Government backs away from extending new car MoT exemption to four years

Safety concerns prompt decision to stick with three-year MoT exemption on new cars following consultation

UK MoT tests could become less stringent

The period before a car’s first MoT in the UK will remain fixed at three years. The decision to stick with the current system has been announced, after ministers from the Department for Transport (DfT) opted against extending the MoT test exemption for new cars to four years.

A four-month consultation on whether a car should only have to be put through its first MoT after it turns four years old – rather than the current three-year limit – opened in January 2017. Public response to the idea was mixed at best, however, with 73 per cent of people saying they didn’t think the MoT should be extended.

New MoT failure categories announced

These results are hardly likely to come as a surprise to ministers: back in April last year, research by the Society of Motor Manufactures and Traders (SMMT) produced near-identical results, with three quarters of respondents saying they wanted the three-year timeframe left in place.

Ministers initially argued that extending a car’s first MoT limit to four years would save motorists an extra £100 million a year in test fees, and also highlighted that 85 per cent of cars passed their first MoT.

• How to check your car's mileage and MoT history online

But that wasn’t enough to sway the thousands of people polled as part of the DfT’s consultation, with those claiming that the system should be left as is citing concerns over “safety critical components such as tyres and braking system components.”

A further DfT-commissioned poll found that when asked why they thought the test should be kept at three years, a staggering 92 per cent said their aversion to the change was due vehicle safety, or concern owners wouldn’t maintain their cars properly.

MoT test checklist: top tips for passing first time

Again, those findings are echoed by existing research, with the DfT’s own figures previously revealing the majority of vehicles failing their first MoT did so due to substandard tyres, brakes and lights – all safety-critical items.

Announcing the decision to leave the MoT test status quo, Roads Minister Jesse Norman said: “Although modern cars are better built and safer than when the MoT test was last changed 50 years ago, there has been a clear public concern that any further changes don’t put people’s lives at risk.”

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, welcomed the DfT's decision to stick with the three-year rule, saying: "Modern cars are more reliable than ever but the MOT test is often the first opportunity to check wear and tear items such as tyres, brakes and suspension, and it plays a crucial role in keeping the UK’s roads among the safest in the world.”

What do you think about the decision to sticj with a three-year wait for a first MoT? Let us know below...

Recommended

UK child car seat, booster seat and baby seat laws explained
Child seat booster seat car seat
Consumer news

UK child car seat, booster seat and baby seat laws explained

Detailed info on latest baby seat and child seat regulations, plus when it’s OK to use a booster seat
24 Mar 2021
8,800 drivers on UK roads with 12 points
Driver with second highest points doesn't have licence
News

8,800 drivers on UK roads with 12 points

There are currently 8,800 drivers in the UK still driving despite having enough penalty points to trigger an automatic ban
9 Mar 2021
VED road tax: how much does it cost?
car tax calculator
Consumer news

VED road tax: how much does it cost?

Confused by VED road tax? Our comprehensive guide explains how much you'll pay on your next car
4 Mar 2021
Budget 2021: Fuel duty frozen for 11th consecutive year
News

Budget 2021: Fuel duty frozen for 11th consecutive year

Chancellor scraps plan to increase fuel duty in bid to keep cost of living down during ongoing Covid-19 pandemic 
3 Mar 2021

Most Popular

'Nissan has been quietly building an advantage over electric car rivals'
Opinion Nissan EV
Nissan

'Nissan has been quietly building an advantage over electric car rivals'

Steve Fowler thinks Nissan is in a great position to build on the Leaf's success
8 Apr 2021
Nissan to launch new Juke-sized electric car
Nissan Juke EV - front (watermarked)
Nissan Juke

Nissan to launch new Juke-sized electric car

The new Nissan Juke-sized electric car will sit below the Ariya, and our exclusive images preview how it could look
8 Apr 2021
New 2021 Citroen C5 teased ahead of reveal on 12 April
Citroen C5 2021
Citroen C5

New 2021 Citroen C5 teased ahead of reveal on 12 April

New flagship Citroen C5 model will make its debut next week, sporting a bold new look
8 Apr 2021