Industry shock as gov officially proposes four-year MOT exemption

New cars and motorcycles could no longer require an MOT for the first four years on the road under new plans

Industry shock as gov officially proposes four-year MOT exemption
The consultation, which ends on April 16, seeks views on whether there should be a change to the period of the initial MOT test, extending it from three years to four years; and whether that change should apply only to cars and motorcycles. Image: Bigstock.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has unveiled new proposals which would extend the period before the first MOT test is needed from three to four years.

The extended exemptions could come into effect as early as next year, subject to a consultation launched by the DfT and DVSA last week.

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 we bring the MOT test up to date to help save motorists money where we can.”

The government’s preferred choice is to either increase the age all vehicles get their first MOT from three to four years or to increase the age cars and motorcycles get their first MOT from three to four years, but keeping it at three years for vans in classes four and seven.

Proposed options
  • Option one: Keep the current period for vehicles requiring a first MOT at three years, with no change.
  • Option two: Increase the age all vehicles get their first MOT from three to four years.
  • Option three: Increase the age cars and motorcycles get their first MOT from three to four years, but keeping it at three years for vans in classes four and seven.

The proposals have been pitched as a ‘money-saving’ move for owners of the 2.2 million cars that undergo their first MOT test each year.

It is anticipated that option two would result in 8.3 per cent fewer tests while option three would result in 7.5 per cent fewer tests.

In the consultation document, the DfT says: “Garages affected by a loss in revenue will need to look at options for utilising the freed up resource from doing fewer tests, and may face transitional costs associated with new work or services implemented to fill that gap.”

The DfT argues that in the last ten years, the number of three or four-year-old cars involved in accidents where a vehicle defect was a contributory factor has fallen by almost two-thirds, from 155 in 2006 to 57 in 2015.

Road safety concern

However, the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) believes that drivers are far less likely to be aware of vehicle faults, particularly as the majority of new cars have a three-year warranty period from the manufacturer which identifies and rectifies such faults without cost to the driver in the period where an MOT is not yet required.

Speaking previously on the risks of moving to a 4-1-1 MOT system, RMI director, Stuart James said: “The government seems to take the view that the MOT is a burden on motorists.

“Road safety is a priority for them and their families and they understand that roadworthiness testing of vehicle is an important part of making our roads among the safest in Europe.”

Independent garages across the country have contacted GW to emphasise their safety fears.

‘Stupid change’

GW reader, Alastair Mayne said: “Unfortunately many members of the public think that we, the motor trade, are purely against this change because we will be ‘missing out on MOT test charges’.

“It is important for us to educate our customers, the public, in order for them to understand the safety issues this stupid change could create.

“We are all sharing our roads with other vehicles and so it is in everyone’s best interest to make sure that every other vehicle on the road is a safe as possible.”

Neil Lindsay told GW the consequences of a 4-1-1 system “doesn’t even bear thinking about.”

Increasing mileage

He said: “Some are clocking up 100,000 miles per year and often the state of the vehicles, even after a year, are not safe.

“Surely, if four years is to be seriously considered there should be some overriding mileage limit to force earlier than three yearly tests let alone four yearly tests.”

Similarly, Hassen Oomar said: “I have come across so many cars of 18-months-old that require attention [with] tyres, ball joints, wheel bearings, top suspension mounts just to name a few.

“To lengthen the time of testing to four years will jeopardise the life of other road users.

“I regret to say that those behind this idea are stupid and have no ideas about safety.”

Share your concerns and experiences in the comments below.

50 Comments

  1. The official email arrived last week and I clicked on the link to answer the survey and was taken to a ‘new drivers and motorways’ page.
    I sent a query and was told the link didn’t work!
    The revised email arrived Sunday and I tried again to answer the questionnaire. All went well until the question about sub section 4.3… There isn’t one and I’m still waiting for a response.
    I don’t think it’s the way to go as people try and get out of servicing and repairs as much as they can. It also appears that dvsa can’t put a questionnaire together properly so heaven help us.
    I was going to move to America but…

    Reply
    • Just a quick follow up from my earlier post about the question on section 4.3. After 22 minutes on the phone to the number they told me to ring (the man I spoke to at first didn’t know what I was talking about but eventually put me through to the person who had set up the survey) after some deliberation he decided that there was a ‘typo’ and 4.3 should actually have been 3.3 !
      So if your filling in the survey and they haven’t altered it then 3.3 refers to cost savings for motorists which I told him was negligible and which a lot of you are picking up on. Saving money for voters is all well and good but not at the expense of safety and lives.

      Reply
  2. The official email arrived last week and I clicked on the link to answer the survey and was taken to a ‘new drivers and motorways’ page.
    I sent a query and was told the link didn’t work!
    The revised email arrived Sunday and I tried again to answer the questionnaire. All went well until the question about sub section 4.3… There isn’t one and I’m still waiting for a response.
    I don’t think it’s the way to go as people try and get out of servicing and repairs as much as they can. It also appears that dvsa can’t put a questionnaire together properly so heaven help us.
    I was going to move to America but…

    Reply
    • Just a quick follow up from my earlier post about the question on section 4.3. After 22 minutes on the phone to the number they told me to ring (the man I spoke to at first didn’t know what I was talking about but eventually put me through to the person who had set up the survey) after some deliberation he decided that there was a ‘typo’ and 4.3 should actually have been 3.3 !
      So if your filling in the survey and they haven’t altered it then 3.3 refers to cost savings for motorists which I told him was negligible and which a lot of you are picking up on. Saving money for voters is all well and good but not at the expense of safety and lives.

      Reply
  3. The test should be every year from new.

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  4. The test should be every year from new.

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  5. How can government think that saving around £50 per year i.e. £1 per week for the cost of an MOT can seriously be a consideration to motorists – this will be a reason for insurance companies to increase their premiums because of increased risk of accidents, as essential repairs are ignored by motorists not knowing that brakes or tyres etc need changing, also the knock on effect will be that of increased repair costs to the motorists again because where a set of brake pads only may have been needed if left the discs too would need to be replaced. Roadside recovery premiums would also increase due to the lack of attention to repairs.
    The Transport Minister says “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” so why should we be changing this, he has really answered his own question of what to do. If is not broken don’t fix it. Because the industry is not regulated we have a situation that anyone can buy a set of brake pads and fit them to say, a 3 tonne vehicle such as a Range Rover, without any instruction or qualification, can fit them on the side of the road or driveway and carry on driving down the road these huge vehicle may then have to stop quickly may be at a pedestrian crossing, cause lets face it the speed limit is adhered to either, and then that huge vehicle whose brake pads have been incorrectly fitted and is now 3 and half years old so has never been inspected now manages to kill children innocently crossing the road, all to save the drive £1 per week – this is a disgusting idea and I will be contacting my MP to push that things are left the same – or made even stricter i.e. lets license the motor trade and allow only registered technicians to work on vehicles.

    Reply
  6. How can government think that saving around £50 per year i.e. £1 per week for the cost of an MOT can seriously be a consideration to motorists – this will be a reason for insurance companies to increase their premiums because of increased risk of accidents, as essential repairs are ignored by motorists not knowing that brakes or tyres etc need changing, also the knock on effect will be that of increased repair costs to the motorists again because where a set of brake pads only may have been needed if left the discs too would need to be replaced. Roadside recovery premiums would also increase due to the lack of attention to repairs.
    The Transport Minister says “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” so why should we be changing this, he has really answered his own question of what to do. If is not broken don’t fix it. Because the industry is not regulated we have a situation that anyone can buy a set of brake pads and fit them to say, a 3 tonne vehicle such as a Range Rover, without any instruction or qualification, can fit them on the side of the road or driveway and carry on driving down the road these huge vehicle may then have to stop quickly may be at a pedestrian crossing, cause lets face it the speed limit is adhered to either, and then that huge vehicle whose brake pads have been incorrectly fitted and is now 3 and half years old so has never been inspected now manages to kill children innocently crossing the road, all to save the drive £1 per week – this is a disgusting idea and I will be contacting my MP to push that things are left the same – or made even stricter i.e. lets license the motor trade and allow only registered technicians to work on vehicles.

    Reply
  7. Putting more money into road maintenance/repairing pot holes etc would save motorists more money and would increase safety, rather than this uneducated proposal which introduces more risk to road users.

    Reply
  8. Putting more money into road maintenance/repairing pot holes etc would save motorists more money and would increase safety, rather than this uneducated proposal which introduces more risk to road users.

    Reply
  9. The comments from Julie above are spot on. The reason our roads are safe is due to a three year mot. Lets not fix what isn’t broken. Leave it as it is

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  10. The comments from Julie above are spot on. The reason our roads are safe is due to a three year mot. Lets not fix what isn’t broken. Leave it as it is

    Reply
  11. Don’t fix what isn’t broke. Keep our roads safe. If any change, it should be 2.1.1. Some cars have done high mileage at 1st test, they’re don’t all just do the school run.

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  12. Don’t fix what isn’t broke. Keep our roads safe. If any change, it should be 2.1.1. Some cars have done high mileage at 1st test, they’re don’t all just do the school run.

    Reply
  13. if the accident rate caused by defective cars has fallen by two thirds then why change it ?
    some cars now run up 100,000 miles a year why not put a limit on the mileage within the first 1,2,or 3 years and if they exceed this an mot would be required most certainly on trucks and vans ! keep our roads safe and other users.

    Reply
  14. if the accident rate caused by defective cars has fallen by two thirds then why change it ?
    some cars now run up 100,000 miles a year why not put a limit on the mileage within the first 1,2,or 3 years and if they exceed this an mot would be required most certainly on trucks and vans ! keep our roads safe and other users.

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  15. What a stupid idea. I have failed three-year-old cars with dangerous notices quite a few times. What would happen with these cars if it’s four years before a test? Absolute madness.

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  16. What a stupid idea. I have failed three-year-old cars with dangerous notices quite a few times. What would happen with these cars if it’s four years before a test? Absolute madness.

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  17. i run a mot station if this happened i would have to pay off 1 off my testers how much would this save the goverment they cant even spell road safety

    Reply
  18. i run a mot station if this happened i would have to pay off 1 off my testers how much would this save the goverment they cant even spell road safety

    Reply
  19. This idea has been addressed before, in my experience as a garage/MOT testing station owner of 22 years, there are very few vehicles that pass their first MOT after 3 years. The most common failures are lighting, suspension & tyres.

    It is not uncommon these days for a vehicle to have covered more than 100,000 miles in the first 3 years, service intervals are far greater (2 years, 24,000 miles on some vehicles), in my mind there is an awful lot than can & does go wrong in this period.

    I know you may be thinking as a garage owner I am more concerned about the commercial loss to my business, I am not!

    As an enthusiastic motorist it fills me with horror that the car coming towards me may well have several dangerous faults & it may not be old enough to have had to undergo an MOT test.

    I am convinced that if this idea is passed it will result in more accidents & casualties, in an ideal world everyone would have their vehicles serviced annually or at 12,000 miles, that just does not happen. A compulsory government standard test (MOT) is the only was to ensure our roads are kept safe from dangerous vehicles.

    Nigel Tye, Tyetune Auto Services, test station number 0484BC.

    Reply
  20. This idea has been addressed before, in my experience as a garage/MOT testing station owner of 22 years, there are very few vehicles that pass their first MOT after 3 years. The most common failures are lighting, suspension & tyres.

    It is not uncommon these days for a vehicle to have covered more than 100,000 miles in the first 3 years, service intervals are far greater (2 years, 24,000 miles on some vehicles), in my mind there is an awful lot than can & does go wrong in this period.

    I know you may be thinking as a garage owner I am more concerned about the commercial loss to my business, I am not!

    As an enthusiastic motorist it fills me with horror that the car coming towards me may well have several dangerous faults & it may not be old enough to have had to undergo an MOT test.

    I am convinced that if this idea is passed it will result in more accidents & casualties, in an ideal world everyone would have their vehicles serviced annually or at 12,000 miles, that just does not happen. A compulsory government standard test (MOT) is the only was to ensure our roads are kept safe from dangerous vehicles.

    Nigel Tye, Tyetune Auto Services, test station number 0484BC.

    Reply
  21. This another totally wacky idea from pen pushers. I can only assume this ludicrous idea is influenced by the dealerships , as it would obviously boost new car sales and filling the pockets of the already greedy rich. There is without doubt obvious safety issues, catalogued by hands on experienced people in the motor trade. Get a couple of these pen pushers into a garage for a while and let them see the condition of some 3YR OLD vehicles at 1st mot never mind 4. In my humble opinion the mot should be mileage dependent anyway, It is usage that wears things out not only age.

    Reply
  22. This another totally wacky idea from pen pushers. I can only assume this ludicrous idea is influenced by the dealerships , as it would obviously boost new car sales and filling the pockets of the already greedy rich. There is without doubt obvious safety issues, catalogued by hands on experienced people in the motor trade. Get a couple of these pen pushers into a garage for a while and let them see the condition of some 3YR OLD vehicles at 1st mot never mind 4. In my humble opinion the mot should be mileage dependent anyway, It is usage that wears things out not only age.

    Reply
  23. I have just repaired a vehicle this morning which was registered in 2013 and has 169,000 miles on the clock. The government say this change in the mot test period will save the motorist £100 million a year, it would save a customer of mine £35.00, a small price to pay to prevent loss of life.

    Reply
  24. I have just repaired a vehicle this morning which was registered in 2013 and has 169,000 miles on the clock. The government say this change in the mot test period will save the motorist £100 million a year, it would save a customer of mine £35.00, a small price to pay to prevent loss of life.

    Reply
  25. To change to a 4-1-1 cycle is going to cause untold problems. Motorists are already trying to avoid maintenance anyway by not servicing their cars regularly, and giving them the chance to leave the MOT for another year is dangerous to say the least. With the high mileages that some cars do, yes over 100,000 miles in a year for many, without a compulsory need to visit a garage to have an MOT is ludicrous. If this is to be put into action then there should be a proviso that cars should be serviced by a professional garage at the very least annually regardless of mileage, plus a need for the MOT to be carried out at a maximum of say 60,000 miles (which is when many cambelts need to be changed anyway) not just a time basis. The government just has not thought this through.

    Reply
  26. To change to a 4-1-1 cycle is going to cause untold problems. Motorists are already trying to avoid maintenance anyway by not servicing their cars regularly, and giving them the chance to leave the MOT for another year is dangerous to say the least. With the high mileages that some cars do, yes over 100,000 miles in a year for many, without a compulsory need to visit a garage to have an MOT is ludicrous. If this is to be put into action then there should be a proviso that cars should be serviced by a professional garage at the very least annually regardless of mileage, plus a need for the MOT to be carried out at a maximum of say 60,000 miles (which is when many cambelts need to be changed anyway) not just a time basis. The government just has not thought this through.

    Reply
  27. The cost of an MOT test is minor compared to the cost of the repairs in year 4. For most people the MOT test is a reasonably priced vehicle check over. As a nation we do not know how to look after our vehicles like our European friends. We don’t keep our servicing up to date. We don’t check our Tyres regularly enough. Most car drivers do not know how to change a wheel. A tyre blow out can be disastrous. The Break down companies will have to attend to more vehicles by the roadside due to tyre failures. This will in turn increase premiums as their costs rise. Brake pads will wear to the point of damaging the Discs. Overall the motorists cost will increase.

    Reply
  28. The cost of an MOT test is minor compared to the cost of the repairs in year 4. For most people the MOT test is a reasonably priced vehicle check over. As a nation we do not know how to look after our vehicles like our European friends. We don’t keep our servicing up to date. We don’t check our Tyres regularly enough. Most car drivers do not know how to change a wheel. A tyre blow out can be disastrous. The Break down companies will have to attend to more vehicles by the roadside due to tyre failures. This will in turn increase premiums as their costs rise. Brake pads will wear to the point of damaging the Discs. Overall the motorists cost will increase.

    Reply
  29. Car tax for new cars is increasing for an average car to £140 and IPT tax is also increasing. It is utter madness for government go on about saying it is saving money for the motorist by threatening the livelihoods of small mot garages and road safety.

    Reply
  30. Car tax for new cars is increasing for an average car to £140 and IPT tax is also increasing. It is utter madness for government go on about saying it is saving money for the motorist by threatening the livelihoods of small mot garages and road safety.

    Reply
  31. Unfortunately a large proportion of motorists do not see the MOT as a minimal safety standard and when they are given the pass to them they have no intention of checking their vehicle for lights, brakes, tyres or steering components for another 12 months. I cringe when I hear them say great that’s it for another 12 months!! So to have a vehicle that does not get checked for 4 years is ludicrous. If the government were not so keen on improving safety why do they impose penalties of 3 penalty points and a fine of up to £2500 for one illegal tyre?

    Reply
  32. Unfortunately a large proportion of motorists do not see the MOT as a minimal safety standard and when they are given the pass to them they have no intention of checking their vehicle for lights, brakes, tyres or steering components for another 12 months. I cringe when I hear them say great that’s it for another 12 months!! So to have a vehicle that does not get checked for 4 years is ludicrous. If the government were not so keen on improving safety why do they impose penalties of 3 penalty points and a fine of up to £2500 for one illegal tyre?

    Reply
  33. Yet again it will only be the people that can afford to buy vehicles less than three years old that will supposedly save any money at all.

    Poor motorist buying vehicles over three years old will not save anything and may even end up paying out more for the repairs at the four year Mot if the vehicle has been run into the ground by the previous owner avoiding repair costs that would normally have been forced upon him at the three year Mot.

    Reply
  34. Yet again it will only be the people that can afford to buy vehicles less than three years old that will supposedly save any money at all.

    Poor motorist buying vehicles over three years old will not save anything and may even end up paying out more for the repairs at the four year Mot if the vehicle has been run into the ground by the previous owner avoiding repair costs that would normally have been forced upon him at the three year Mot.

    Reply
  35. NISSAN NAVARA. Do we need to say anymore.

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  36. NISSAN NAVARA. Do we need to say anymore.

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  37. All this shows is that those who say they are concerned with road safety have no idea what the MOT is actually for. To even mention saving the motorist a million pounds a year in the same sentence as road safety sums up the idiotic thinking behind this.
    If we have the safest roads in Europe why has it entered anyones head that we need to aligned with anywhere else less safe?
    DVSA have downgraded the MOT to at best an irritation at worst an irrelevance. The DfT are only concerned with the opinions of motor manufacturers and they will listen open mouthed as to the quality of todays vesicles. Yes they are better in respect of build quality but they are not immune from worn tyres or brakes. Few people now check anything on their vehicles including lights, washer fluid even engine oil so how can it be assumed by going another year these vehicles will remain safe. There is no obligation for anyone to have a service.
    The test has already been watered down regarding brakes and shocks, whilst the number of ways to fail a number plate is enormous. Which relates to road safety and which is a revenue earner?
    Repair the roads and prevent suspension and wheel damage don’t come up with some bull statement about saving the motorist £1,000,000 a year. Reduce duty on fuel, cut vat, now that would really save the motorist money and would not compromise road safety at all, they may even have some cash left over for better maintenance.

    Reply
  38. All this shows is that those who say they are concerned with road safety have no idea what the MOT is actually for. To even mention saving the motorist a million pounds a year in the same sentence as road safety sums up the idiotic thinking behind this.
    If we have the safest roads in Europe why has it entered anyones head that we need to aligned with anywhere else less safe?
    DVSA have downgraded the MOT to at best an irritation at worst an irrelevance. The DfT are only concerned with the opinions of motor manufacturers and they will listen open mouthed as to the quality of todays vesicles. Yes they are better in respect of build quality but they are not immune from worn tyres or brakes. Few people now check anything on their vehicles including lights, washer fluid even engine oil so how can it be assumed by going another year these vehicles will remain safe. There is no obligation for anyone to have a service.
    The test has already been watered down regarding brakes and shocks, whilst the number of ways to fail a number plate is enormous. Which relates to road safety and which is a revenue earner?
    Repair the roads and prevent suspension and wheel damage don’t come up with some bull statement about saving the motorist £1,000,000 a year. Reduce duty on fuel, cut vat, now that would really save the motorist money and would not compromise road safety at all, they may even have some cash left over for better maintenance.

    Reply
  39. A real bad idea , clearly something that has been cooked up to fit in with EU law.

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  40. A real bad idea , clearly something that has been cooked up to fit in with EU law.

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  41. Ridiculous idea. Mots should be stricter not less frequent. This is the first step towards EU 4-2-2 testing and must not be introduced. I voted out in Brexit and this was one of my reasons. Our mot is the minimum requirement as it is. I think an Mot should be every year and should include removal of road wheels and some sort of basic service/brake adjust etc. Mileages on 3 year old cars are at an all time high and mots should be more frequent.
    Is there a online petition in support of not allowing these changes? If not perhaps one should be set up?

    Reply
  42. Ridiculous idea. Mots should be stricter not less frequent. This is the first step towards EU 4-2-2 testing and must not be introduced. I voted out in Brexit and this was one of my reasons. Our mot is the minimum requirement as it is. I think an Mot should be every year and should include removal of road wheels and some sort of basic service/brake adjust etc. Mileages on 3 year old cars are at an all time high and mots should be more frequent.
    Is there a online petition in support of not allowing these changes? If not perhaps one should be set up?

    Reply
  43. In these days no one will even open the bonnet of their car to check coolant level or engine oil because they think an Mot test includes a service but it doesn’t and if they do go for a 4 year Mot then maybe we will get even more work after all when their engines start rattling and hey more work for us so they won’t save any money, probably cost them more.

    Reply
  44. In these days no one will even open the bonnet of their car to check coolant level or engine oil because they think an Mot test includes a service but it doesn’t and if they do go for a 4 year Mot then maybe we will get even more work after all when their engines start rattling and hey more work for us so they won’t save any money, probably cost them more.

    Reply
  45. In my opinion cars should require an MOT every year even from new I work in a garage which caters for the private hire drivers in the area and the cars usually have massive miles after 3 years some in the region of almost half a million miles, to allow these cars to go another year before test and is madness, even some private cars aren’t in great condition after 3 years I’ve seen some cars still in warranty needing suspension looked at and dealers put it down to wear and tear so inevitably it costs the owner money l own a 12 year old car it’s never needed a shock absorber or spring and then there’s the 2 and a half year old car needing a pair of shockers and my old car is a Renault and newer car being a VW so they are far from better built so this idea of 4 years for MOT is crazy make it every year and also make it compulsory to have your car serviced also every year extended intervals are crazy and allow for engine wear my own car is serviced every 4K or 3 months so to allow the old oil to stay in an engine for 2 years is also madness especially in a world obsessed with global warming yet we allow cars to go without regular servicing and care

    Reply
  46. In my opinion cars should require an MOT every year even from new I work in a garage which caters for the private hire drivers in the area and the cars usually have massive miles after 3 years some in the region of almost half a million miles, to allow these cars to go another year before test and is madness, even some private cars aren’t in great condition after 3 years I’ve seen some cars still in warranty needing suspension looked at and dealers put it down to wear and tear so inevitably it costs the owner money l own a 12 year old car it’s never needed a shock absorber or spring and then there’s the 2 and a half year old car needing a pair of shockers and my old car is a Renault and newer car being a VW so they are far from better built so this idea of 4 years for MOT is crazy make it every year and also make it compulsory to have your car serviced also every year extended intervals are crazy and allow for engine wear my own car is serviced every 4K or 3 months so to allow the old oil to stay in an engine for 2 years is also madness especially in a world obsessed with global warming yet we allow cars to go without regular servicing and care

    Reply

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