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MOT Nightmares - I ended-up tossing a coin!

Discussion in 'transport' started by claphamboy, Jun 7, 2012.

  1. claphamboy

    claphamboy The wheels on the bus go round and round....

    I'll briefly paint the picture here, I only need a cheap little round-a-round - and this 1996 Clio is exactly that, insurance company estimates it's worth £295, but they don't know, for example, that the electric window in the driver's door is fucked and the main dealer quoted over £300 to fix it, and there's a couple of other things that would cost about the same to fix, but are also not that important, so basically, in theory, it's worth less than fuck all. :D

    I had expected trouble at last year's MOT, but amazingly it passed without anything at all being needed to be done, but they flagged-up problems ahead, as you would expect for a car of that age.

    Thinking there was no way I was going to bother to take it back to a main dealer this year, as they tend to like to replace rather than repair parts and have stupid hourly labour rates, I was resigned to spunking a couple of grand for a replacement.

    Then, by chance a new independent garage opened in the village and shortly after some twat drove into the back of me, just breaking the nearside light unit, so I popped in there to get a quote. Whilst waiting I overheard the chap explaining to another customer that he had repaired a part rather than replacing it, saving them 'x' amount, and thought :hmm: - I like what I am hearing.

    When I first started driving I always knew/used trustworthy independent garages, but over the years I've moved around a lot and for most of the last 20-odd years I've had company cars, so I've not had to consider such things.

    So, I decided to gamble the MOT fee at this new place just on the off chance - I had in my head, that if it cost under £500 to pass the MOT it would most likely be worth keeping it going for another year as it has very low mileage and has been reliable.

    Anyway, it needed loads of work & parts, in particular to do with the brakes & steering - in the mix was some replacement yoke for the steering that would itself cost £350+VAT and, of course, labour costs to fit. Basically, not worth it.

    However, the option was to strip down this yoke to see if it could be repaired, but that would mean gambling an hour's labour charge, which could reduce the overall cost from something like £900 to just under the £500 mark. :hmm:

    Now, I was already in for almost £50, the question was if I were prepared to basically double that gamble or not?

    I tossed a coin - took the gamble - total bill came in just short of £470. :D

    The big question, of course, remains - did I do the right thing? :hmm:
  2. spanglechick

    spanglechick High Empress of Dressing Up

    you just won't know until/unless the next big thing comes up. my last car cost £600, and in the year i had it, cost me £750 and then needed over a grand to get through the MOT so i scrapped it. your car might be fine for a whole year, or might need new bearings next week.

    what i will say is that, after my experience, i now pay £125/month for a brand new car that never, ever breaks down or needs an mot - and at the end of three years, i shall swap it for another.
  3. claphamboy

    claphamboy The wheels on the bus go round and round....

    Indeed, and that was my dilemma, it was just too close to call, hence after considering the situation for 15 minutes I just tossed a coin, called the garage back and then an hour or so later when they confirmed it could be repaired I pissed off down the pub whilst they did the work, on the basis I couldn't do any work as they needed the car for the rest of the day. [hic] :D

    You can get a new car for £125pm* and hand it back after 3 years? :hmm:

    Do tell me more. I am so totally out of the loop regarding cars, having had company ones for so many years.

    * Although, I bet you're paying more than the £15pm I do on insurance.
  4. spanglechick

    spanglechick High Empress of Dressing Up

    my insurance is quite a bit higher that £15 month - but it was before.

    I drive a kia picanto - 5 door supermini. I can't remember how much deposit i put down - won't have been much more than a couple of hundred. road tax is next to nothing.

    at the end of three years i can either pay off the balance in one go and keep the car, or start again with a new car. all the major car dealerships offer three year finance plans. i fancy a fiat 500 next time if i can afford it - but the picanto is pretty much the cheapest new car out there, so £125 is going to be as cheap as it gets unless you pay a hefty deposit.

    worth it to me for the peace of mind.
    claphamboy likes this.
  5. sim667

    sim667 Licking windows on the 303 bus.

    Is it hire purchase?
  6. ice-is-forming

    ice-is-forming Its Hammock Time

    You did the right thing, its rare to find a decent mechanic who is willing to save. You money. IME most things can be fixed and most garages are rip off bastards. You did well.
  7. claphamboy

    claphamboy The wheels on the bus go round and round....

    Can't help you on that, but I am sure spanglechick will be along to answer you.

    I hope so. :D

    As I mentioned in the OP it has very low mileage for a 16 year old car, only just over 53,000 miles, and has been very reliable in the 3 years since i basically inherited it.

    As, you say it's nice to find a decent mechanic and a good independent garage, they are members of the GoodGarageScheme.com and I filled in the customer satisfaction survey card, with top marks all round, and popped it in the post to them.
    ice-is-forming likes this.
  8. spanglechick

    spanglechick High Empress of Dressing Up

    Not quite, because at the end of the three years you've only paid enough to cover the depreciation. They get the car back and can sell it to make up the shortfall (and quite a bit more in profit, of course).
  9. silverfish

    silverfish Sprinkling glitter on turds

    I just fixed four issues on a 20 year old merc for 190 quid at a seriously good local garage, not sure who the bloke does it. Car is worth fuck all but runs awesomely I'll keep fixing it till it becomes un economic. Old cars and good garages FTW

    I did have another one gambled on I bought for a grand, immediately failed an MOT and needed over a grands worth of work, scrapped it for 400 quid. Hard 600 quid lost. you win some you loose some but when it works its sweet
  10. sim667

    sim667 Licking windows on the 303 bus.

    OOOOh complex :cool:
  11. plurker

    plurker tú no tienes la culpa mi amor que el mundo sea feo

    I tihnk you did the right thing - keeping an older decent car alive rather than hiring a new one.

    Buy a car that comes without electronic engine management. Buy a Haynes manual for £17. Find a local garage and say you're willing to muck in and help/watch/learn while they work - they'll charge less and appeciate enthusiasm - works for me. (30y/o car, never had to spend more than £75 on it (other than re-painting :))
  12. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

    Why were you taking a 1996 Clio to a main dealer beyond about 1999?

    Anyway, 'worth' is nonsense. If you'd replaced every single thing on that Clio yesterday, it would still be 'worth' £295, as would one with engine knock and terminal rot.
  13. claphamboy

    claphamboy The wheels on the bus go round and round....

    I sort of inherited it from my mother, slowly over the last couple of years, basically she always took it to the main dealer, against my advice.

    I finally convinced her to give up driving a couple of years ago, as she was clearly not fit to drive, it basically remained her car, even after I chucked in my last job to go self-employed again, handed back the company car & took this one on full-time.

    In theory it was still her car, despite the fact that she wasn't using it, and I had taken it over by default (it was usually parked on her drive overnight, rather than on the road outside my place a few doors down the road), I was and still am driving her when she needs to go shopping or to the doctor's, hairdressers or garden centre. She insisted it went to the main dealer again last year, despite the fact it was basically no longer her car, and not wanting to totally 'take-over' I didn't argue.

    She's finally woke-up this year to her situation and accepted she is never going to drive again, hence why I got to take it elsewhere for the MOT.

    That & the fact I was paying for the MOT, as I am for the tax, insurance & RAC, whilst being a free taxi driver for her. :D
  14. claphamboy

    claphamboy The wheels on the bus go round and round....

    Now I am having doubts.

    Went to start it at lunchtime, battery [fairly new] was totally dead, so I fucked off down the pub.

    Rain has finally stopped, went to put the battery charger on it, and yes despite having had a few, I did connect it right (-/+), charger started to smoke & instantly died. :hmm:

    Just rang the RAC, and they are well busy on the roadside rescues due to the weather, therefore they quoted 3 hours for a non-urgent 'home-start' call-out, I've put it off until the morning, it's booked for a call-out between 7 & 8.

    WFT can be wrong here with the battery/car electrics and the charger basically blowing-up? :confused:
  15. My 'trustworthy' local garage always finds MOT faults and they always cost £200 to fix :hmm:
    stuff_it likes this.
  16. stuff_it

    stuff_it stirred the primordial soup

    I like making the garage's face fall as I go off to fix whatever the issues are myself.
  17. Yeah, well, I would do the same. Except I'm a busy man. With no mechanical skill whatsoever.
  18. claphamboy

    claphamboy The wheels on the bus go round and round....

    You & me both.

    Fancy joining forces & kidnapping stuff_it?
  19. Deffo.

    Just found out the car needs a new exhaust, so a new catalytic converter too. Only thing is, our special car has three sodding cats :mad::facepalm:
  20. stuff_it

    stuff_it stirred the primordial soup

    Does it really need a new exhaust? Is it just a hole? If you know how to weld sometimes you can just replace the section that's fuct...
  21. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat lumpen proletaricat

    presumably as soon as you remove them they jump back on?



    Bahnhof Strasse and claphamboy like this.
  22. No, it does need a new one. Frau Bahn works for a haulage company with it's own workshop, they'll do it cheap as, and get the part trade, still big £'s though.
  23. claphamboy

    claphamboy The wheels on the bus go round and round....

    You can weld? :hmm:

    * upgrades kidnapping plan to a forthcoming night at Stonehenge* ;)
    Greebo likes this.
  24. felixthecat

    felixthecat are we there yet?

    Don't get me started on Clios and electrical problems.:mad:

  25. TopCat

    TopCat Gone away, no forwarding address

  26. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat lumpen proletaricat

    Dunno really.

    I run a fairly ancient car (19 year old peugeot 205 with the indestructible diesel engine), and tend to think it's better to spend a few hundred quid some years to keep it going rather than spend a few hundred quid to get another ancient car that may have even bigger problems.

    I've found a fairly good independent peugeot specialist garage - they are happy with me sourcing parts and researching possible problems.
  27. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    I have an ancient turbo diesel Rover (peugeot engine). Last year the MOT was expensive, it needed welding in the sils and suspension linkages replacing etc. So anyhow this year I decided to be prepared and checked out this cheap as chips independent garage some miles away to do the work which I was sure the MOT would produce. Anyhow come MOT time I just took it to Kwikfit - and - IT PASSED first yipee ...!!! ###
  28. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    I know that one of the CV joints is on its way out because occassionally when turning hard left and putting quite a lot of tourque through the driveshaft I hear the telltale sound but that could not be picked up at the MOT because they don't drive the car. I checked with my independent garage and he reckons it may be £90 to replace or fix. Can't argue with that.
  29. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    To illustrate the potential differences in cost between garages, a couple of years ago I needed a new water pump which is driven off the timing belt. I was quoted by a local independent garage £450 for this as they said it was complicated. I considered scrapping the car as it was not worth much but then I was told about another independent garage, basically a guy working on his own who was apparently good value. I visited him and he quoted me - replace the water pump and replace the timing belt at the same time (because you may as well take the opportunity), £160. I was astounded, needless to say he got the work and now I try to go to him for any other work I need doing.
  30. DownwardDog

    DownwardDog Riding a Brompton with a power meter.

    Could be a leak to earth/parasitic draw. That would explain the new battery dying and the charger going China Syndrome. It would be pretty easy to diagnose on a Clio I reckon (it's not exactly a 7 series in terms of wiring). Get it running and measure the current from the battery, then pull the fuses one by one to find out which circuit is drawing the most current. Trace the guilty circuit.

    Nothing more expensive than a cheap car...

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