Age discrimination — 21 Comments

  1. The first car I had tested was an early 50s Morris Minor from which cost me 35 quid in 1968. The first MOT tests were very rudimentary. The bloke grabbed the driver’s seat and wiggled it. It rocked from side to side. He passed it anyway, as the test stated that the seat needed to be securely fastened to the floor. It was. The floor however was nearly rotted through. 

    Back then we were happier and didn’t know it.

    • I was a ate starter with cars as I had a motorbike.  Eventually splashed out on an Austin Mini around ’71.  I loved that car!  Very dodgy brakes, lights only half worked and there was a fine view of the passing road through the floor.  Within a month I had piled it into the back of another car [did I mention dodgy brakes?].  At least I didn’t lose my no-claims bonus as I hadn’t earned it yet.  If they had had testing in those days, it probably wouldn’t have driven as far as the test centre without breaking down.

        • Did he drive a Mini?  There was no sheep shit on the back seat, but there were some beautiful ferns growing on the inside of the windscreen.  I think there may have been some damp.

  2. To be honest 6 years is erring on the too lax. In these ‘safe sex’ days no one with any brain would think about using a condom twice. Think about the amount of punishment a tyre takes-especially as Brits (and I assume the Irish) don’t swap to winter tyres when the kids go back to school as most Central European AA’s advise and that is almost a law (if you have smash in Germany in winter and your car was using ‘summer’ tyres then your insurance will not pay).

    I don’t know what tyres are actually made from- who does and who cares? They are ‘rubber’ and we all know how quickly rubber wears and perishes.. I remember an AA tyre expert saying in an article ages ago that they- the European ConfederationOf Mobile Greasemonkeys- would love for ‘retreads’ to be banned. Can’t recall what he said about tyre ages but i have a feeling it was annual/biannual. 

    Your mech should have had more sense than to say they are fine. I know for a fact (because i did a diploma in it) that all mechanics are taught that just because a tyre looks good…

    As with so much about EU regulations, once you get past the ‘degree of Banana bend’ Daily Xenophobe headline , alot of them are actually rather sensible.

    That said, do i change my tyres every other year? Do I bollox! I’m a smoker, I don’t need to worry about such ‘possible dangers’. I take my life in my hands just lighting a cigarette -so THEY tell me.

    ps a good tip for all such utterances of mechanics is to ask him, for example, how often he changes the tyres on his daughter’s car. On his own car he’ll drive on things that resemble the condoms i mentioned earlier with more ‘plugs’ than an author on Breakfast TV. His wife’s car he’ll change in accordance with the law…grudgingly.

    • Ah for the good od days of retreads and remoulds.  Now they insist on brand new tyres every time.  I’m very happy with the tyres I have and don’t consider them old at all.  For fuck’s sake, if they were a Grandkid, they’d just about be starting school.  Anyways, just to be on the safe side, I rarely do over 90 mph [except on the motorway, of course].

      And what’s wrong with just turning a condom inside out?  Good for another few miles?

  3. Here is the Florida part of America we have no tests. Bald tires, no breaks…. it’s all good. 

    • That’s right!  Rub it in.  You lot think you have problems with your Prez?  You should try living in the EUSSR.

    • Sounds heavenly- i believe you also have that strange ‘sun’ thing sometimes although personally I think that is just an urban legend….come on…a big ball of burning gas in the sky?…it ever getting not-cold enough not to need huskies to go to the shop?

      Having no tests sounds great until you hit a child because your tyres were so bald that your braking distance went up to a mile and a half. Even if the child jumped out infront of you (and they’re beggars for that) you’d have to top yourself, i mean, wouldn’t you? When the sheriff says ‘if you’d had new tyres you wouldn’t be looking at a charge of Vehicular Homicide (or whatever you call it)’, you’d have to swallow a gun.

      Sometimes when mates grizzle about the cost of such things on their cars I tell them the following true anecdote:

      Years ago I had to drive a couple of hours a day through the mountains of southern Hessia. Well I say ‘mountains’ but actually they are just effing great hills. Like in all those 60s’ Med-movies, lots of roads winding round them, up and down, very narrow with a sheer rockface on one side and a long drop on the other. I was having to drive down to a city called ‘Heidelberg’ to see Crippled Son in hospital where he was having his crippled little legs broken in multiple places then stuck back together…along with what looked like meat skewers or 9″ nails hammered through his feet. He was there for months and his Mama stayed with him. So everyday I drove down to see them and took Eldest and Youngest Sons with me. They were maybe 6 and 8 years old?

      On the way back the previous afternoon I had noticed the brakes on my car were not as sharp as i would have liked. ‘Aha’ I thought to myself ‘worn brake pads fo’ sure’ so the next morning i called into my local garage. I should add that my car at the time was a rally spec’d French thing for which parts were …. très  expensif. I was right, the brake pads were worn but when the Mechanic went to replace them he saw the discs were just ever so slightly warped. He, actually it was the Master Mechanic, said he could get some in that morning and do the job there and then so I could go off in the afternoon but it would cost me such and such many arms and legs. I was broke at the time and asked him if it could wait until pay day. His reply, which i have never forgotten, was “Legally and morally I am not allowed to let you drive off in that car”. I protested it had been working fine all summer etc etc but my pleas fell on deaf ears and in the end I had no choice but to borrow some money from a mate and pay the several hundred Marks.

      That afternoon i drove down to Heidelberg, carefully wearing the new brakes in. On the way home I was coming down a mountain , rockface on one side, sheer drop the other. The speed limit there was 60mph and i was doing that. Just two lanes and no hard shoulder…just a barrier to slow you down on the way down to your death hundreds of feet below. I always figured the poxy barriers were so the impact triggered the airbag, rendering the driver unconscious so at least they didn’t have chance to think about what the bottom of valley was going to do their front end.

      Coming up the mountain in the other lane was a tractor, a green one. All German tractors are green, it’s a law I think. Suddenly from behind the tractor not one but two cars overtook. I hope i don’t need to tell any driver here why you should never overtake on a hill and never never never in pairs.

      I have faced death a few times but none so close as that day. Strangely enough I remember everything as if it were in slo-mo. I remember thinking there was no way i or they could brake in time,even as i was braking, no where to run. I remember thinking ‘Oh Fuck! I am going to die!’. I recall even trying to position my car in such a way that i, the driver, would take as much impact as possible that the kids on the back seat might have a slight chance…maybe. No airbags in the back back then.

      In the end, thanks to my super duper straight and true brake discs, the turbos in the boy racers’ cars and the Farmer stopping his tractor dead, we passed with paint molecules to spare. I reckon the 18 year old driving the first car was 58 when he got out of it in Heidelberg. Me , as soon as it was safe to, I pulled over, vomited and then shook for two cigarette lengths. The rest of the journey home was bit rough, cos i had flatted all my tyres.

      I got back to the village , swung into the garage , walked passed the other waiting customers, went up to the counter and thanked the Master Mechanic . He saved not only my life but my 2 sons, at least one of the teenage boy racers because he had insisted I didn’t leave his garage with a car whose brake discs -and this is the important point- <i>would probably have passed the UK, and maybe even the German, MOT at the time!</i>


  4. I think the six year rule is a matter of Irish interpretation of EU rules – as in the case of the water charges.

    In 2010, I had a ten year old Nissan Almera with only 42,000 miles on the clock. It only did 32 mpg (1.8 litre automatic) and I gave it to my dad in England, who only does a few short journeys each week. It had new tyres in 2009 and now has 56,000 miles on the clock – it gets the MOT every year and no-one ever asked about the tyres

    • My banger is now 14 years old and has about 35,000 on the clock [most of those are French].  The bloke who pointed out the tyre “problem” was quite apologetic about it.  Just muttered something about regulations but then doesn’t everyone these days?  

  5. In parts of Africa and Asia they know how to recycle old tires (tyres?). With Stanley knives and glue they make flip-flops and sell them in the village markets.

  6. The stuff that Spanner puts in the tank is probably denatured alcohol (about a half a gallon maybe). It worked years ago when the inspectors were sniffing tailpipes belonging to really dodgy engines so no reason it shouldn’t work now.

    The tires being “old” is probably due to the nanny state worrying about weakening sidewalls due to age (unfortunately this actually does happen). Tread can be fine and dandy especially for vehicles that don’t get a lot of mileage put on them on a yearly basis, but the weight of the vehicle resting on the same tires for 6 or 7 years can actually weaken the sidewalls.

    And here in Vermont the inspection stations (your local auto garage) are converting over from paper forms/checklists and pencils to an all electronic system consisting of a special $1500 tablet (plus a fee of $2.41 every time they use it) thus making inspections much more complicated, lasting much longer than before, therefor making them much more expensive as well (from $45 to at least $75 per inspection). The poor inspector has to take several photos of the vehicle as well never mind everything else.

    Just another way for the Vermont gummint to make more money.

    • For the test here, they run the car up on a ramp and then plug in all sorts of gizmos – plugs over the exhaust, calibration instruments on the lights, rolling wheels which not only roll the car’s wheels but vibrate the whole thing as well.  It all produces a fancy computer printout with every measurement to about ten decimal places, with max, min and the measured result.  Stray outside the permitted figures and you fail.  It costs around €53 I think.

  7.     They don’t know how old the tyres are over here. How did your lot know?

        I had to get four new tyres a couple of years back because they were so old the rubber had perished. Fair do – they were nine years old

    • As far as I know all tyres, pretty much everywhere, are marked with a date stamp. “5112” for example would mean your tyre was manufactured just before Xmas in 2012…which probably explains the funny shape…Xmas parties….

  8. In the olden days the test was all about safety and ensuring that your vehicle is safe for the road. Nowadays it is about making sure you conform to the rules and they have several items on the list that are totally unrelated to safety. So a perfectly good vehicle can be scrapped because it doesn’t tick all the right green boxes.

    Some vehicles don’t even need an MoT now so I don’t know how they can check if you are following the rules.

    It is just another stealth tax by our thieving government.

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