Alfa when I got it last year, which it passed without a hitch. I asked him for a quote for the trailing arms - thinking he would give me a quote for 2/3 or half the price of the chain, which I would be Happy with. Instead he said pop it up and lets have a look. He had look, stuck a bar in between, checked the bushes etc called over a colleague and said they were fine, in fact looked as good as new for a 2001 car and that someone had made a bad judgement and that he himself would have passed them.
In which case I asked if he could not do the re-test and he said it had to be done by the issuing station - he advised to back to the Test Station and ask them to re-check and if there were still issues I could always have an MOT from him which would pass it (ie pay £40 for a new one - which would still save me £240)
Went back to the National Chain and said I had rectified points 1) and 2) and that I have had an opinion that the arms may not have as much play in them as initially thought and could they please re-check ie a second opinion.
Here is where the Nice as Pie Manager turned into the Hulk - 'I'm not going to undermine my technicians by re-checking, etc etc Fill in a complaints form, VOSA will come and take your vehicle away and look at it and they may fail something else' ; you'll be without a car for who knows how long, blah blah blah.
The whole time I behaved good natured and said I don't want you to undermine anyone or step on anyones' shoes, just want another opinion.
The original mechanic who did the MOT was off today, and another overhearing asked what was the issue but was cut off by the manager. He printed out the Complaints form for me for VOSA etc.
I was about to walk out and go back to the independent and get a new MOT done, and pay again when I turned around and said
' What If i had come in here now and said that I have all the issues on the failure sheet rectified' . What course of action would you take?
He said 'we would do a re-test'.
So I said 'I have rectified all the issues on the sheet, can I have re-test please? It is still before the end of the next working day and the re-test should be free.
His mouth just fell open.
Luckily this afternoon the place was quite empty, he did say come back tommorow or later, I said I would wait - which I did for about 15 mins before my car was up in the air again and this tme I watched.
This new mechanic checked the arms etc, stuck a bar in and said they look fine to him, bushes were ok, he checked a few other things had not orginally worked on it, cheked the failure sheet items and passed it.
Not even an apology from the manager or anything.
So all in all still only £33 spent - but what a hassle.
I thanked the Independent on the way back and will be using him in future.
Moral : Stick to your guns!