Aftermarket non-airbag steering wheel and MOT

Aftermarket non-airbag steering wheel and MOT

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Discussion

GTBob

Original Poster:

93 posts

122 months

Wednesday 5th December 2018
quotequote all
Hi All,
I do hillclimbing and sprinting in a roadgoing car that is fully caged and has various modifications, one of which is the replacement of the standard air bag steering wheel with a Momo racing wheel. One result of this is that there is no driver's airbag and a warning light remains on on the dash to indicate a problem with the airbag.

The car passed its MOT last time around but that was before the new MOT came out this year.

Do you think it will pass next time around?

Thanks
Bob

Gary29

2,372 posts

43 months

Thursday 6th December 2018
quotequote all
GTBob said:
Hi All,
I do hillclimbing and sprinting in a roadgoing car that is fully caged and has various modifications, one of which is the replacement of the standard air bag steering wheel with a Momo racing wheel. One result of this is that there is no driver's airbag and a warning light remains on on the dash to indicate a problem with the airbag.

The car passed its MOT last time around but that was before the new MOT came out this year.

Do you think it will pass next time around?

Thanks
Bob
You can fit a resistor in place of the old air bag to get the light to turn off.

I'm not sure if the MOT regulations have changed recently, but that used to be sufficient to appease the regs in the past.

Strudul

1,261 posts

29 months

Thursday 6th December 2018
quotequote all
My understanding was that as long as the car is heavily modified (wheel, cage, no airbag, harness) then it was okay. It's only a problem if you change the wheel for a non-airbagged one, but don't have the accompanying mods.

Kraken

1,072 posts

144 months

Thursday 6th December 2018
quotequote all
Strictly speaking it should be a fail as, since 2013, all original equipment airbags must be present and functional. As with a lot of these things though it all depends on the tester. Many times I've had a car passed when by the letter of the law it should have failed.


GTBob

Original Poster:

93 posts

122 months

Thursday 6th December 2018
quotequote all
nickc59 said:
Thanks for that! Looks as though I should be OK as I have a full cage, racing seat and harness etc plus an MSA log book (or should I say Motorsport UK log book?)

Cheers,
Bob

Kraken

1,072 posts

144 months

Friday 7th December 2018
quotequote all
Interesting thing is that there is no such exception in the EU guidelines that were brought in 2013 to include airbags etc.

Not got a problem with that as I know the UK government (as do others) have the power to exclude vehicle types from legislation. Funny how they don't seem to realise that when it comes to the off road insurance proposals though. Nothing to do with the insurance industry being able to make a packet out of it I'm sure...

rallycross

10,157 posts

181 months

Friday 7th December 2018
quotequote all
the simple answer to this is fitting a 5p resistor to switch off the airbag light.

Kraken

1,072 posts

144 months

Monday 10th December 2018
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Which won't work as the MOT tester will be able to tell a mile away that there is no airbag in the racing type steering wheel.

McSam

6,731 posts

119 months

Sunday 30th December 2018
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As pointed out above, there's a specific exemption to allow removal of original-fit safety equipment if the car is extensively modified for rallying. The use of the term rallying and mentioning a competition log book is very interesting, because it implies the exemptions only apply for competition cars being used on public roads between stages of an event out of necessity, not any other sort of race car being used on the road incidentally. I don't know why this distinction is made, probably historically and unintentionally.

Any case, if it is obviously a properly prepared racing car, you will be fine. My E36 went through this September with no more eyebrows raised than last year. If it's a "track slag" with the interior torn out and an eBay steering wheel, it should fail because the original safety provisions haven't been adequately replaced or removed for a good reason.

Kraken

1,072 posts

144 months

Monday 31st December 2018
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Problem with the whole system is that if you go to another tester the same car can fail on the same day. It's so inconsistent when it shouldn't be.

alanwak

6 posts

12 months

Friday 4th January
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I raised this with the MSA via the Speed Committee when the new MOT Regs came out.

I don't know who wrote the definition of a "rally car" but it's clear that they didn't know anything about rallying and this hadn't gone anywhere near the MSA. The majority of rally cars are Road Rally cars which don't have to comply with cages, seats or harnesses, or have a Motorsport UK log book, a standard car could be used. Road rally cars require all their trim, including rear seats. But I wouldn't want to use a car with an air bag down a rough white on a Road Rally!

There are many other cars which are used for Motorsport which aren't used for rallies, so technically aren't rally cars. A car modified for Sprints, Hillclimbs or Track Days may have all the mods mentioned and still used on the road, a requirement for the Standard and Roadgoing classes. But they're not rally cars, so by the letter should fail if they don't have an air bag.

I have a Clio 172 without an air bag and only changed springs, the rest is standard. I use it on Rallies, Sprints and Autosolos. It should fail, but it is a rally car, I have the results to prove it!

I do accept that it can be difficult to differentiate between a boy racer's car and a lightly modified competition car, especially if a car is a new build with no event results. Even more difficult to prove a car is set up for Track Days, unless an entry is sufficient. Anybody could join a Motor Club to claim they were a Competitor, the evidence should be car based. Maybe passing Scrutineering for an event would be sufficient, we don't want any more log books?

Bottom line, the definition of a competition car which should be allowed exemption is written very poorly and doesn't cover the range of vehicles which might not comply. Instead of making the MOT more consistent, it has handed more decision power to the Tester, with some failing a car, another not failing exactly the same car. You need to find a Motorsport friendly Tester.

The MSA's view at the time was that they would take a watching brief to see what happens. If anybody has a legitimate competition car and is refused an MOT in this area, then the issue should be raised with Motorsport UK. I haven't heard of anybody suffering in this area to date.

Edited by alanwak on Friday 4th January 23:20