Opinion: There’s better ways to ease cost-of-living crisis than reducing MOT frequency

LKQ Euro Car Parts chief executive officer Andy Hamilton has his say on proposed two-year MOT schedule

Opinion: There’s better ways to ease cost-of-living crisis than reducing MOT frequency

It’s hard to know where to start with the government’s wrongheaded proposal to reduce the frequency of MOTs.

Fundamentally, MOTs are there to protect drivers, other road users and pedestrians.

They ensure that vehicles are safe to be on the road, by identifying both potential and current issues with critical parts, including brakes and tyres.

There is no research or evidence to suggest that the idea of reducing them from an annual requirement to something that must be carried out every two years would not compromise safety.

This idea is solely a political one, a way to grab headlines so that the government can use to say it’s putting money back into people’s pockets during a cost-of-living crisis. And the numbers don’t even stack up – but I’ll return to that in a minute.

MOT standards are reviewed and updated every year to make sure that technicians have the latest knowledge and skills as the UK’s vehicle parc ages and evolves.

Related: DVSA emails testing stations amid fears over a new two-year MOT schedule

The rapid pace of technological change in modern vehicles, including the mandatory inclusion of ADAS in all new cars, makes this process critical to upholding safety standards over time.

According to Highways England, we have one of the safest road networks in the world.

Saving drivers £55 every other year doesn’t justify gambling with everyone’s safety – and that’s before you question whether the savings even stack up.

Consider that vehicles will now spend half the time in workshops that they did previously.

Minor problems will fester for two years before becoming major ones.

And with weekday vehicle usage now settled permanently below pre-pandemic levels, thanks to the rise of hybrid working, the risks of issues like brake corrosion and blocked particle filters increases.

Consumers face being left with much higher repair bills the less frequently they take their cars to the workshop.

It’s almost as if there was a reason why second-hand cars maintain their value with a full service history.

Next we must consider the impact on the independent aftermarket, a sector that relies on MOTs for a significant source of its revenues.

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And one that has already had to cope with an unprecedented period of disruption as the annual MOT cycle was shifted off its axis during the early months of the pandemic.

Seasonal patterns of supply and demand have been upended, causing real complications in resourcing and training – problems that the market leant into and coped with admirably.

As I’ve said before, this is an industry that supports 30,000 livelihoods and is present in every city, town and thousands of villages right across the UK.

The idea of cutting the frequency of MOTs is unsafe, unlikely to save money and a risk to a significant part of the economy.

There are easier and more meaningful targets in the cost-of-living crisis than our vehicles and our garages.

6 Comments

  1. £40-£55 per year will save nothing , less than a pound a week!!
    parliament are brain dead.
    saving more money at the pumps will help everyone! not the MOT test.

    Reply
  2. I was driving along the M25 Junction 7 gantry signs displayed “SAFE TYRES SAVE LIVES”. This to me seams an admission that there is a problem with people checking the condition of their tyres!!
    As we know in the industry a significant number of the general public do not do regular checks on their vehicles and rely on the annual MOT to find any issues. With the ever increasing cost of motoring the MOT is a very good value for money service not only for safety but for the customer as well

    Reply
  3. Its the most stupidest thing the government has come out with . As a MOT station we was earning more money 10 years ago . The costs of the test never goes up as its dictated by the area & what others are charging . Operations costs are now more . A MOT test fee should be at least an hourly rate of £75.00 .Government is a Joke . If 2 years comes in MOT stations will close .

    The funny thing is motorists do not look after there car like they used to & faults are only highlighted when it comes in for MOT .

    Help the cost of living reduce VAT back down to the level of 17.5 % that they promised to do when they took it up to 20 % that small amount will make a difference to what people have in there pocket .

    Reply
  4. The blame for initiatives like this rest at the feet of people who have voted for an imbecile to lead the country, in a lot of cases because he is a bit of a laugh. This is entirely a political initiative which will endanger countless vulnerable people. Who wants to turn a cycle perhaps carrying a child on a rear seat across the path of a car that hasn’t had brakes or tyres checked for two years?

    Reply
  5. Well Said!!! This government already took us on the downward turn with brexit, we are predicted to have the slowest economic growth and reducing MOT’s to every 2 years certainly won’t help GDP growth. It’s time this government stepped up to it’s failings, and helped people where help is needed. Get rid of Fuel tax, and reduce Energy costs.

    Reply
  6. most mots are discounted to around £30 so not much of a saving a takeaway can cost more , so stop demonising the garages who mostly do a good job on a shoestring increase the mot fee all garages should should strike for better pay things will soon come to a standstill and testers value appreciated

    Reply

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