DVSA updates guidance on MOT exemption criteria for classic cars

Owners of unroadworthy classics risk £2,500 fine and three penalty points but GW readers still concerned over safety

DVSA updates guidance on MOT exemption criteria for classic cars
A further 293,000 vehicles will become MOT exempt earlier this week.

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”.

Related: New MOT standards go live but confusion remains over ‘dangerous’ defects

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.

“Ridiculous idea”

“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.

Home Page Forums DVSA updates guidance on MOT exemption criteria for classic cars

This topic contains 6 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Richard williams 9 months, 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • Author
  • #158709 Reply


    Talking to a broker this week I was told all insurance companies will be adding a hefty premium (£100) for any vehicle without an MOT so it may be more cost efficient to keep them tested and road worthy. Obviously this will only work for the well maintained cars and the more unsafe ones will probably opt out.

    #158710 Reply


    The only benefit to us as company is we can register our imports as they arrive now than having to m.o.t before the DVLA would accept the registration application. This will now speed completion for our customers. All our vehicles will still be sold with a new m.o.t on hand over.
    I think classics should be like selling houses. To sell your home a survey must be taken out first and I think a m.o.t should be required if you wish to sell.

    #158730 Reply


    This is the most ill thought out piece of legislation I have heard.
    I see and test these vehicles regularly and even the ‘nice shiny ones’ from time-to-time yield hidden defects (much to their owners horror!).
    Such was my concern that I contacted the DVSA, but when you usually ‘hit the nail on the head’ you are ignored.
    Many of you will remember the British Leyland stuff from the seventies (other makes available). So, as an example, just imagine ten or twentey years ago, your pride & joy failed it’s MoT and for whatever reason, you didn’t get it fixed, but, in the knowledge that it would always be a ‘classic’ (cough, cough) you stored it in your front garden under a tarpaulin to keep it nice and dry. You put it on a SORN because you wanted to stay legal. Still with me? Good!
    Well now, without any sort of mandatory pre-use inspection, you can pump the tyres up, and call it ‘just serviced’ get it running and say “there you are darling, I told them there was nothing wrong with her, fancy a spin”?
    You’re ahead of me aren’t you……


    Hooters, M.I.M.I

    #158820 Reply

    jim walker

    Hooters, your so spot on, couldn’t have put it better, death traps all of them and as an mot centre we see them all the time. should be no MOT ! no tax or insurance

    #159022 Reply

    charles almond

    we are an mot station of 30 yrs standing and i have never read such drivel from a government body in my life. they have written into this legislation a big list of get out of jail free excuses for people who do not comply. this from an organisation who will lift your testing licence for the slightest reason.these people should now be jobless. no mot no road use should be allowed disgusted

    #159082 Reply

    Richard williams

    Most of the negative comments I see are coming from M.O.T inspectors, which is to be expected, as they are upset about losing customers (money) The way I see it is most owners of classic vehicles are fanatical about the upkeep of there vehicle and will usually fix something before it breaks, unlike almost all owners of new vehicles who don’t check anything! Its quite simple, if you don’t choose to get a M.O.T and your driving a dangerous vehicle you will be punished.

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)


Reply To: DVSA updates guidance on MOT exemption criteria for classic cars

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have your say!

0 0

Lost Password

Please enter your username or email address. You will receive a link to create a new password via email.