Proposed MOT changes: drivers reject idea to change first test

MOT changes

The annual MOT enables technicians to perform vital road safety checks

Drivers have come out against a government proposal for MOT changes. Ministers are considering switching a car’s first MOT from three-years old to four. But experts say this could mean up to 500,000 more dangerous cars on the road. And in a survey for industry body the Society of Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), three quarters of car owners (76 per cent) snubbed the idea of delaying a car’s first MOT.

Why is government proposing MOT changes?

The government argues that delaying a car’s first MOT would bring us in line with France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. It says the move would save drivers £100 million a year, an average of £45 over each car’s lifetime. The government claims it’s reasonable to shift the MOT because modern vehicles have become more resilient to wear and tear.

Why drivers are against the idea

When the SMMT polled drivers, it found that 83 per cent think the test is worthwhile because it brings peace of mind. More than two thirds (68 per cent) said they were concerned that delaying the MOT test by a year could put them and other road users in danger.

Why motor experts are against the idea

According to government figures, nearly a fifth (17 per cent) of cars fail their first MOT. The SMMT argues that postponing the MOT test for a year could see half a million more unroadworthy cars driving around. The government last did a consultation on moving the first test from year three of a car’s life to year four in 2008. Then, the Department for Transport estimated it could lead to 71 additional road deaths per year.

According to figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) which administers the MOT test, cars at three years old fail the test for a variety of reasons. In 2015, the top five included faulty lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment (143,413 cars), tyres (85,720), driver’s view of the road (73,883), brakes (47,138) and suspension (24,628). Every year 22,700 test centres conduct approximately 29m MOT tests.

The expert’s viewpoint

Mike Hawes is chief executive of the SMMT which commissioned the study of driver attitudes. He said: “Extending the first test for cars from three to four years is not what consumers or industry want given the serious risk posed to road safety and vehicles’ environmental performance. The latest vehicles are equipped with advanced safety systems. But it is still critical that wear and tear items such as tyres and brakes are checked regularly and replaced. We urge government to scrap its plans to change a test system that has played a vital role in making the UK’s roads among the safest in the world.”

What is the MOT

The MOT test was devised in 1960 as a means of ensuring ever more complex cars are in a fit and roadworthy state. Initially it only applied to vehicles that were 10 years or older. But in 1967 it was applied to cars that were three years or older. Once cars reach three years, they must pass the MOT test every year. The official price of the MOT is £54.85. However, many garages offer it for less as a way of attracting customers. The DVSA estimates that £45 is the average MOT cost across the UK.

39 comments on “Proposed MOT changes: drivers reject idea to change first test

  1. Colin Holyhead 07/06/2017 10:16 AM

    I do not agree with the idea to MOT at 4 years instead of 3.

    • Norman Sidney Pickett 20/06/2017 3:42 PM

      I do agree that four years between mots is far better than three years the car I have recently bought is in very good condition and I do not have any finance owing the vehicle. I do not not do a large yearly mileage obviously because of my age. I am not prone to accidents and I have never had an accident to knowledge.I am 84 years old nearly 85 and I obey the rules of the road and I think people like me should get more privelidge Thank you for listening

      Norman Sidney Pickett

  2. kevin tipping 07/06/2017 3:22 PM

    I think alot can go wrong in that extra year if your car ‘s not reliable alot of people will not bother with a full service

  3. Alan Vine 07/06/2017 3:26 PM

    I think it is prudent to have the MOT check after 3 years, to check steering tyres lights etc.

  4. David Cowell 07/06/2017 3:35 PM

    The mot should be held at 3 years and not moved to 4 years

  5. Philip Evans 08/06/2017 11:28 AM

    Most people get their MOT and service at the same time so these will not be affected by the change to 4 years. The MOT is only an annual check anyway – for example we see numerous cars on the road with faulty lights which presumably passed their MOT’s. Simplistically some will look after their cars better than others and those that don’t will be the problem irrespective of the move to a 4 year MOT.

  6. Chris 08/06/2017 2:03 PM

    Drivers should be more knowledgeable about their cars and can easily check tyres. If the cars are serviced regularly, then these faults should have been highlighted. My local garage warned me about any possible future problems after each service.

  7. David Blackwell 08/06/2017 2:24 PM

    I agree with the government proposal. Modern car reliability and durability is very high. Over the last eleven years I have owned six cars (all different models, from two manufacturers) and not one has failed an MoT at its 3yr test point and then not at its 4yr test point.
    A driver wanting the re-assurance of such a test may opt to purchase one at any time.
    Environmental protection arguments from motoring bodies such as the SMMT are flawed by the revelations about diesel engines and malpractice within the vehicle supply indiustry.

  8. Bernard Walker 08/06/2017 3:41 PM

    Should the MOT be based on mileage and years,very much like the scheduled maintenance of a vehicle. There are people in business that do in excess of 60,000 miles in a three year period, yet on the other hand there are people that only do say 10,000 miles in three years. If it is to check the mechanical reliability of a vehicle then the vehicle that does 60,000 miles in three year could potentionaly be in worst condition and hence more dangerous.

  9. Glynis Clifton 08/06/2017 5:38 PM

    Cars should be serviced regularly from day one which ensures their safety and reliability. The MOT therefore shouldn’t be necessary for cars under five years. The history of servicing and faults should always be required. New cars are far more reliable now than they used to be.

  10. Peter Sibley 08/06/2017 7:27 PM

    I am happy with the three year testing and hope it remains

  11. R Watson 09/06/2017 11:08 AM

    MOTs should be on mileage not age, Some cars have done 50,000 miles in three years others as little as 5,000

  12. johnleigh 09/06/2017 12:31 PM

    leave it at 3 years

  13. R.H. 09/06/2017 12:53 PM

    I agree that the 1st MOT should be put forward to 4 (FOUR) years

  14. Mrs Gwynneth Flower 09/06/2017 1:29 PM

    I totally agree with the view that to defer the first MOT to four years is a retrograde step. Many 3 year old cars have covered a significant mileage particularly if they are company vehicles and so the MOT at three years is an assurance that the vehicle is still roadworthy. As we are leaving the EU I see no reason for us to change to align our policy with that of other EU countries.

  15. Jim 09/06/2017 3:25 PM

    I did not vote against 4 year MOTs they should make it 6YEARS.

    • James Collins 17/06/2017 9:01 AM

      You obviously haven’t thought this through because included in this are commercial vehicles, under 3.5 tonne. I used to be a same day courier driver and in 1 year I would do around 100,000 miles, no vehicle will be safe for 400,000 miles let alone 600,000 miles, I do understand where you are coming from but until the MOT is based on mileage and not time elapsed this will not work and it needs to be 3 years.

  16. Vance Rees 09/06/2017 7:58 PM

    with the deterioration of roads in the UK an MOT is vital for every vehicle

  17. Dave Garrard 10/06/2017 8:34 AM

    The problem is many drivers don’t do their own checks on tyres and breaks etc for that reason the compulsory tests are necessary and an extra test at three years is not going to break the bank.

  18. Jessie C H Holdsworth 10/06/2017 11:12 AM

    I consider 4 years to be sensible for a new car as they will mostill likely have a service contract included.

  19. Dennis Greeno 10/06/2017 10:34 PM

    As an MOT tester i know that there are lots of vehicles at 3 years that are not meeting requirements so these would be dangerous by 4 years. This is a ridiculous proposal.

  20. John Warlow 11/06/2017 5:36 PM

    Perhaps an abridged MOT at end of year three re brakes, tyres & lights cold be an option?

  21. Ian Carey 12/06/2017 9:56 AM

    I am amazed so many cars fail their first test due to lights not working and illegal tyres.Taking a car for a mot and not checking if the lights work or you have no idea of the condition of your cars tyres is barmy.These are basic run of the mill maintenance checks that should be carried out every week at least and on the morning of testing surely.

  22. June Gibson 12/06/2017 10:47 AM

    No-one likes shelling out for the tests but really, would you like to think of vehicles being on the road for six years before they were tested? You have seen the above figures of failures after three years. Are you happy with other perhaps neglectful drivers zooming about with dodgy brakes and tyres for six years? Cars might still be newish but some are driven very hard even in their first year or two especially if the driver is not the owner – say, company cars, hire cars, etc.

  23. M gray 12/06/2017 11:52 AM

    If a car is over 3 years but under 5 like most of the garage/ dealership warranties on new cars these days, when sold the vehicle dealerships should offer and be charged the fee to match the vehicles warranty. Peace of mind for drivers, safety checks are the most important thing!

  24. Ian Reynolds 12/06/2017 12:37 PM

    Approximately 20% fail the 3 year test which surprised me and is a pretty high failure rate.

  25. Philip Pritchard 12/06/2017 5:21 PM

    When I was working I could do between 400 and 900 miles a week. I think the first MOT after the first year at this sort of millage is needed.

  26. Mal Hen 12/06/2017 10:31 PM

    Fair comment but as a high mileage per year driver, I would have thought £30 was a price worth paying for safety and peace of mind, Why not have a test after 12 month or a dedicated mileage. Problem solved

  27. Gerard McPhillips 13/06/2017 2:42 PM

    I don’t believe the the survey was impartial and the questions asked were probably tilted towards getting a response that suited garages. 4 years is fine for the 1st mot.

  28. Ken 14/06/2017 9:17 AM

    Why do the government want to be the same as Spain and France etc, when we are coming out of the E U, they would then have to put taxwe up on something else to recoup the revenue lost……

  29. Mr Russell 15/06/2017 9:33 AM

    Whilst you cannot rely on private owners to carry out basic checks on a regular basis, I believe that the current system should be maintained. Quite often company vehicles are driven to extreme,but if leased they typically have servicing as part of the contract.

  30. Neil Claydon 15/06/2017 1:11 PM

    Most cars come with a three year warranty, meaning any faults found at first mot other than fair wear and tear are covered by the manufacturer, that would not be true at four years for most makes of car. It also means many more cars will be unsafe at first test. When I was an mot tester I pretty much knew most first mot test cars would fail, sometimes dramatically so.

  31. Peter Monaghan 15/06/2017 1:39 PM

    First MoT at 3 years or 30,000miles sounds about right to me. What is the failure rate increase in France,Spain & Portugal after 4 years???

  32. Colin Rigg 18/06/2017 1:22 PM

    As usual the government are thinking with there backsides and not the brain, I agree with other drivers, leave it at 3 years it has worked for years why change now. Drivers are doing a lot more miles now and the condition of the roads do not help, fighting pot holes bugger the drivers never mind the cars. KEEP IT AT 3 YEARS.

  33. Steven Parker 18/06/2017 6:10 PM

    With 20% of cars failing the first MOT then four years is to long.
    Have all new cars MOT every year that makes it safe.

  34. G Sarjantson 20/06/2017 8:23 AM

    Every car every component is different, depending on the way the car is driven and looked after, The more checks the safer it is for everybody.

  35. Antony 21/06/2017 10:12 AM

    I do not support the changes proposed by Government

  36. Mike Collins. 26/06/2017 1:40 PM


  37. tony royal 16/10/2017 10:34 AM

    I lived in France for 20 years and I took my new car with me, it passed the 4yr. m.o.t. with no problems every time ( Nissan X trail) I did service it reccomended times, also whatever size car you own there is no road tax and they manage to keep the roads superb

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