I put my car in for its MOT this morning. Given that I will be part exchanging at the end of March when I pick up my new car, I was naturally quite keen to avoid any unnecessary expenditure. The guy I rang a few weeks ago to make the appointment seemed mildly surprised that I was only wanting to book in for an MOT and not an MOT plus an annual service, but why would I want to pay £200 instead of £50?
I dropped my car off at 8am and drove to work in the little Ka they lent me. The garage then rang me a little after 10am.
“You car has failed its MOT on one tyre and another tyre is borderline. We can replace the tyres for you no problem. What do you want us to do?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, what kind of tyres do you want?”
“I’m part exchanging my car at the end of the month so I want the cheapest tyres you’ve got”
“Oh, right. Well the cheapest we have is £55. Do you want us to change both tyres?”
“Do I need to change both tyres to pass the MOT?”
“No. Only one was a definite fail. The other was borderline. It’s down to 3mm and the tracking is off. I couldn’t say how long it will last.”
I thought about this for a moment. For some reason, my instinct was to change. But what would be the point? Looking at last year’s MOT certificate, I could see that I have done the grand total of 3000 miles in the last 12 months – bugger all. Every time we travel any distance, we use C’s company car. I’m picking up my new car in four week’s time – and for three of those weeks I am going to be in Ecuador. I made up my mind.
”No. Just change the one tyre.”
The guy at the garage changed tack and revealed his hand: “If you buy both tyres, I can knock a fiver off them both”.
Right, so that means instead of paying £55 for the tyre I needed, I could pay £100. It suddenly became crystal clear to me exactly why garages are opposed to the Government’s proposal to make MOTs mandatory every two years (currently, all cars over three years old need to have the test every year).
“No thanks. Just change the tyre I need to pass the test.”
“OK”. He sounded slightly crestfallen.
“Is there anything else that needed doing?”
“No, that was it as far as I know.” He now sounded a bit grumpy.
“Excellent. See you later then.”
I hung up. £55 for a tyre. £50 for the MOT test. I suppose it could have been worse. I made a mental note to borrow C's car for my trip down to Feltham tomorrow.
Roll on the new car.