MOT changes: what’s going on?

You may have seen the recent news about potential changes to the current MOT format. What’s going on and what could this mean for your drivers? Let’s give you the lowdown…. 

The MOT test was introduced in 1960, requiring vehicles to undergo its first check after 10 years. This was later reduced to three years in 1967 and has remained the same since. In January, the Department for Transport (DfT) and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) launched a six-week public consultation to discuss the current MOT first date and test frequency “to make it fit for the future.” 

With the average price of an MOT costing £40, the government says this could save motorists £100m a year. While the government is claiming this is to help reduce costs for consumers in line with the current cost of living crisis, as well as adapting to new vehicle technology which is more advanced than it was in the 60s when the test was introduced, there are many who oppose the changes to the current MOT requirements. 

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT trade body, said: 

“Although today’s vehicles are safer and more reliable than ever, safety-critical components such as brakes and tyres continue to wear through normal use and lead to millions of MOT failures every year, including at the current first test at year three. Stretching MOT intervals will shrink the safety net and jeopardise the UK’s record of having some of the safest roads in the world in exchange for a small saving, which could actually cost consumers more in the long run as complex faults can develop over time.”

The AA also opposes the changes, stating it would see “an increase of death traps on wheels on the road”. Edmund King, president of the AA, said: 

“The MOT plays a vital role in ensuring that vehicles on our roads are safe and well maintained, and while not a formal recommendation, we totally oppose any change from an annual MOT. Last year, 83% of drivers said that the annual MOT was ‘very important’ for keeping our cars and roads as safe as possible, which highlights why an annual MOT must remain in place. With one in 10 cars failing their first MOT, we strongly discourage the government from extending a car’s first MOT to the fourth anniversary due to road safety concerns.”

However, some bodies think the MOT needs to evolve and adapt to the vehicle technology of today. 

Sue Robinson, chief executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) said: 

“With advancements in technology and testing, cars and commercials are increasingly becoming safer off the production line, particularly with components such as autonomous emergency braking systems becoming more widely adopted. It is critical that the MOT system evolves and adapts in tandem with the rapidly developing technology used in automotive vehicles today.”

We spoke to Ian Wright, Operations Manager at JCT600 VLS, who works closely with garages and our customers to manage maintenance and vehicle downtime, to get his thoughts on the proposed changes and what it could mean for our customers. Ian said: 

In fact, I’ve just had a car today that has failed its first MOT, which may have caused complications if it had not been picked on the 3rd year 1st test and would have resulted in unplanned down time under the potential new changes. 

“With electric vehicles often only needing a service every two years, under the proposed changes it could be only 1 visit to a repair agent in the four years before an EV needs an MOT. Whilst I agree we must continue to evolve processes to meet today’s driver and vehicle technology, safety must always be the priority.” 

Whatever your views are on the proposed changes, everyone agrees safety must be of the highest importance. The consultation closes on 28 February. For further details and to have your say, find out more here: