Official DVSA guidance has been published to set out criteria for when a vehicle does not need an MOT if it was first registered more than 40 years ago.
Following changes to MOT standards made on May 20, vehicles built or first registered more than 40 years ago do not require an MOT unless “substantial changes” have been made to the vehicle in the last 30 years.
The DVSA document defines “substantial change” as a modification that changes “the technical characteristics of the main components”, such as a replaced chassis, body, axles or engine.
Substantial changes defined by the DVSA
- Chassis replacements of the same pattern as the original do not count as a substantial change. Monocoque bodyshell, including any sub-frames, replacements of the same pattern as the original do not count as a substantial change.
- Alterations to the type and/or method of suspension or steering counts as a substantial change.
- Alternative cubic capacities of the same basic engine and alternative OE engines do not count as a substantial change. If the number of cylinders in an engine is different from the original, it’s likely to be, but not necessarily, the case that the current engine is not alternative original equipment.
Changes made to preserve a vehicle because the original type parts are no longer reasonably available does not count as a “substantial change”.
Axles and running gear can also be changed without affecting the vehicles MOT exemption status.
While drivers don’t have to apply to stop getting an MOT for their vehicle, it must be kept in a roadworthy condition or risk a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points.
Safety concerns remain
Until May 20 2018, all vehicles that were manufactured before 1960 were exempt from compulsory annual roadworthiness testing, representing 197,000 vehicles on the UK’s roads.
It’s reported that there’s now a further 293,000 vehicles that have become expect.
The change followed a government consultation in which 1,130 respondents opposed MOT exemption for vehicles over forty-years-old while 899 supported the plans.
According to the Department for Transport, historic vehicles are “usually maintained in good condition and used on few occasions”.
Concerns that these cars are at greater risk of failure than their modern counterparts were dismissed with the claim that “they are used on few occasions, usually on short trips and requiring a full MOT was unreasonable.”
Commenting on GW, Stuart said: “I am an MOT test inspector and based on the vehicles we see and fail, the exemption is a recipe for disaster which will undoubtedly come back to bite the public.
“There is no outcry from the public for this exemption.”
Similarly, GW reader Paul Richards of Medway MOT Centre in Rainham said: “I am an owner of classic vehicles, I own an MOT station and repair such classics.
“I would consider myself best placed to judge on this matter, and I think it is a ridiculous idea.
“So many of these are not maintained to a high standard.
“Many are rotten and owned by people with a passion, but not the money.
“I spent the weekend surrounded by classics cars, vans and their owners, and not one of them owners I spoke to thought it was a good idea.”
Keep your comments on MOT exemption for classic cars coming in and let us know if you support the change or if you’re also concerned about the safety implications. Share your opinions in the comments below.