The cat's out of the bag with the dreaded MOT failure list, released by the Vehicle and Standards Agency late last week.
Published begrudgingly after a Freedom of Information request by the BBC, the 1,200-page list shows which vehicles have failed their MOTs the most.
For some car manufacturers it will make for some gruelling reading.
Of course, if you buy a new car, you don't need an MOT for the first 3 years. But when you do, bear in mind the crucial statistics below.
Renault, Ford and Vauxhall in particular will be suffering from the biggest headaches after browsing through the vast document. Taking only the most popular vehicles made in 2004 and eligible for their first MOT in 2007 the BBC's top ten MOT failure percentage rates are:
Ford Transit Connect: 30.5%, Renault Megane: 28.1%,Ford Transit: 26.3%,Peugeot 307: 24.7%, Vauxhall Corsa 24.7%,Renault Scenic 23.0%, Vauxhall Meriva: 22.3%, Vauxhall Vectra: 22.0%,Ford Mondeo: 21.8%, Citroen Berlingo: 21.5%
At the other end of the spectrum, there's good news for those of us who swear by the reliability of Japanese car companies the top four out of the five cars with the best MOT pass rates are all from Japan:
Toyota Corolla: 11.2%, Honda Jazz: 13.3%, Honda Civic: 14.1%, Toyota Yaris: 14.2%, Ford Fiesta: 15.6%
There's no doubt that the figures make for interesting reading ? but if you've had your eye on a 2004 Renault Megane and are now getting cold feet because of its high placing on the list, bear in mind that the figures don't take into account each individual vehicle's service history, its mileage, number of owners, and if it's a fleet car (notoriously unloved by their owners) such factors can have a real impact on how a car fares in an MOT and subsequently where it appears in the league tables.
As with any used car purchase, we always recommend that you check that the car comes with a recently carried out MOT where applicable, a complete service history (preferably serviced by an authorised dealer) and you pay for a full inspection. It's the best way to buy with peace of mind.
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Adam Phillips, 21st January 2010