If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Annual torture

I've had the Bonneville exactly a year, which means it is due for another year's road tax. I tried to do it online, but the system had the vapours and said it had no current MoT. I knew for a fact that it did, but as I would need one within the month anyway I took it back to the supplying dealer for the test. For one thing, he told me that the 'Not For Road Use' silencers would sail through an MoT, so I knew if I took it to him I would have some comeback if they failed.

As it happened, it flew through the test. And so it should - it's in near-perfect condition, and I had checked all the test items within the last week, so I knew it was match-fit.

So why, when I kept looking through the viewing window in the shop, did I have a feeling of dread? It happens every time, whatever vehicle I take for test. I assume it will fail, and fail expensively, even if I have checked everything twice and then double-checked the first checks. I'm sure there will be something. I always assume the worst. That's strange, really, because in everyday life I am fairly optimistic. I assume things will turn out OK, and they usually do.

The nearest I ever came to kissing a man was in 1971, when an elderly and rather portly gentleman gave me a pink slip when I passed my driving test. I didn't give in to the urge then, and I haven't since, but when any bloke, no matter how greasy or unsociable, gives me an MoT pass certificate, I want to hug him at the least.

If I ever find a female MoT tester, my problems will be solved.



  1. "So why, when I kept looking through the viewing window in the shop, did I have a feeling of dread? "

    Because anything to do with the world of automotive engineering is strange and unfathomable? Well, that's my excuse for feeling that way, anyway!

  2. Had one once with off the shelf "custom" (always a missnomer in my eyes)wheels.

    Went for M.O.T. "Failled, the back wheel is shagged"

    "Wheel is brand fucking NEW arsehole!"

    "Then take it back and demand a full refund, AND you want them to pay for the retest, and, and....where did you buy it?"

    "Here is my receipt, funny. That IS your address at the top and stamp at the bottom?"

    Sometimes I wish I had one of those Borg eye things that is a camera as well. Would have made a bloody GREAT "jaw drop" illustration.

  3. Any one know Broxburn in West Lothian? Aye, then you KNOW who I am on about. Beware!

  4. I don't do maintenance. If my current rusty Transit stops moving, I get it fixed. If the quote for an MOT exceeds the price of another one, I scrap it. Acceptable MOTs are usually about £500. It's cheaper than depreciation on a new one, and I don't need to worry about it getting scratched or dented. Sorry if I'm making anyone cringe! :-)

    Actually, I've got rather attached to the current van, and done a lot of audio installation. So I'm dreading the end of May. :-(

  5. Errr, why is she holding a torque wrench without a socket up against the suspension? Does that car come with half-inch socket fittings on all important fixings? :-D

    What... a staged scene showing a suitably blonde model with perfectly clean fingers? Surely not!

  6. @Julia - I understand the engineering quite well, but it's like a cult. There is always an adept further up the esoteric hierarchy than you are, and possesses a mystery even more unknowable than you can imagine. Usually emissions.

    @FT - I love moments like that. HTF can a brand new wheel fail and MoT? Bearings? Spokes?

    @Zaphod - 'breakdown maintenance' is all very well as long as you don't rely 100% on the vehicle. I'm a big believer in PPM, but I know where you are coming from with the Transit. The XT fulfils that function - good enough to work, crap enough not to worry you if it falls over once in a while or gets a bit rusty.

  7. @ patently - staged? STAGED? She's just very skilful. You know how you can tell a good decorator because he's not covered in paint and plaster? Like that.

    The torque wrench is vital to what she is doing. Well, she tightens my nuts anyway. Just don't say it's a half-inch one.

  8. This van runs on gas, (ex lincs police), and I'm very impressed with the saving.

    I've always had diesel before, but this is converted from petrol.
    I did worry when I bought it. "I've never had a diesel that let me down, and never had a petrol that didn't".
    And yes, I've had problems with the ignition.

    But I'm hooked on the gas saving. When this van crumbles, I'll have to find another with gas.

    Incidentally, the down sides are; It takes a long time to fill, and it only goes 250 miles on a tank. That's all.

    If a vehicle acts up, I open the bonnet and sympathise with it for five minutes, being careful not to touch anything. It often works.

    I spent a few years repairing forlkift trucks. Often in cold stores, or on the docks. Or in a dark shed if I was lucky. Now I do electronics in a warm workshop. I'm staying in it. :-)

  9. I've had a few petrol Land/Range Rovers, and I have looked into the gas thing, but I was never convinced by the payback period, and the savings against the added complication of a system that I don't really understand. But if you can get a vehicle with it already fitted and bedded-in, then I can see it kis a great idea. Your idea of giving the engine sympathy rather than fidding is a good one. The XT thrives on encouragement and a kind of blokey back-slapping.

  10. XX Richard said...
    @FT - I love moments like that. HTF can a brand new wheel fail and MoT? Bearings? Spokes? XX

    Bearings, and they said the center hole was not round.

  11. oh, and to cap it, the wheel had only been used to get to the MOT. Ten miles maybe. It was the first after rebuilding the bike.

  12. A cast-iron "replace this or I go to Trading Standards" moment, I think.

  13. He opted to give me the MOT instead. But after what he had said about money back, replacement and compo, and all that, he had left himself wide open.

    The M.O.T was cheaper for him. (Obviously there WAS nothing wrong with the wheel).

  14. I'd be inclined to talk to Trading Standards in any case, if that happened. It's fraud, after all.

  15. Richard - Staged? I suppose we should be grateful for small mercies. At least she's holding the right end. :-D

  16. "If I ever find a female MoT tester, my problems will be solved."

    If Mrs Going Fast, Getting Nowhere finds out, I suspect your problems will be just starting.

  17. @ patently - she's holding the right end OK. It's when she twists it and it goes 'click' that my eyes start to water.

    @ Joe - it's only a hug, calm down :)


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