Around 27 million cars are put through an MOT in Britain each year, processed by more than 60,000 MOT testers in over 22,700 garages.
Writing in a recent blog post, Neil Barlow, head of MOT policy at the DVSA, said: “It’s easy to get caught up in thinking about how we should improve the MOT testing service, but it’s also worth reflecting on the importance of the MOT itself.
“Every time you find a defect and either fail the MOT or provide the customer with advisories, you’re contributing towards safer vehicles.
“Your attention to doing this correctly, and continuing to improve is what helps keep our roads safe.”
While many test stations agreed that the test is helping to improve road safety, others raised familiar concerns.
Commenting on the blog post, Andrew Foster wrote: “Keep our roads safe?
“What a joke.
“We now have a bizarre situation that vehicles over as certain age no longer have to have any checks/tests at all.
“This means that some old cars can be dragged out of a barn and used on a road without any checks at all.”
Earlier this year, the DfT consulted on proposals to implement an exemption from testing for vehicles over 40-years-old in advance of a law change which is to be made by 2018.
Under current GB and EU law, all vehicles that were manufactured before 1960 are exempted from compulsory annual roadworthiness testing.
John Darby argued that the “test needs to be completely assessed from a safety point of view” and questioned the purpose of advisories.
He said: “You either have a pass or fail.
“Advisories, as I see it, are mainly for those who aren’t sure they should pass it.”
He suggests a grading system as an alternative; “A for super safe, B for very good, C for good and, D for safe and E for go home and try again”.
Another reader raised the point of set MOT fees.
Harry wrote: “What we need is a set fee.
“One price for all, with no reductions, a level playing field so we can invest in our testing service.
“Most stations in my area are charging less than they were 15 years ago.
“Halfords just down the road from me has a sign outside ‘MOT’s £10.00’.
“The two stations close to them are charging £15.00 trade and between £20.00 and £25.00 to the public.
“How do I explain to my customers why my price should be double?”
In response, the DVSA said MOT discounting is a “contentious subject and one that not all garages would agree on”.
The agency recently told GW that it is working with the DfT on a review of MOT test fees ahead of a formal consultation in early 2017.
History of the MOT
The Ministry of Transport introduced the annual testing of vehicles in September 1960, when there were 9.4 million vehicles on our roads compared.
The early test was only carried out after a vehicle was ten year’s old and then every year after, with basic brake, light and steering checks.
Looking to the future of the MOT, Neil said: “[The] DVSA will keep developing the service and working towards improving the quality of MOT standards.
“We’ll also keep on improving the MOT testing service so that it better meets your needs.
“One area we’re currently working on is improving how we engage with garage owners, managers and testers to make sure we’re changing and adding things to the service you want.”
Share your comments about recent MOT changes and any concerns you may have in the comments below.