Why has our MINI Cooper S failed its MoT on faulty headlight washers?

We have a 2007 MINI Cooper S convertible. At its recent MoT we were told the car has failed as both the headlight washers are not working. The probable reason given for the fault was "driving on bumpy roads" or being hit in a car park. There are no marks to indicate the latter - and why both washers anyway? Apparently there is no evidence of a car design fault. We have had the car since new, now 38,000 miles, and only one washer has been operating most of the time. We did have that replaced two years or so ago at a cost of £498. We accepted that as "just one of these things". But two questions: Why is the inoperative headlight washer a "fail" when many cars do not have them in the first place? And are MINIs not supposed to drive over bumps? Is there an alternative to the £1000 bill to be paid to enable our car to pass its MoT?

Asked on 28 September 2013 by JH, Treslothan,

Answered by Honest John
This must be part of the stiffer MoT now finally introduced after a implementation of a Directive from Brussels was delayed. Lots of things that were previously not failures are now failures. All original 'safety' equipment must work. A missing or damaged pedal rubber is now a fail, and tyres not of the manufacturer-specified speed rating are a fail. Back in the 1990s, when ABS failure became an MoT fail, I concentrated on buying cars to sell that did not have ABS. Because headlight wash was not a standard feature you may be able to have it removed entirely. ‘The MoT Files’, that show what every car is most likely to fail on so owners can address the issues beforehand, is now at: www.honestjohn.co.uk/
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