MOT changes – are you being overcharged for repairs?

MOT changes – are you being overcharged for repairs?
MOT changes – are you being overcharged for repairs?

A lack of understanding around this year’s changes to the MOT test has left motorists unnecessarily forking out billions of pounds on repairs, according to a breakdown specialist.

Various elements of the MOT were changed in May but one recent study found that half of drivers didn’t even know the test had changes.

Now data from Green Flag suggests that such ignorance is leading to drivers overspending on repairs because they are reluctant to question mechanics and are being charged for unnecessary work.


A third (31 per cent) of drivers said they didn’t have the knowledge to negotiate with garages and a further third said they were nervous about trying to haggle over a bill. According to Green Flag’s estimates, this is leading motorists to collectively overspend by £3.4 billion – an average of £90 per vehicle.

Drivers in London, Leeds, Glasgow and Sheffield are paying the most, with average repairs costing them between £478 and £507.

MOT cost
Some maintenance work is essential but the study found many drivers were being charged for work that wasn’t needed

One of the biggest worries is that motorists are not confident about how much they should expect to pay for maintenance work. Just one in five men said they were confident about estimating costs, and only one in ten women said the same.

The data also suggests many motorists are being charged for needless work such as changing brake fluid, replacing tyres with plenty of tread and draining and refilling anti-freeze.

Top ten needless “upsells”

Brake fluid change
Anti-freeze drain and refill
Fuel/ oil cleaners
Brakes – pads and discs (when wear is within safety limits)
Wiper blades
Battery replacement
Oil top ups
Tyres (When tread is well within legal limit)
Pollen filters

Nick Reid, head of automotive technology at Green Flag which has launched a “Smart Service” to act as a middleman between drivers and garages, commented: “Our research highlights just how much drivers are overspending on repairs – fueled by a combination of the changes in the MOT test and a lack of confidence in negotiating with garages, motorists are becoming less equipped to ensure they’re getting the best deal on repairs.

“This is particularly evident by our findings that 61 per cent aren’t sure what MOT stands for, and the fact that 39 per cent don’t understand what is being checked during a test.”

Average spend on repairs by city
London £507.62
Leeds £497.57
Glasgow £485.59
Sheffield £478.05
Southampton £433.06
Belfast £432.73
Manchester £414.46
Birmingham £411.15
Bristol £406.13
Liverpool £397.73
Newcastle £393.60
Norwich £390.67
Edinburgh £385.45
Cardiff £381.33
Brighton £365.88
Plymouth £353.42
Nottingham £348.84


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