Almost half of large vans and a third of LCVs fail their MOT

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles workshop

Almost half (45%) of vans, on average, between 3.0-3.5 tonnes fail their MOT every year, while around a third of light commercial vehicles (LCVs) initially fail the test, new research suggests.

The average cost to repair a failed vehicle so it can pass the test is £143, leaving UK van drivers with an estimated £193 million bill, according to Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

The most common reasons for failure are damaged lights, faulty brakes and unsafe suspension, analysis of data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) suggests

James Allitt, head of aftersales at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “The figures reveal many vans are failing the MOT with simple maintenance issues that would be picked up by regular servicing, and it’s leaving van drivers risking unwanted downtime and an unexpected repair bill to get back on the road.”

Separate analysis of the DVSA’s MOT Compliance Survey (2019–2020) by What Car?, released earlier this year, found 13.58% of vehicles that passed an MOT test should have failed. 

A team of DVSA vehicle examiners retested a randomly selected sample of 1,671 vehicles, which had undergone an MOT test at test stations across the UK. It disagreed with the test outcomes in 16.82% of cases.

In 70.1% of cases, the DVSA found at least one defect which the MOT test station missed or had incorrectly recorded, while the DVSA experts disagreed with three or more defects in 56.5% of vehicles.

The DVSA examiners also felt that 3.23% of failures deemed to be worthy of a pass certificate.

Safety critical features such as the brakes and suspension were subject to the biggest discrepancy between the DVSA and MOT testers. Brakes had the highest number of misdiagnosed defects, at 17.74%, followed by the suspension (14.56%), tyres (13.22%), and lights, reflectors and electrical equipment (11.51%).  

Following its investigation, the DVSA issued 24 disciplinary action recordings and 179 advisory warning letters to the vehicle test sites it visited. Between them, they were responsible for 12.1% of all vehicles re-tested by the Government agency. 

In response to its findings, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is offering 10% off its all-in service package. The offer, which runs until December 31, 2021, will save van drivers over £80, usually priced at £839.30 and now only £755.37 – with monthly payments now from £31.47.

The all-in package combines two services (one major, one minor), two MOTs, two years’ warranty, and two years’ roadside assistance, and saves van drivers an average of £1,558 over the two-year period, compared to pay-as-you-go prices, says Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

Allitt said: “Our All-in package, which is now even more appealing with our winter discount, provides owners with complete peace of mind – all part of our Working With You promise to take the strain out of van ownership and give our customers more time to focus on their businesses.”

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