Our_Cars_VW_Golf_MOTIt’s always a worry when you buy a ‘new’ secondhand car: will it pass the first MOT you put it through?

Since buying it in early 2014, my Golf GTI has done me proud. It performed the reason for purchase – filling in a long-term test car gap – perfectly, and has since been a great weekend hack for doing the things I perhaps wouldn’t want to subject the Octavia to. Such as going to the tip (they recognise me and it there now).

In all that time, it has never failed to start on the button or show too many signs of its 178,000 miles.

But the MOT, that’s another matter. It’s dentist waiting room stuff, which can have even rational and sensible people fretting. Particularly when it’s your daily driver and you potentially face a huge bill just to ensure you can get to work the next day. Luckily, this now isn’t my daily driver. But I was still worried.

MOT: fail (as expected)

As it turned out… it didn’t pass first time. But it almost did. And besides, I knew it wouldn’t.

Job list? Handbrake efficiency and the airbag fault warning light. The latter was because of reasonably new MOT rules that state warning lights can’t be illuminated. This had been since I bought it, so I knew it would be a fail point. I hadn’t had time to investigate, not much experience of fixing SRS-related faults, so was happy to leave it to the garage. They sorted it easily enough.

The handbrake was more of a challenge… because, yes, I’m still missing the locking wheel nut key. Last seen somewhere on the M40, it’s not through lack of effort that I’ve tried to find a replacement. I’ve tried all the obvious routes and even visited a VW dealer (first time the Golf’s been there in many a year, surely…) – where I was told VW no longer stocks these wheel nuts, so it would be an few hours labour while they removed the old nuts and fitted a brand new set of lockers. Potential price: half the price of the car. No thanks.

This seems ludicrous. Yes, locking wheel nuts are there for a reason, but people do also lose the locking keys. Surely there’s got to be some solution for those with a car, its V5 documents and other proofs of ownership, but no key? Maybe not; maybe the risk of it getting into criminal hands is too great. Into my local garage to get ’em welded off then…

But not yet. They managed to fix the handbrake without taking the wheel off. £150 all in, including the MOT, which is a quarter of the price of the car but I do have a year’s MOT for it, so that’s not too bad. Besides, the lack of advisories on the printout gives me so much peace of mind, it’s almost worth the charge for that alone. Seems this is a good, sound car after all – prime for using more regularly, I’d say.

Just as soon as I’ve mitigated the risk of suffering another puncture, that is…