The government is currently reviewing the results of its consultation on extending a new car’s need to have its first MOT from three years to four. For drivers’ wallets, it’s potentially good news, but many in the auto sector remain deeply concerned about the plan.
Representing the biggest change to the MOT for 50 years, the move would benefit 2.2 million drivers annually. They would no longer need to pay for the test in the third year of their vehicle ownership, thus saving themselves £109 million collectively per annum. The Department for Transport and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have stated that the change would see the UK’s MOT regulation being brought into line with other countries in Europe, such as France and Denmark.
Road safety at risk?
However, industry experts say that the change could wreak havoc on road safety. Research shows that around 17% of cars fail an MOT on their initial attempt, with technicians in 2016 identifying over 400,000 potentially fatal vehicle defects. These included 85,720 tyre-related failures, 47,138 brake failures and 24,628 suspension failures. By extending the period from three to four years, Euro Car Parts claims that 410,000 extra unsafe cars will be unleashed on our roads, including 28,573 extra unsafe tyres.
Critically, industry chiefs say that it’s thanks to the MOT deadline that drivers remain focused on their vehicle’s maintenance and upkeep, such as monitoring and replacing worn tyres. Indeed, research by TRL in 2011 revealed that motorists would fail to properly maintain their vehicles without the pressure of a looming MOT deadline.
Jobs under the hammer
Then there’s the impact the extension could have on the MOT sector itself. Some predict that Britain’s 22,000 garages, which carry out 29 million MOTs annually, would be hit hardest, driving down incomes and threatening jobs in the sector. Shaban Ali, founder of MOT and servicing app MyFutureMot.co.uk, told the Bristol Post,
“Whilst arguing that the move will save motorists £109m collectively, it can also be said that the industry is set to lose £1bn annually if the proposal goes forward. It’s no secret that the industry gets a large part of its revenue from repairs and not the MOT fees. The repairs industry has weathered many storms recently but this change could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”
An industry that is set to lose so much might be expected to challenge the MOT move. However, drivers aren’t as keen on the move as might be anticipated either. According to an AA survey of 19,000 members, only 44% of motorists were in favour of the change, while 26% were set against it. The rest remained undecided.
The MOT itself came into existence in 1960, with the three-year check introduced in 1967. Some argue that this length of time means an overhaul of the test is long overdue, because cars are now more reliable and have better safety features. Perhaps the real question, though, is whether driver attitudes towards maintenance have changed for the better or worse over the years. Maybe it’s this area that the government’s review of the consultation should focus on next, before taking a final decision on the MOT change in 2018.
What do you think of the proposed change to the MOT? Is it a much needed reconfiguring of a dated, 50-year-old rule or a move that will put motorists’ lives in danger? Let us know your views below.
Much ado about nothing, if you ask me. With modern cars ( many with 5yr warranties) there’s no need for a full MOT at 3 years. In Northern Ireland where I live, it’s always been 4 years. This is not a problem & the government here doesn’t trust the trade to do them. All MOTs are at government testing stations.
I am inclined to agree. The original ‘MOT’ was known as the Ten Year Test, for obvious reasons, and this at a time when vehicles were far less reliable than today.
As for the point about tyres and brakes, if your tyres have 1.7mm of tread on test day, your car will pass (well, you know what I mean). Two months down the road the tyres will be illegal – but you don’t have to have a retest for another ten months!
I would support the revised timings, perhaps along with a doubling of the penalties for driving a car in an unroadworth condition.
Yes new cars are more reliable, but I believe it’s safe to say they still get nails in tyres, scuffs and dents to inside walls and brakes wear just as much. which unless a driver is very fastidious in checking will miss. I suggest a reduced check costing £20 for all cars for years 1-3
Also why not build in the funding for Mot’s onto the Road Fund Tax. Eg you pay £45 on top of Rft per year. From year 4
Road Fund Tax disappeared in the 1920’s. It is Vehicle Excise Duty; money that goes into the general tax fund and is nothing to do with road maintenance. If it were, perhaps we wouldn’t have so many potholes…….
Unfortunately, N. ireland is right not to trust the industry: I know of MOT passes that were almost lethal.
And, yes, cars are much more reliable than they were even a decade ago but I also like the suggestion of an annual ‘essentials’ MOT for the first years because there are some very high mileage drivers. Also there are some very mechanically ignorant drivers who don’t know how to check their cars so that damaged tyre sidewalls go unnoted. Many don’t even regularly check tyre pressures: just stick some petrol in and wait for it to breakdown!
Hasn’t the government got more important issues to deal with at the moment and why take a chance with road safety for a minimal cost saving to individuals when there’s a proven, effective system in place? In the UK many cars/vans cover 20000 miles or more a year so, until a mileage based MOT inspection period can be developed, the test frequency should stay as it is.
Other countries set it at four years without a problem so why not here ?. If the government want to get in line with France then set the MoT at two yearly intervals. If it works there why not here?. We could all save some money then.
Seems not to have wrought havoc on European roads, why should it do so here?
I wouldn’t trust many people to maintain their vehicles to a safe/legal standard over a 4 year period without a legal necessity to do so. 45 years in retail and manufacturing convince me this would be bad for road safety and bad for exhaust emission maintenance. One very basic example I come across is the total ignorance on brake fluid’s hygroscopic properties, its effect on the boiling point and thus the need for regular fluid renewal. That is just one thing.. of many
Furthermore the insane change of some years ago to exclude pre 1960 vehicles from any MOT is with us. People who run these cars are in the main conscientious but dealing with them they can be extremely naive. These cars at least need testing (including to basic emission standards of the age) on an annual basis
Because cars these days have 3 (and more) year warranties does not prevent owners from servicing them outside the franchise – or at all.
UK prides itself on low(ish) road deaths. For reasons on car integrity then watch them rise if this all goes through?
I think Insurance companies may have to step in instead.
Regardless of whether a car comes with a 5 year or 7 year warranty or how reliably it starts every day, faults can occur.
I worked in the car hire trade for 14 years and it wasn’t unusual for brand new cars to be delivered with faults that, admittedly, were covered by the warranty but would have been an MOT failure.
One statistic that I didn’t notice in the article was how many 3 year old cars fail their first MOT test.
It states that 17% fail on their first attempt but it looks as though that figure relates to all cars year on year.
Personally I wouldn’t want it to change as, apart from saving a few quid, I can’t see any benefit.
I’d rather get an fault or potential problems sorted sooner rather than later.
I agree with Hugh Marcus the vehicle should be inspected independently as to many garages fail cars so they can get the work to repair them.
I would favour a move to the German TUV model – Government controlled MOT centres that do the checking giving users a choice of the Garage to rectify the faults – This will stop rogue garages inflating problems and cashing in it would also bring a higher standard to the MOT test as most of the checking is done via technology a print out is given to the driver with a list of the item that have failed. – It works a treat in Germany should work fine here – but of course vested interests will scream blue murder and nothing will be done to change the status quo.
Today’s cars may well be more reliable but today’s driver is just as lazy as his forebears – if not more so! Maintenance and replacement of worn components is not dependent on the car’s reliability, but today’s extended routine maintenance makes the present-day owner unaware that tyres, for example, still wear out. It only takes one drive after dark to see how many cars, new and not so new, that are driving around with faulty lights; I have just done a quick survey of cars parked in my local supermarket and identified at least five cars with clearly illegal tyre treads … and four of those were on cars less than three years old!
Personally I believe EVERY vehicle should be subject to an annual inspection, and that’s from an owner of three classic cars which are now exempt from any MOT test!
How about using mileage rather than age or a combination of both.
Initial MOT @ 4 years or 40,000 miles then bi annually or every 40,000 miles, \Whichever comes first.
Long overdue – my last 4 private cars have all passed their first MOT without problems – 3 passed the second as well. Your own figures support this with 83% – yes that right, 83% passing the first MOT. How you can even attempt to compare the safety of a modern day car with the cars we drove when the MOT was introduced is beyond me. many ‘old bangers’ are safer then the the old ‘new’ car. If you want to protect jobs then why not force people to have an MOT on a new car? That would generate lots of jobs. Perhaps we could force people to have houses re-roofed every year and boost the building trade? Its a crazy argument.
4 Years is a great idea and I agree 4 years or 40000 miles and it’s about time something is done about some of the garages that fail a car to make money I had a 3 year old car only 3500mls on the clock and it failed an mot as they said it needed new pads and discs all round Lucky for me I New a bit about cars and took to a reputable dealer to be rechecked whom said that my car should have passed Nothing wrong with brakes so time to change the whole system and have government controlled checking services and weed out the cowboys who use us as there personal cash machines
The Mot should be reduced to Two years. Looking at the faults that are shown up after the three years limit is quite alarming.
Secondly, as many have stated, the Mot should be carried out by a government agency – Not private garages.
Speaking from personal experience, (as I do ride a BMW motorbike too) took it to the dealership for its mot, and it came with a £800 bill to be passed. Took it to another mot station, and it passed.
The test should remain at 3 years, when you consider that some company cars and vans can cover 100,000 miles plus in 3 years. Why should we fall into line with some of the other European countries , we all ready have the safest roads in Europe. lets not go backwards
I would like to see 4 year or 40k miles which ever comes sooner and all tests at government testing stations.
The figure of £109 million saved per year is probably someone stupid not being able to do the maths.
In reality, imagine you have a pot for MOT where you put £15 every year, so that come the first MOT (after three years) you have the required £45. If the first MOT comes after 4 years, you will only need to put aside £11.33 every year, saving almost a whopping £4 per year.
About 2.7 million cars were sold in 2016, so the overall savings are about £11 million per year, definitely not £109 million.
I think that the milage of the car should be taken into account. Vehicles which have been used by business and then sold on can have huge milages on the oddometer.
My own car at 2 years 9 months old had covered over 94,000 miles
I have lived in Western Australia for many years where cars are not tested annually and are only tested at government testing stations if you are stopped by the police for something minor and given a yellow sticker on the windscreen (illegal to remove, car can be driven for up to 10 days) or a red sticker, car most be towed or loaded only and government tested before sticker removed and car back on the road.
The argument is that so few accidents are caused by car degredation ie tyres brakes lights cracked windscreens etc, most accidents are speed weather road conditions driver.
Garages and mechanics do not have the opportunity to cajol people into as much unneeded repair work and the guise of mot work.
Granted the weather is not as hard on the cars there but cars are much better now than 30 years ago though the mileage argument above is reasonable also.
The not test was introduced by the government to cut the accident rate. As such it failed. Accidents are seldom caused by faulty cars. Driver error, excessive speed, road conditions and inexperience are the prime causes. Address these and drop the MOT completely.
It is drivers who need more frequent testing ,cars are not dangerous in themselves it the drivers who cause accidents not cars..A faulty car will hit the owner in the pocket when a fault is found after any accident .I do not worry about faulty cars but I am worried about the number of bad “drivers ” that are let loose on our over congested roads
I think the Mot test should remain at 3yrs, I was a mechanic when the 10yr test was changed to 3yrs and I could tell you some hair raising stories, no one liked the change but it was the best thing ever. People say cars are better now and it’s rarely the car’s fault in an accident, well that’s proof that the Mot system works. I’ve seen faults on brand new cars, it wouldn’t hurt to have them tested as part of the yearly service.
It’s the cars of people who complain about the Mot that that are the biggest offenders.
It isn’t only the 4-year first MOT that is being proposed. They also want to exempt all cars from the MOR when they reach 40-years, just as they already have for cars that are 60. As the owner of a 1970’s classic, I think this is madness. The whole classic car movement including the press and FHBVC are against it, but it looks likely to go ahead. Who benefits?
I’ve had a great idea to improve quality of tyres, wheels and brakes.
Fill in all the potholes on the roads.
Wonderful idea, I’m amazed that no one in Government has ever considered it.
Leave things as they are for safety reasons & if somebody who bought a new car 3 years ago can’t afford £39 for an MOT test it’s a poor show
It is scary that as many as 17% of 3-year-old cars fail their first MOT. I don’t think any of my cars have ever failed an MOT with a serious fault. My garage (the local one in my village, not a main dealer) automatically treats minor things like failed bulbs, bad headlight alignment and worn wiper blades as a pass on the assumption that the garage will replace/fix those failed components if they are found.
I usually check my car before the test to make sure all the bulbs are working and that the tyres are not badly worn and the wiper blades aren’t split. I would be deeply embarrassed if a car failed for something that I should have been able to notice myself. Suspension, steering, headlight alignment and emissions are a different matter.
In theory all MOT garages should be using identical pass criteria, just as all driving test centres should pass (or fail) the same drivers. I’m sure some garages are a bit more fussy than others if they can see a lucrative repair job as a result. The idea of using government-controlled centres who have no vested interest in carrying out unnecessary repairs sounds good.
Absolute insanity for all of the reasoning that I put forward in the content of my previous post a few weeks ago.
How can a garage proprietor possibly make MoT’s pay when taking into account the overheads and technicians wages and all that is involved in conducting what is really only charged at a one hour labour rate.
There are garages locally that are conducting MoT’s on the cheap – this surely has to reflect in the attention that is NOT BEING PAID to the areas that really matter.
Items being overlooked with a perfunctory reason for not investigating further – such as rear seat-belt integrity being skipped because a child-seat is fitted and under-body trays obscuring views.
There are instances of year on year advisories being ignored until total failure before a fail certificate is issued.
Misting of the oil in suspension struts and advisory oil leaks should be failures – what about the environment ?
MoT’s being conducted without a proper warm-up procedure to test the emissions and then the vehicle being failed and then taken straight around to another garage and being passed.
My new car will have covered only 9,000 miles by the time it is 3 years old. Other 3 year old vehicles will have travelled 10 times that distance. Clearly mileage has to be considered, as others have suggested “4 years or 40,000 miles which ever comes first”, has to be a good move.
Whether the vehicle is one day old or 10 years old, things do go wrong which can not be prevented. At least those who own their new vehicle would look after it for couple of years and then would not care. This is the time when the vehicle should be tested and this can only be done with MOT. MOT result would prove how you care about your vehicle and the lives of human being
So many drivers don’t do even the most basic checks on their vehicles, the first time they get looked at is the MOT. I see vehicles every day with brake lights not working and under inflated tyres. Time should be reduced not increased.
The article says that 17% of cars fail on their initial attempt to pass the MOT which sounds about right if we’re talking about all cars. So how many of those 17% were 3 year old cars? I bet its not many.
However there are many parts on a new-ish car that still need regular weekly inspections to make sure your car is safe, like tyres, brake hoses, lights, oil and water levels, brake pads, shock absorbers and suspension. Neglect those inspections at your own peril. Never rely solely on an inspection by a garage.
When I was driving a van it was requirement to check all these thing every morning.
I think going 4 years without an MOT is pushing it, but then new cars are normally serviced under a warranty, so they are already getting regular inspections at the dealer garage, although not for all the same checks as an MOT, but we are talking about relatively new cars.
Mot based on mileage sounds like a good idea. Then again this new 4 year plan
may never happen I remember being told by my local mot station that the gov
we’re looking to move from a 12 month test to a 2 year but nothing came of it.
Sadly, whether it is three years or four years,most people don’t trust garages.
Most cars have a 3 year warranty therefore they should have had 2 full services, perhaps more depending on milage. I wonder how many cars that fail the MOT in year 3 have had dodgy servicing. Most garages are not your friend and as such you have to be careful who you use for servicing and MOT. Before I get any of my cars MOTed I check them out eg lights, horn brakes etc. That goes for all of my cars from my 18 year old Subaru to the Vauxhall which turned 3 Aston year. If a car is filthy inside and outside it is a sign that the owner has probably not interested in the bits eg brakes etc that you cannot see. The cars which fail probably fall into this category.
I think MOT’s are another form of taxation. Many States in the USA (Michigan – the home of the motor car being one of them) do not have MOT’s.
As the USA is more advanced than the rest of the world, why did they get rid of the MOT altogether some years back? I understand they set up a committee looking into this very subject and they concluded, for example, that no-one would be silly enough to drive their car if their brakes did not work for instance. They would get them fixed and I tend to agree. Also, their statistics on catastrophic failures leading to accidents are no worse than ours and probably better.
So, do we really need MOT’s? And, if the government was so concerned about our safety rather than their own revenues why isn’t the MOT free? Motorists pay so much already to keep their cars on the road.
If people can’t be bothered to insure their cars or pay the road tax or service or check their tyres even for their own safety we need an mot at least it was right one day of the year.
I have lots of replies to comments on this subject.
John Shepherd, as an MOT tester, perfunctory items such as child seats and under body trays as you put them are not over looked. We are not allowed to remove trays in case of damaging them and if I mess with a child seat fastening and the vehicle is involved in an accident resulting in injury to said child, I am liable.
Stephen Lister, The MOT test price is £54.45 for cars.
Peter Waud, how do you propose to police the mileage suggestion?
David Taylor, MOT tests on classic vehicles becomes an option not to test it only not compulsory. Most classic cars are a labour of love and owners are more than happy to maintain these cars in excellent condition.
S.Allez, 3yr old cars from my experience very rarely fail on major issues. It is usually minor issues like lights, wash/wipe or tyres, which should all be checked by the owner/driver as a matter of course on a weekly/monthly basis.
Ian Basford, you sir are the only person to post who shows a modicum of logic. Well done Ian.
Leave the MOT test as it is I say. As an MOT tester, I don’t see an issue with how it is done now. Of course you will get unscrupulous garages who bend the rules but these are in a minority, I assure you. Take a hint on MOT prices. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Since the introduction of the DVLA test there have been significant advances in vehicle system technology which in general would point to the 4 year test being a good idea.
However I think you have to look a little deeper when you look at vehicle braking systems. The first significant change was the abolition of asbestos in the brake pad & ling material We now have pads that are manufactured in general as semi-metallic, organic or ceramic but the majority of brake discs are still machined out of cast iron due to its thermal stability, cost & ease of manufacture. This means that pads are now often harder than the disc material & that they wear more quickly, it is surprising the number of vehicles that fail their first test on dangerously weakened discs. It must also be remembered that as the disc gets thinner it loses its ability to dissipate heat which can in itself lead to problems of warping of the disc & brake fade.
Calliper design has also changed considerably as we moved away from fixed callipers to sliding callipers. Fixed callipers which are very efficient but do not tolerate imperfections in brake disc surface irregularity. The sliding calliper is far more tolerant to this, but is very prone to sticking or indeed complete seizure through lack of use, a factor that the people who say “my car does very little mileage”seem to chose (or are unaware of) to overlook. Seized calliper pins can lead to a 50% reduction in braking efficiency, another factor that is noticed on the first test. A good qualified mechanic will be aware of this & will remove, free off & lubricate the callipers
On the braking system alone I would say the correct move would be to reduce the first test to the two year point & then retest every subsequent two years..
Scrap the M.O.T. altogether I say.
Back in the fifties my dad could drive legally on slicks. Unidentified bits were always dropping off the car but only ever saw a garage when it wouldn’t go at all. A neighbour used to fix most things for him with a hammer and a spanner. Happy days.
4 Years or 50000 miles whatever comes first then two years or 15000 miles
4 Years or 40000 miles, 2 years or 20000 miles
Garages that do the test can’t do the repairs to stop fiddling.
many sales reps will average 40,000 miles in one year. some drivers only go back and forth to work and do less than 20 miles a week – using the car as there is no public transport. So surely the best way is to do on mileage ?
I have driven many cars from new for very high mileages and none have ever failed a 3 year MOT. To say a 17% failure rate of MOTs is a reason for newer cars to be tested is daft, as is using the livelihood of the poor old garage owners as a reason not to change.
I was not aware drivers were a charity, ripped off maybe.
OK – To compromise and keep both sides happy!
WHy not authorise garages who complete a manufacturers scheduled 3 year service on a vehicle the ability to confirm this at DVLA in place of an MOT for that year…. maybe more years?
Potentially more work for the poor old garages to keep them off the streets.
Less hassle for the majority who already have the 3 year service – drivers happy.
Leaving the MOT as minimum safety check for the high mileage lease cars sold off before the 3 year MOT requirement.
I mention minimum safety check as I purchased an older car my son wanted with 8 months MOT so I had it MOT’d before buying and it passed. When I got home after a 200 mile drive I took the car off the road as it was a death trap. Steering column loose, ball joints and wheel bearing shot, rear breaks not functioning to mention just a few of the issues. All sorted and safe now but demonstrates the point.
!! Don’t rely on an MOT as a complete safety check – it is a minimum but very important and very necessary base from which to start !!
Northern Ireland, part of the U.k.
MOT test required after four years!
My car is 7yrs 6months old and only done 17.036 genuine miles,and has passed 4 MOTs with nothing wrong,
so why not go to 4yrs for 1st MOT if you drive sensibly.
I get suspicious when people are afraid of the Mot test, I don’t mind them at all and it wouldn’t bother me if it was every year from new. There’s nothing nicer than driving away with a pass certificate. In all my 54 yrs of having my car tested not a single testing station has wrongly failed my car.
I agree that to some drivers MOT s highlight dangerous conditions with the cars. If a car is serviced by a competent garage, ( which should be subject to inspections just as MOT stations are) then this annual service should be recorded at DVLA and be equivalent to an MOT.. I was following a 6 year old Mondeo on Thursday, at steady speed it was pouring out a smoke screen, the roa was just visible, under acceleration it was worse. I wonder when it was last serviced or MOT d. Self servicing your own car is ok IF done properly, but some drivers haven’t got a clue!!
I know a lady who thought the MOT was a full service??? I had a look at her car one time the filters were at least 3 years old and the oil was really black, not what you expect on a relatively modern car.???
Very interesting comments, as usual many varying opinions but one thing is for certain there are still cars on the road that should not even see the light of day, how these vehicle passed their MOT heaven knows.
Surely the affect on MOT Businesses would be a one off, in the first year of introduction/
I recall that the MOT was introduced to help a flagging car industry some 50 years ago. No recognition was given of the law of unintended consequences that led to abuse of the system by garages to extract further charges out of the exploited motorist. We have all encountered this problem at various times with the Government Agency responsible for giving licences to garages doing nothing, even when presented with proof of contrived work.
The ultimate deterrence to driving a dangerous car is in the event of an accident wherein the state of the car is considered in any police investigation. There is a case for cars aged 5 years and above to be professionally checked, but with ruthless punishment of garages contriving work to benefit their own pockets at the expense of the car owner.