VW TDI 98-2004 owners in UK being failed by Gov MOT legislation


New member
Jul 3, 2018
VW Golf 1.9 130bhp ASZ
My car's registration is RV02 URJ which is a 1.9 Tdi Diesel Engine.

My car was taken for an MOT by Roger the owner of Glemsford Motors to the local Mot station.

The car failed The Mot by reason of new legislation and inspection rules.

The rule was that the Engine Management Light should illuminate on ignition with all of the other warning lights and then go out on ignition.

Because the tester had specific instructions regarding the type and style of the EML which did not appear the car failed.

My car has a standard dash layout which is fitted to the whole range of VWs and as such is supplied with an LED light and signature EML logo in the round of warning lights appearing.

Roger duly ran a diagnostic test on the electrical system and found to his surprise no error codes, not even one which could explain why the circuit to the ERM light wasn't working.

The problem was that the car was roadworthy in every respect having had it's emissions physically checked and confirmed that emissions were within statutory limits. The engine was working perfectly but the failure of The MOT meant that it couldn't be used on the road.

Roger referred to an VW electrical specialist who electrically diagnosed the cars system and confirmed that it was working perfectly. The fault wasn't present and as such the specialist offered no explanation.

At this point as the owner of the car I received the bad news that Glemsford Motors had pursued the matter at considerable expense only to be unable to resolve the issue.

I was devastated as the car was my pride and joy as well as my independence in a rural location. It seemed that the car was to be scrapped for the sake of a light. I understood the new guidelines was to protect The Environment and penalize polluting cars which were suffering from age or a lack of maintenance. I was resigned, however Roger asked me to leave it with him and he'd see what he could do.

Roger refused to accept that a perfectly roadworthy car could fail the MOT and as such sought to reason with the MOT Station who were adamant that nothing could be done. It was at this point that Roger contacted VW and explained the situation and pursued the question until a VW Electrical diagnostic engineer referred to the wiring diagrams for the model of golf in question.

The results were stunning. VW confirmed that this model of VW diesel engines has all of the components that petrol engines have of the same year but the components aren't connected electrically. The driver is to rely on the Glow Plug Light which illuminates on ignition as a warning of the Engine Management Sensors identifying a fault during normal engine operation.

With this information confirmed by the manufacturer Roger duly appealed once again to the mot station to pass the car as the car's design and operation were correctly functioning as intended. The MOT Station once again refused and stated that The Law and inspection regime were the only points of reference which were relevant.

Armed with the manufacturer's information Roger confronted The Ministry and the Chief Inspector responsible for operating the new Mot regime. After being confronted with Roger's argument and evidence The Chief Inspector decided to intervene directly and instruct the MOT Station to pass RV02 URJ.

The MOT was issued by the Mot station on the 28th of June. I was informed the day after by Roger and was stunned at the time and effort which he'd devoted to salvaging a very old car and my lifeline which I couldn't afford to replace. I expressed my gratitude knowing that both Roger and I understood the time and effort expended by Glemsford Motors was beyond my means.

It is estimated that there are over 200,000 VW deisel engines of the above type which operate without the now familiar Engine Management Warning Light . These are failing the MOT even as we speak and for no other reason than The Ministry has failed to accommodate the design in it's new regime of testing. These cars are not failing the emissions test, they are being failed by Government. Roger has made a start to stopping this injustice and his commitment to his profession and business should be recognized for what it is - Outstanding


New member
May 16, 2021
UK@ M3 Junc3
Good Job & even more Kudus for the garage concerned
if owners are due to take cats for MOT maybe they should check before hand that the testing station knows about the VW quirks ?
My local MOT station owner and all his mechanics there have common sense & use the interpretation of the rules correctly
I have only ever used 2 mot places in the last 33 years & I have never known either of them to stiff the owners or let an unsafe car stay on the road
They not only give advisories on MOT testable items but on things they spot that may cause a problem at a later date


Veteran Member
Apr 7, 2016
2003 Jetta TDI wagon, 5 sp, 226K miles

Seems like kind of a crazy rule and it's a shame to have a perfectly functional car be scrapped out for a simple light.

Here in Virginia , a car can fail a state inspection if the air bag light stays on after the car runs through its initial sequence of lights turning on and turning off during start up.

A typical way to "fix" that problem is simply to remove the offending bulb so after the car runs through its starting light sequence the light does not remain on indicating an error.

Usually removing the bulb is enough to get by but some unusually observant inspector May notice the bulb never went on in the first place and could fail the car for that.

If that happens then more drastic measures are typically required which usually involves breaking the circuit of the offending light and wiring it to a light that turns on and off properly ... therefor the bulb now turns on and off in sequence and remains off since the other bulb would go off making the previously offending light "behave properly ".

That may be a little drastic having to do that but sometimes people have to do what they have to do to have transportation.

disclaimer : the above is for off-road and show car use only. ;-)


New member
May 13, 2023
So do you have no engine management light atal? ive a 2002 A4, my light also doesn't come on but my old 2004 a4 did! i could never get to the bottom of it, but the MOT tester has never picked up on it