New checks will ensure cars have fully functional safety systems before being deemed roadworthy.
Don’t panic is the message from the motor industry to car owners, as the Government prepares to add checks on safety systems, including electronic stability control (ESC) and airbags, to the MoT test.
The advice comes after ‘over-dramatised’ reports that drivers could be landed with repair bills of thousands of pounds and the potential to render their car a write-off.
The new checks are set to become part of the MoT test on January 1, 2012. Most will involve an examination of the system’s warning lights and controls, as well as a visual inspection of visible wiring and components. Stuart James, of the Retail Motor Industry Federation, said: ‘Car owners shouldn’t be concerned, so long as they get their cars serviced regularly and act as soon as a warning light is displayed.
‘I think the cost to the consumer of these new checks has been over-dramatised. Yet it can cost £1000 to replace an airbag, but in my experience unless the car has been in a collision, which can take a couple of hours to fix’.
A spokeswoman for the AA said that the new checks could come as an unpleasant shock to people who ignore warning lights, but added ‘We’ve been worried for a long time that modern cars are going into the used market with faulty safety systems, with the next buyer having no idea.
Systems like airbags and ESC are there to reduce casualties so it’s best to know they’re working.’
According to the Department for Transport, cars fitted with ESC are involved in 25% fewer accidents, while airbags save thousands of lives every year.
What’s new in the MoT
Electronic park brake
Checks of the dash light, and the switch’s condition
Visible parts and wiring will be checked as well as the ABS warning lamp
Electronic stability control
A visual check of parts, wiring, dash light and ESC switch.
Must be not obviously defective. Other restraints and all warning lamps will also be checked.
HID and/or LED lamp levelling and washing systems must be present and in all good working order.
Tyre pressure monitoring
Inspection of the TPMS warning lamp applies to cars first used on or after January 1, 2012.
Where cameras replace mirrors, they must not be obscured or damaged so as to impair the rear view.