Concerns raised about four year MOT proposal

12.00 | 14 July 2015 | | 3 comments

A number of motor industry organisations have expressed concerns about the Chancellor George Osborne’s intention to consult on extending the period before a vehicle’s first MOT from the current three years to four years.

Mr Osborne announced the idea in his Summer Budget speech on 8 July, suggesting the change will save motorists more than £100m annually. The extension from three to four years would only apply to cars and motorbikes, not vans.

David Gerrans, managing director at the warranty provider Warranty Direct, said: “Three years is generally a landmark age for a car. In most cases, it stops being covered by the manufacturer’s warranty and things start going wrong and wearing out.

“While adding another year before an MOT is due is a nod to improving manufacturer build quality, it could be viewed as detrimental to road safety, as the average driver will need to replace tyres and brakes before the four-year mark.”

Warranty Direct also says the first MoT failure rate is also set to “rocket” from the typical 20%.

The proposed changes also haven’t proved popular with the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) which represents franchised car dealers, independent garages and petrol retailers.

Stuart James, director of RMI, said: “The government seems to take the view that the MOT is a burden on motorists – we think that motorists deserve more credit than that.

“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.”

The RMI says even an average mileage car is significantly more likely to be driving on unsafe and worn tyres and brakes after four years compared to three.

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) gave a ‘cautious welcome’ to the proposed changes, but also suggested “time and mileage-based criteria” for the first MOT.

Gerry Keaney, chief executive of the BVRLA, said: ““Cars are more reliable than ever, but extending the first MOT deadline could pose safety issues for cars that are doing high mileages and aren’t serviced regularly.”

TyreSafe has voiced concerns that four-year MOTs will “negatively impact road safety”.

Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe chairman, said: “In recent years there have been various proposals on changing the timing and regularity of the MOT test which have all been rejected on the grounds of their negative impact on road safety.

“While cars and motorbikes are more reliable than ever before, there are safety critical components which require regular maintenance and replacement. Evidence shows millions of Britain’s motorists do not check or maintain these parts, and only replace them when required to do so in order to pass the MOT.”

No date has yet been set for the consultation to begin, and if a new law is to be introduced it is unlikely to be until 2016.


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    There is an assumption that a vehicle will be maintained by a dealer network and that the mileage will be modest. You only need to listen to the tyre industry on how poor tyre safety is and observations by us all on how poor lighting checks/maintenance by owners is to know that an extra year without a full check on safety is a nonsense.

    Olly, Lancs
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I have no problems with this. If the law is changed then the insurance companies will accommodate it. No offence committed.

    However in the old days a vehicle being insured did not have to have an MOT, just be kept in sound or good working order. This was basically because the MOT does not in fact make the vehicle roadworthy other than at the time of the test. It could have a faulty bulb an hour afterwards. However some insurances have now taken it as if it did make the vehicle roadworthy all year and therefore will nullify the insurance should anything happen, and a claim is made.

    It also makes it impossible to take any vehicle, no matter what it is, for an MOT if its old MOT had expired. It would no longer be covered by insurance, negated due to no MOT. That’s a conundrum isn’t it.

    Bob Craven Lancs…Spacer is Safe Campaigner
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    With the increased complexities of engine and other management systems controlled by microchips, it is beyond many motorists ability to do anything mechanical in assessing their vehicles state of roadworthiness without computerised diagnostics, other than checking tyre pressures and lights. On some modern vehicles even the bonnet cannot be lifted, fluid levels being accessed by a small panel, and opening the bonnet can disable the engine starting procedure (I am told this of a certain Audi).

    At the other end of a vehicle’s lifespan, cars and motorcycles built before 1960 are M.O.T. exempt, and a great deal of comment has been made on that by historic vehicle owners to the effect that many would wish the annual test be continued. In fact, many have chosen to take their exempt vehicles for an annual check up. There is also the fact that many insurance companies will declare their policies null and void if there is no valid M.O.T!

    Derek Reynolds, Salop.
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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