MOT Test Can Be A Life Destroyer
Let's be honest the time most end Of Life vehicles find their way to that breaker yard in the sky is either after or due to a pending MOT test. Many are happy to drive in any rust box proving it moves turns and stops and it is not until that legal piece of paper is required and reality strikes.
Fundamentally the Ministry Of Transport test is there to make sure the vehicles we are safe to be on the road and all cars after the 3rd year and then need to be tested annually after that.
Documentation Does Not Mean A Safe Vehicle
What some people do not know is that a MOT Certificate is not proof of a safe car. you could in fact drive straight out of the testing centre be stopped by the police the next day and receive a fine should things not be OK. The test is in fact just a snapshot of condition in time. Tyres that are OK on one day, could have clipped a kerb and dangerous the next, lights that are working now, could blow a bulb and not be working soon after, just as a couple of examples.
The Lowest Values In Europe
In the UK however, vehicles are official the cheapest to buy than in all of Europe. We can pick up a legal banger for a couple hundred quid with a mot test certificate. So any bills that are hitting the hundreds, which let's be honest it is not a lot in a modern world, often sends a reasonably good vehicle to the scrapper. This is not the same story on many other European countries where resale values are much higher and cost of labour lower.
At Least There Is A Recycle Culture
The good news is those dismantler yards who re-sell the good parts on the cheap, may extend the life of another vehicle otherwise destined to die. The process gets worse as manufacturing processes improve. When my father bought a car, 70,000 miles and being 10 years old was deemed as past it, now modern vehicles no longer have those rust issues and engines can seriously do 100,000 of miles providing good servicing is maintained.
Road Fund Licence Makes The Issue Worse
Recent road tax rules also has compounded the issue. Engines we deemed as normal only 10 years ago are now seen as serious earth killers and so Co2 emissions determine the road tax we pay, as well as the miles per gallon the vehicle will deliver. These issues bring down resale values and so make them more likely to taken off the road, rather than spending money on repairs. It is therefore no surprise that a rise in 4x4's and larger cars are hitting the breaker yards where traditionally these types of vehicles may have lasted longer than a small engine hatchback.
The British MOT test is also one of the strictest in Europe and very hard to cheat, as there is a live feed direct to the DVLA, including emissions tests.