Letters from readers, cont-11., November 1960




I have read with interest your comments and those of other informed persons on the, in my opinion, iniquitous 10-year test, and thought that you would probably be interested in my personal experience of this test.

I am the owner of a pre-war Ford Ten, on which I carry out all maintenance and repairs, which I today submitted to a M.O.T. vehicle testing station, a garage in Aylesbury. I called to collect the car at the appointed time and was informed that it was out having the braking test carried out. When it was eventually brought back it was being pushed, and I was told that it had passed the test all right but that the rear axle had broken during the braking test, the diagnosis being a broken crown-wheel or pinion. No apology was made; to them it was “just one of those things you can expect to happen to an old car.”

I was told that I could leave it there for repairs, no date could be be given though for completion. However, they were prepared to tow the vehicle to my home, at my expense, a distance of eight miles, for which they charged me £2 10s. So I am now the proud owner of a car having passed the 10-year test which is completely useless until I have carried out repairs, which will cost a minimum of £7 and could cost up to £20 for spares, depending on the amount of damage.

I read somewhere that these tests were the same as giving garages permission to print their own £5 notes, and this statement I most heartily endorse. I shall of course take this matter up with the Area Office but shall get nowhere with my complaint, because there will be a notice to the effect that. “customers’ cars are driven by our personnel at the owner’s risk,” somewhere in the testing station.

I am particularly infuriated because only a month ago the car underwent a test for insurance purposes. which is a far more stringent test than the 10-year; the comment on the rear axle then was ” sound.”

I feel most strongly that the car owner who is forced to take this test, and they no doubt will be compulsory in the near future, should be completely protected against this sort of thing and should have some redress for damage done to his car whilst undergoing the test. Maybe this is the way of ensuring that the older cars are taken off the road. I hope that you will publish this letter in order that my fellow readers can submit their cars for test with their eyes even wider open.