It will certainly be good news for owners if new cars could be exempt from MOT tests for the first four years. If this happens, the new law could be introduced from as early as next year, according to government sources. For business owners such as dealers and test centres, unfortunately, that would mean a drop in business.
What is an MOT
It is a government law that requires all owners of vehicles older than three years to have their cars tested annually in terms of road-worthiness. After the initial three years the test must be carried out every year thereafter. If you’re caught driving a vehicle without a valid MOT, you could be fined as much as £1,000.
The government is looking at the possibility of introducing new rules that will see an MOT test carried out only after four years, instead of the current three which has been the case since 1967. This would amount to savings of £100m per year for approximately 2.2m drivers, if an average MOT test costs £45. There is no fixed fee that a garage or dealer may charge, but the maximum is £54.85; however, many charge less to attract business.
The government is looking at more than one possibility to adjust the current system. Under the first possibility all cars, motorcycles and vans would be exempt for another year, i.e. the first test after four years for all. The other possibility is to exclude vans from that proposed list, meaning they will still need MOT after three years. Whatever plan is adopted, all cars will need an MOT after four years anyway. That is if the current system is changed.
MOT in Other Countries
If these proposals are adopted it will bring Wales, England and Scotland in line with Northern Ireland and other parts of Europe such as Belgium, Denmark, Spain, France, Italy and Norway.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said, “We have some of the safest roads in the world and MOT tests play an important role in ensuring the standard of vehicles on our roads. New vehicles are much safer than they were 50 years ago and so it is only right to bring the MOT test up to date to help save motorists money where we can.”
AA president Edmund King, however, cautions, “The downside is that we are likely to see more cars with faulty tyres and lights slipping through the net. Most three-year-old cars will have undergone regular servicing, so the majority will be in good condition.”
Buying a nearly 4 year old used car which has not had an MOT test is potentially too much risk for many private individuals. It’s possible that the majority of these cars will be sold to companies who buy any car.
A poll of AA members has shown that not everybody is in agreement with the proposed changes – some 44% only indicated that they are in favour of a possible change.