VW Golf S80 - MOT and dangerous defect advice please - Loretta Stubbs

I took my car for an MOT to Halfords Autocentre on Tuesday 2 September 2020. Car failed and it had a dangerous defect. I was told that it would be illegal to drive my car as it was now registered on the computer and if I got stopped by the Police this would be illegal. He said he couldn’t stop me from taking the car but pressed the point that it was illegal. I was shocked and totally taken off guard. I’d never heard of a dangerous defect note on an MOT and so felt I had to get the work done at that garage. I thought I had no option. He said he could do it the next day and I needed my car for work so I agreed.

The work was carried out on 03/09/2020. He said it needed new pads and disks on the rear, a brake calliper, window wipers and a stabiliser link but said that he would not charge me for the link.

I spoke to the centre and he went through the costs. It came to £497! I was shocked at the cost and asked for NHS discount which brought it down to £447.81. He said I could pay in instalments with pay assist so 4 payments altogether which I had to accept because I could not afford such a bill. He said again he would not charge for the drop link.

I picked up my car and when he was handing me the paperwork after I had done the pay assist payment, he said the brake pads are “guaranteed for life and that’s why they’re more expensive “. I asked what this actually meant and he said that when they get worn, they would replace them free of charge. I was not given a choice if I wanted pads for life - I should have been asked about this. I would of preferred a less inflated price without the guarantee.
Overall I feel the putting a dangerous defect on a brake pad is over the top. This was on the right rear brake pad at 1.5 mm. I had 3 other brake pads that were not at a dangerous level. I didn’t have any problem with the car braking. I was in shock and thought I had no choice but to get the work done at the centre. There was no suggestion that I could just get the brake pad changed for example so I could leave and go elsewhere.
I found the cost of the parts really expensive. I went online and called 2 car part companies: Fast Parts and Euro Car Parts. The cost of each part was far cheaper with either of these companies. For example a brake calliper £70.80 as opposed to £180 - £109 difference!! Brake disks between £25 and £50 as opposed to £108! The car parts are extortionate. The costs I found through the car part companies came to £143.78 and £239.45. Halfords Autocentre is charging between £159-£250 more. I understand there will be labour charges but I still feel overcharged and I feel like I’ve been ripped off because I am a woman and have an older car. I felt pressurised into having the work done at Halfords when I should have been advised on replacing just the part that had caused the dangerous defect note.

I called the centre and spoke to the manager on 10/09/2020. He said that they never claim to be the cheapest and stands by his MOT tester. He asked me to go to the centre to discuss it further. I hope to go but have not been able to due to work and home commitments. I also find that environment quite intimidating. I cannot afford this bill. I cannot understand how they can treat honest hard working customers in this way.

I would like some advice on how dangerous defects are applied, not receiving any choice for me or decent advice? Any thoughts on what I can do about the inflated costs of the car parts? Why they chose to put even more expensive car parts on without giving me an option on taking a lifetime guarantee?
Sorry if a bit long winded!
Many thanks
VW Golf S80 - MOT and dangerous defect advice please - daveyjp

They took advantage of your naivety and its why anyone would advise to avoid Halfords.

Out of interest did you take advantage of deferring your MOT due to Covid, or was it carried out before the due date?

Edited by Avant on 12/09/2020 at 23:25

VW Golf S80 - MOT and dangerous defect advice please - gordonbennet

Sales pressure used here, nothing new sadly, whether it was unscrupulous is open to debate.

You know now you should have simply taken the failure on the chin, got a quote from them for fixing and driven away, then found other quotes and decided who to give the work to.

Don't dwell too long on it, the job is done, you might have got it done cheaper elsewhere but probably not much cheaper than you might imagine (unless you do the work yourself), the biggie of course is did it really need new discs or would the caliper have been ok with a bit of working and lubing.

On that note, the reason calipers seize (and that's the usual reason for one pad wearing faster than the others) is lack of proper brake servicing, but for that purpose you either need a skilled caring mechanic or do the job yourself.

The good thing is that you'll never need to darken their doorstep again, so whilst you might think they've made some dosh out of you, i suspect that's the last penny they'll ever see from you or anyone else you know...they arn't alone of course, one very large company i won't name is about to lose a multi £million per year contract because they've had the customer/supplier relationship reversed for some time now, seemingly under the impression they were doing the customer concerned a favour by supplying them goods, those responsible can review their attitudes at leisure as they peruse the situations vacant sites.

VW Golf S80 - MOT and dangerous defect advice please - Loretta Stubbs
I certainly won’t ever go back - learnt my lesson but it was an expensive one and it just leaves a bad taste.So are you saying I have the right to drive away after they have declared a dangerous defect and said it would be illegal - is that not the case?
VW Golf S80 - MOT and dangerous defect advice please - Loretta Stubbs
I think I just panicked when I heard dangerous and illegal and didn’t think straight. My MOT was due 23/08/20 and so I just booked in closest place to where I work. I didn’t think the COVID rule applied as MOTs were now available.
VW Golf S80 - MOT and dangerous defect advice please - daveyjp

They probably used the fact your MOT was late against you. Once it 'failed' it has no MOT so they can pressure you into having repairs done.

Next time have it done up to 4 weeks before the due date, if it fails you have time to decide what to do.

VW Golf S80 - MOT and dangerous defect advice please - gordonbennet

Be wary of ever claiming on the free brakes for life thing, yes the pads might be covered, but will another set of discs will be required and another caliper too? they won't be covered.

As Daveyjp above, get yopur next MOT done in good time, of done up to a month before due you keep the anniversary date so effectively 13 months.

I also suggest finding a decent mechanic to keep the car serviced, had this been the case the seized caliper would not have happened because the brake hardware would have lubed etc.

Edited by gordonbennet on 12/09/2020 at 18:57

VW Golf S80 - MOT and dangerous defect advice please - Big John

It is true that if your car fails on a dangerous defect you can't legally drive it away even if the previous MOT was still in date.

Myself I always take my car to a trusted local independent garage. They do MOTs and repairs but after using then for many years I have built up a level of trust with them, They always show me any issues and any old parts swapped out. I always get a quote for any work required - if any! - and if the job turns out to be more difficult (seized bolts etc) they don't usually charge more. More importantly the price always seems to be reasonable and labour rates are much much lower than the main dealers etc. eg I remember new disks and pads on the front of my Skoda Superb were about £150 fitted.

From gov site:-

Driving a vehicle that’s failed

You can take your vehicle away if:

  • your current MOT certificate is still valid
  • no ‘dangerous’ problems were listed in the MOT

Otherwise, you’ll need to get it repaired before you can drive.

If you can take your vehicle away, it must still meet the minimum standards of roadworthiness at all times.

Edited by Big John on 12/09/2020 at 19:38

VW Golf S80 - MOT and dangerous defect advice please - Brit_in_Germany

Dangerous faults being illegal to drive was introduced in 2018:

www.honestjohn.co.uk/news/legal-motoring-advice/20.../

VW Golf S80 - MOT and dangerous defect advice please - Loretta Stubbs
Thank you everyone for your responses. I will certainly get my MOT in good time, it is an older car so I need to expect that it will not necessarily fly through the MOT. I do have it regularly serviced and not due until December, so I am not entirely sure why the caliper had seized, unless again they’ve seen me coming haha! This whole experience doesn’t fill me with confidence in who to trust. Thanks again
VW Golf S80 - MOT and dangerous defect advice please - elekie&a/c doctor
Failing an mot on brake pad thickness is very subjective. The minimum requirement is 1.5 mm thickness. This can be very difficult to judge without taking apart the brake system, which is not permissible during the test . Basically it’s an educated guess at best . Also charging extra for pads that have a lifetime warranty is complete rubbish and a con . Glad the car is back on the road , and hopefully you’ll find a recommended Indy garage next time .
VW Golf S80 - MOT and dangerous defect advice please - Loretta Stubbs
That’s interesting, I thought there might have been a rule book to refer to regarding what is deemed dangerous and of course as they didn’t show me the parts, I only have their word that it was at 1.5 mm. In future I will ask to see the parts taken from my car. Thanks
VW Golf S80 - MOT and dangerous defect advice please - bathtub tom

Did you see the report that said it was dangerous, or was it just the word of the 'sales assistant'?

You can check here: www.gov.uk/check-mot-history

VW Golf S80 - MOT and dangerous defect advice please - Xileno

If you have your car MOT'ed early, then the expiry date of the original MOT is over-ruled.

VW Golf S80 - MOT and dangerous defect advice please - RT

If you have your car MOT'ed early, then the expiry date of the original MOT is over-ruled.

Not unless dangerous faults are found - minor faults don't override the original MoT expiry date.

VW Golf S80 - MOT and dangerous defect advice please - jthan

Before I was aware of the rules on this site about naming and shaming, I put a post here about a fairly similar episode I suffered at a branch of that chain when it was under different ownership, more than 10 years ago. I am most disappointed to infer from the OP's story that things don't seem to have improved - I had hoped the takeover by a well-known name might have improved things, but no way was I ever going back to find out...

VW Golf S80 - MOT and dangerous defect advice please - Heidfirst
That’s interesting, I thought there might have been a rule book to refer to regarding what is deemed dangerou

www.gov.uk/guidance/mot-inspection-manual-for-priv...s

specifically re. brake linings & pads www.gov.uk/guidance/mot-inspection-manual-for-priv...3

VW Golf S80 - MOT and dangerous defect advice please - Falkirk Bairn

IF the OP had gone to a VW franchise his bill would probably as high or HIGHER,

I had my car, a CRV in at at Indie last week - broken front spring, pay on anti-roll bar was noted as was a corroded flange on exhaust.

As the Indie said a Honda garage repair would be a new spring £100 fr a Honda part no one, £70 for an anti-rill bar drop link and a mid section exhaust £110. About £280 + fitting.

My Indie sourced an OEM spring, replaced 2 x bushes not the whole drop link and cut off/welded a new flange - the cost of the parts was roughly £75 + fitting.

£200 difference + Indie charges £45/hour.

My total bill was £340 for the above parts and fitting + minor service & MoT.

VW Golf S80 - MOT and dangerous defect advice please - Andrew-T
... as they didn’t show me the parts, I only have their word that it was at 1.5 mm. In future I will ask to see the parts taken from my car. Thanks

Many years ago I had a fairly new Pug 306 which went to the dealer for servicing at about 25K miles. I was told it needed both front suspension arms replaced. I doubted this at the time and asked to see the old ones. I still suspect that that job was flavour of the month, and the arms they showed me could have come from any car.

VW Golf S80 - MOT and dangerous defect advice please - pd

The amount charged isn't cheap but it's not excessive. Obviously buying the parts yourself and doing it yourself will be cheaper. That applies to anything. It's cheaper to buy washing machine parts yourself and fit them rather than call someone in. Cars are no different.

They were rather heavy-handed on the dangerous bit by the sounds of it but the work would have needed doing at some point anyway.

You could have got cheaper but I bet it would have cost you £300-£350 in any event plus a lot more hassle and running around so although I sympathise I don't think you've been ripped off.

Edited by pd on 13/09/2020 at 14:31

VW Golf S80 - MOT and dangerous defect advice please - Bromptonaut

We had a similar stuck rear brake caliper issue with our Berlingo. Didn't notice the dragging pad, outer nearside, until it was down to the backing and had scored the disc, at which point it became noisy. Not MoT time so that wasn't an issue but no friction material at all would clearly have been 'Dangerous' per the tester's manual linked above.

Cost, at a local fast fit emporium (national outfit but not one that's well known), was about same or slightly more than the OP paid. Possibly I could have got it cheaper elsewhere but we needed the car roadworthy ASAP and I didn't want to drive further than I had to - effectively a distress purchase.

 

Ask Honest John

Value my car