Bloody cars! For years and years I’ve always held my breath with a sense of trepidation when it comes to MoT time – it’s an occupational hazard when your drive fast Fords! Rust and emissions are usually the primary concerns, but neither of these are a cause of concern on a car less than three years old that’s been sensibly tuned using top-quality parts from the most-respected names in the industry. So surely, this time, an MoT was a foregone conclusion? A formality? A box that just quickly needed to be ticked?

Well, that’s what I thought. So, imagine my shock when the tester came back and told me it had failed! At first I thought it was a wind-up (I know the guys at Tarnock Garage quite well by now!) but when Ralph laid the broken part on the desk it quickly dawned on me that this wasn’t a joke.

Thankfully, the part in question was nothing serious. And, as it turns out, is quite a common failure on Mk3 Focuses, especially those that have been lowered and/or get driven, errm… ‘enthusiastically’ shall we say. The headlight leveller itself is a simple piece of kit; a sensor is fixed directly to the chassis, while a drop-link is connected to lower arm of the suspension. As the ride-height of the car changes (when a fatty like me gets in or out, for example) this sensor makes the required adjustments to keep the headlights focussing their beam in the right place.

The problem, however, is that the sensor and drop-link are connected by a small plastic arm. And hit a pot hole too hard (or a kerb on a race track) and the shockwave sent through that plastic arm simply causes it to snap. With that snapped, the sensor can’t tell the headlights where they should be, and it becomes an MOT failure.

At present, nobody I know of makes any alternatives, so my only option was to buy an entire new self-levelling sensor from Ford, at the best part of £200! That means that it’s cost me £250 to get the RS through it’s very first MoT!

And the expense doesn’t stop there, as my insurance was up for renewal too. Thankfully, a quick chat with Adam at modified insurance specialists, Greenlight, returned a fantastic quote. Having been insured with them previously (on several cars) I know their service is first-class, they’re mountune’s preferred insurers so know the mods inside-out, and when the price came back cheaper than my renewal, I was able to recoup some of those unexpected MoT costs. I still hope I never need to use it, but it’s nice to know it’s all there if the worst does happen. Plus, there’s the option to add track day cover too.

With that all sorted, fingers crossed there’s no more hidden costs in the foreseeable future. Instead, I’m looking forward to a great day at Ford Fair, and who knows, maybe this year I will actually find time to get out on track…




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