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Welcome to the Spring issue of autotechnician, where we focus on the underpinning theory, equipment and support available in the areas of diagnostics, aircon and DPF maintenance, encouraging efficient processes and helping to retain jobs in-house and promote growth. We get the lowdown from the suppliers of services and products in their areas of expertise and gain feedback from readers.

We look ahead to our Workshop Takeover in Cheltenham on Saturday 24th June and hear from VAG specialist Gareth Davies who will help guide one of three groups to diagnose and fix real-world faults. Turn to page 8 for details on how to secure your place to this hands-on training session –guaranteed to be enjoyable and highly rewarding!

If you are considering a change or step up in your career, automotive charity Ben has a wealth of support available online to complement its mental and financial wellbeing tools. Turn to page 50 to find out more.

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Imi Research Highlights Consumer Concerns Over Mot Extension

As part of its response to the Department for Transport’s MOT Consultation, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has researched the views of both the motor industry and motorists and the results align with the IMI’s view that any change to the current date for the first MOT, or the frequency of MOTs, would significantly increase road user risk.

“We received a resounding confirmation – 87% – from our members that the first MOT should not be extended due to increased road safety risk”, explained Hayley Pells, Policy Manager at the IMI. “And whilst only 51% of motorists we surveyed felt the same, we believe there is sufficient weight of evidence to give the Department for Transport a very clear indication that any change to the start date would be detrimental for all road users.”

The research of motorists found that 78% get their MOT and service done at the same time or that they like to if convenient. If the first MOT is extended by a year and the frequency of MOTs is also reduced, as proposed, this could leave important maintenance issues unchecked. This is particularly a concern as 26% said they wait to be told by the garage that is conducting an MOT or Service if their tyres need changing.

The IMI member research also found that 88% believe that extending the date of the first MOT will have an impact on garage income, with members who actually run MOTs from their business also being very concerned about the wider impact of a change. 60% believe a potential fall in MOT business will negatively impact the volume of service work to their garage.

“Whilst 1 in 5 respondents who run MOTs from their business believe it is fair to assume that any fall in the number of MOTs will free up garage staff and allow them to complete other tasks, the reality is that for nearly two thirds a quarter of their income is dependent on doing MOTs” added Hayley Pells. “The wider economic risks of any change cannot, therefore, be ignored.”

The IMI’s own in-depth analysis of MOT data has revealed the risks surrounding electric vehicles – which are heavier than ICE vehicles and cause heavier wear to their tyres –will be heightened if the first MOT date is extended. Evidence drawn from MOT testing records supplied to the IMI by the DfT shows that comparative to petrol engine vehicles, electric vehicles are much more likely to fail their first MOT test.

“The IMI’s response to the MOT Consultation will strongly advise that increasing the time before a periodic inspection of cars is detrimental for road safety,” concluded Hayley Pells. “It reduces the frequency of maintenance and inspections that are critical to ensuring that vehicles are in good condition and performing at their best.”

Motorists back safety over 23p a week saving Meanwhile, new research by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) involving a poll of 1,784 adults British car owners, found that 67% said they were concerned that extending the MOT would put lives in danger with three quarters agreeing that the typical £35-£45 cost of a test is a price worth paying for the peace of mind it provides that their car is safe and roadworthy.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Safety is the number one priority for the automotive industry and the MOT is a crucial component in keeping the UK’s vehicles and roads safe. Our survey shows that drivers support the existing MOT frequency and that there is little appetite to change it, despite the increased cost of living. If changes to the MOT are to be made, these should enable testing of advanced electrified powertrains, driver assistance technologies and connected and automated features, as drivers value the peace of mind the MOT offers.”