Waiting for the outcome of an MOT Test always feels as bad, if not worse, than waiting for exam results.
Modern cars are so blasted complicated that the scope for failure seems to get greater and greater. The ABS warning light on my trusty Volvo had been on for months and months suggesting (probably) that the ABS system was not functioning. Since I have been on the roads for some 40 years this was not a concern because in the event of the wheels locking on a slippery surface, cadence braking would deal with the problem.
This point of view was not shared by the MOT man. So with a fail notice and a heavy heart I visited my local friendly Volvo specialist. He hooked up the diagnostic device which revealed, not surprisingly, that the ABS Master Unit had failed. After much sucking of teeth and calls to spares suppliers, the bad news was delivered that a replacement would cost some £850 plus vat and fitting, so about £1050 in total. Great.
Back home I decided to Google ‘Volvo V70 ABS units’ and up popped the website www.ecutesting.com who, it appeared, would refurbish my ABS Unit for £150.00+vat. All I had to do was pop it in the post to them. If you have opened the bonnet of your car recently you will appreciate that there are a heck of a lot of bits and pieces in there. The question being, where is the ABS thing? I Googled ‘Where is the ABS thing’ and so off to a website in The States to a business which also does refurbs. They actually had detailed instructions and photographs which showed just how easy it was to remove. 3o minutes later the component, about the size of two cigarette packets, was in the post to ECU Testing in Nottingham. The next morning I received a call to tell me that it had arrived safely and was in the workshop. The postman delivered it back to me the following day. It was back on the car 30 minutes later, the warning light vanished and the car passed its MOT. It passed its MOT for £172.50 rather than £1050.
I sent an email to ECU Testing thanking them for their brilliant service and received a very nice reply. I sent an email to the Volvo Garage recommending ECU Testing and heard not a word.
My excursion into the world of ABS systems has revealed that they frequently fail and that the prices quoted to replace them are extortionate. Before you spend a fortune, check out companies like ECU Testing who will refurbish most car related electronics for a fraction of the replacement cost and give a two-year guarantee.