News : MoT test exemption to be extended to four years?

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

MOTEST's ex Austin-Rover technician working on the new calipers

The Government’s latest proposals to shake up the MoT test could see new cars going four years before having their first examination – up from the current three.

The change could be introduced in 2018 following a public consultation. Northern Ireland and many European nations already have a four-year rule in place. The Department for Transport (DfT) claims that improved manufacturing means new vehicles stay roadworthy for longer.

It says that figures showing the annual number of three- and four-year-old cars involved in accidents where a vehicle defect was said to be a contributory factor has fallen from 155 in 2006 to 57 in 2015. The change would also apply to motorcycles.

However, cars and motorcycles made before 1960, goods vehicles powered by electricity and tractors do not need an MoT, and this classic exemption is also under the microscope at the moment. More than 2.2 million cars each year require a first test, at a maximum cost of £54.85, with motorists facing a fine of up to £1000 for driving a vehicle without a valid MoT.

In November, a poll for the AA of more than 19,000 drivers suggested 44 per cent were in favour of MoTs after four years, while 26 per cent were opposed, and a third did not have a view either way. AA President Edmund King said: ‘The benefits are that there will be cost and time savings for drivers, while the downside is that we are likely to see some more cars with faulty tyres and lights slipping through the net.’

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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17 Comments

    • They may be more reliable, but they won’t be safe if an owner doesn’t keep on top of maintenance. I’d bet theres still a huge amount of people out there who only get their cars serviced at the same time as the MOT. And a yearly oil change won’t pick up suspension or steering faults. For the sake of £50ish and an hour or so a year I don’t think it’s worth it. In fact, I’d not be against an MOT test every year from new.

  1. I’m not in favour.
    They seem to assume that all newer cars/vans are regularly serviced/well maintained. Too many tradesman’s vans are abused and given scant or zero maintenance, no matter what the age of the vehicle.

    Then there’s people with £99 per month or whatever new cars that don’t know, care about, or that think they don’t have the time for servicing, (it’s not always included in monthly payments)

    Lights and tyres are the most common fails and both are important to both drivers and other road users.
    The money they claim that will be saved to consumers will not be much in the scheme of things and will mostly benefit only the better-off, (assuming newer cars/vans are bought/leased by those better-off than many)

  2. I wonder (as kind of alluded to within these comments) how many people with pre-mot age cars don’t get anything checked before its first mot. On modern cars I’m fairly certain that at least one bulb would fail in this time, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Given the state of our roads I’m sure that a lot of cars will suffer with tyre/suspension issues by that time, arguably potentially far more dangerous than a broken tail light. If I were in the position to own a brand new car I’d be happy to have an mot (or at least a cursory inspection) from year one or two.

    • Agreed. I see plenty of cars under three years old with at least one light out; and plenty which dazzle due to at least one headlight being aimed far too high. Speaking of which, people used to flash at my X type (with xenons) even when it was on dip.
      Admittedly, some modern (and not so modern) cars make it very difficult to change bulbs – a certain compact French car needs the front bumper taken off to change a sidelight bulb! So all the more reason to get a mechanic to do it at MoT time.
      There has been comment elsewhere on this site about the difficulty of inspecting the inner sidewalls of tyres when they are on the car – not too difficult on a ramp. A three year old car can have 75k on the clock, so at least the front tyres could wear out twice in that time – especially if the tracking needs doing.
      Exhausts can develop a pinhole leak, which you can’t hear or smell, but could be bad for your health. Another reason to stick to three years.
      Thankyou and goodnight.

  3. At around 35,000 miles, I could have an illegal pair of tyres at 6 months old and pads that are down to the metal before the first year is up. I would have no objection to having an MoT test after 12 months as long as it applied to all.

    I wonder if those that would vote for it would feel so positive about it if an unroadworthy two year old car were to cause an accident that cost them the life of a close relative?

  4. I like the way the government have arbitrarily decided to stick over £300 on the cost of VED for cars over £40,000, with no justification, yet feel that saving us £50 (or less) to remove an essential safety test “to save us costs” is a good idea!

  5. In my home USA state of NJ, and in many states, their is no MOT, except for limited pollution checks. Some private garages may look at the rest of the car beyond if it passes an pollution check to find something to make money on but some will just take your money, even if the brakes are unsafe, broken or cracked windows, dangerous rust, light bulbs out, bald tires, broken suspension parts and so on.

    • That’s interesting, I’ve heard it mentioned in American films & TV of cars passing inspection, which I guess for safety, but only in certain states.

  6. This will only work if it becomes mandatory for the trade to supply at least four years warranty and servicing with every new vehicle.

    • I hear what you’re saying Darren, but just because a car might have a 4yr warranty it doesn’t necessarily make it any safer, or less likely to fail an mot, the manufacturer will just replace any broken bits (hopefully) in the first 4yrs. For example a Kia comes with a 7yr warranty but I bet many of them fail an mot before they reach 7yrs old.

  7. Bad Bad Idea, Many people just don’t bother to service their cars at all, this can be said of 1 year old cars right the way through.
    They usually drive them to they go wrong or develop a fault eg DPF filter problems and then try and toe drop them on the trade rather than fixing.
    With 40 years of being in the motor trade [selling] some of the unsafe things I see sends shivers up my spine. One occasion a Polo 4 year old at the time where the discs were so rotten one had come apart and on braking the wheel continued but the outer disc was static!. A young mother with toddler seats in her car popped in with a Picasso for valuation in p/x and when I saw the rear tyres separated from the canvas with metal brading exposed on the sides I just couldn’t believe it, I showed her to which she answered oh my husband MOT it a while ago and they advised the tyres then!, needless to say there were more problems a real death trap [ I did sell her a car though].
    I think the issue is people wont spend on cars [because a large percentage are potless] and put it off to another day this includes MOT where many are oblivious to it having run out even if the car is still taxed!.

  8. NI has a 4 year MOT and the world hasn’t ended.

    Albeit this place is smaller than GB – vehicles doing a run of the full M1 here are doing a shorter mileage (38miles) than vehicles doing a run of the full English M1 (193miles)….

    In fact, for many years NI vehicles were safer than the South/RoI, which only introduced vehicle testing in 2000 (for 4 year old cars, performed every 2 years for cars less than 10 years old, annually for older). In the 90s it wasn’t uncommon to see some completely unroadworthy car/van/lorry which belonged in the scrap yard limping along rural roads with no lights, bald tyres, wonky steering, severe rust etc.

  9. Working nightshifts I’m shocked by the cars I see with faulty lights, dumb drivers not putting lights on or those cars modified to run fog lamps rather than main headlamps. The MOT should be every year from point of sale.

  10. I was in a tyre bay the other day. While I was there a woman came in for some tyres. Her 3 year old mini had just failed its MOT because the front tyres were down to the canvas. She had been totally unaware, and would have continued to drive it had it not failed the MOT. Who knows what may have eventually happened.

    So i am not in favour of the change.

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