Motorbike MOT annoyance

28th April 2008 – 3.32 pm

I took the day off on Friday to take my motorbike in for a service and to get its annual MOT certificate. Because the bike needed a new front tyre the garage needed to service the bike outside of a weekend, hence the day off for me. On the positive side, this meant that the garage had the whole of Friday and Saturday to get the bike serviced and through its MOT before I needed it again to get to work on Monday.

The service was completed on the Friday, but the MOT wasn't done. I got a call to tell me this and that it would be done early on Saturday, which wasn't a problem. It became more of a problem when I called early in the afternoon to find that it apparently wouldn't be ready before Monday, which seemed to be a communication problem in that the Saturday workers weren't aware that I was promised it for that day and that the bike had already spent a whole day in the workshop. After that miscommunication was cleared up I was assured that the MOT would be done that day and I could pick my bike up within the hour.

Within that very hour was when the real problem occurred. The MOT tester called me to let me know that he had to fail my bike, because the front brakes were binding. When I asked how this was not noticed during the service and, indeed, how a bike that had just been through a service in their garage could immediately fail an MOT before even going back on the road I was told that he was thinking the very same thoughts and would find out. It also meant that, with the bike needing more work, I wasn't going to get the bike back before Monday.

I decided that I would take another day off instead of fighting the roadwork-hampered motorway traffic in a car. With work being rather slow at the moment I didn't think this would be a problem with my boss, and it wasn't. I've had a fairly relaxing day, even though it has involved about nine miles of walking, for various reasons, so the extra day off is nothing more than an inconvenience in some respects and a rest in others. But there is still the question of why my bike failed an MOT after being serviced.

I've already brought the question up twice with the garage, and will do again, just so I get some reassurance that proper procedures will be followed in the future and that I can trust their mechanics' work. It's a good job the MOT for the bike was due, as it enabled the maintenance to be checked before I got the bike back and is making the garage take a more careful look at my bike now, but it shouldn't have to be that way. I'm hoping that this is nothing more than an anomalous occurrence.

Edit: apparently, the reason for the front brake problem not being picked up in the service but in the MOT is because the bike is front-heavy. This makes it difficult to get the front raised during servicing, but when it's put on the rolling road for the MOT the problem becomes immediately apparent. This sounds reasonable, and the garage were working with me and not trying to shift the blame, so I am happy with the answer.

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