MOTS: Are they changing to every 2 years?
The government has announced potential plans to move the MOT test from an annual test to one every two years in the UK for vehicles over three years old. These proposed changes are being considered by the government to try and alleviate the UK’s cost of living increases.
When a car reaches the age of three, it must undergo a yearly MOT test to ensure its roadworthiness and that it is legal to drive. An MOT evaluates the vehicle’s working components while highlighting any flaws or defects that require work to be completed to ensure it is safe. The checks ensure the vehicle meets the minimum standards laid out by the Driving and Vehicle Standards Authority.
In addition to checking the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), an MOT checks the registration plate (number plate) for security, legibility, and correct formatting. Only registered garages are legally allowed to carry out MOTs in the UK. The checks also include:
- Wipers and Windscreen Washer Bottle
- Steering and suspension
- Fuel System
- Wheels and tyres
What are the outcomes of an MOT test classified as?
- Minor faults
- Major faults
- Dangerous faults
A pass means your car is deemed safe, and no further action is required until the vehicle’s next MOT in 12 months. If your car is issued an advisory or a minor fault at its MOT, it is still legal to drive. These are things that have been highlighted that you need to keep an eye on or address shortly. This could be because the tyre tread is legal; however, it is close to the legal limit. Minor faults should be booked in to be fixed quickly.
Major defects mean your car can’t be driven legally until the fault has been fixed. If your present MOT is still valid, you can drive it until the expiration date, or if you are driving it to a garage to get it fixed. Major defects pose a potential safety risk to the occupants or other road users if the vehicle has an accident. A major defect isn’t always expensive to fix and can be a faulty wiper blade, which, if not working, could mean you could be in a situation where you can’t see out of the windscreen to drive safely.
Dangerous defects mean the car cannot be driven on the road even if the current MOT hasn’t expired or you’re driving to a garage for repair. If you drive a vehicle with a dangerous defect, you are risking your own and others’ lives, and it is classified as a criminal offence.
What is the MOT Test?
MOT stands for ‘Ministry of Transport, and this was the government department responsible for the roads when the MOT was first introduced in 1960.
The MOT test is an annual safety check that must be carried out on all vehicles every year unless they are brand new.
The MOT test aims to ensure that your car is safe to drive and meets the minimum legal standards. You can take your vehicle to any garage that is authorised to carry out MOT tests.
Always book an appointment in advance, and it is important to note that if your vehicle fails its MOT test, you will not be able to drive it on the road until the necessary repairs have been made.
Does the MOT test apply to all cars?
Some cars do not require an MOT test. If your vehicle is new or old, it won’t need an annual inspection.
- The date of manufacture or registration of the vehicle is less than 3 years old. Usually, these are new cars under warranty, so they do not need to be tested
- A classic car has not been significantly modified since it was built or registered at least 40 years ago.
The Government’s proposed changes to the MOT test and why they are being made
As living costs in the UK are skyrocketing, the government is working on finding ways to reduce them that are inexpensive to implement. If cars and other vehicles no longer need an annual MOT test, motorists could save up to £54.85 per year on a standard vehicle and £29.65 on a motorcycle.
Although annual MOT tests are important to ensure that vehicles on the road are safe and meet
the necessary environmental standards. Running a vehicle can be expensive for motorists, so the government is considering a two-year MOT test for vehicles to save money and protect people from the tough economic times being experienced currently and forecasted.
What is the reaction from the industry to the proposed changes?
The proposed measures have sparked debate with motoring groups and garages
claiming that the move would jeopardise road safety.
RAC head of policy Nicholas Lyes said:
“A MOT intends to make sure that vehicles are safe to drive on our roads. Shifting it from once a year to twice a year would result in a growing number of unsafe vehicles, potentially making our roadways far less safe.”
Stuart James, CEO of the Independent Garage Association (IGA), called the plan “dangerous, unreasonable, and unwanted.”
“It is true that in difficult economic times, motorists drastically reduce servicing their cars. The yearly MOT has managed to keep the UK’s safety on the road at high levels due to the essential safety checks it performs,” he added. Saving money on an MOT every two years is not worth investing in nationwide road safety.
“This proposition also will fail to save car drivers money in the long run because deficiencies will go unobserved for longer, causing more damage to cars, increasing repair costs at best, and unnecessary breakups and car crashes at worst.”
While we respect the government’s desire to reduce the economic burden on families, cutting costs for safety is not a responsible solution,” TyreSafe’s Stuart Jackson said.
The cost of keeping a vehicle in good working order is insignificant compared to the implications of a fatality caused by an accident that could have been avoided.”
Why is there such criticism about the proposed changes?
Motoring experts have questioned the critical consequences of such a change, fearing that trying to extend the disparity between MOT tests will result in more dangerous vehicles remaining on the road for longer.
In 2021, nearly one-third of automobiles managed to fail their MOT on the first try. According to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, 29.5 per cent of Class 4 MOTs (cars and smaller vans) failed on the first attempt. After corrective action, the failure rate dropped to 23.2 per cent.
Eight per cent, or 2,476,415 vehicles, did fail on at least one “dangerous” fault. More vehicles could be left running with potentially dangerous problems if the disparity between tests is stretched and drivers do not start taking responsibility for their vehicles.
In addition, without this regular checkup, it could be more difficult to identify vehicle safety issues. There may also be an increase in emissions if standards are not regularly checked.
Ultimately, the decision will come down to whether or not the potential savings for motorists outweigh the potential risks of eliminating the MOT test.
Would it save drivers money?
The speculated change is being promoted to relieve financial stress on motorists as living costs continue to rise.
Swapping to a two-year cycle would save motorists around £27 per year. because they only have to pay the £54.85 test fee every other year
However, some observers believe it will cost them more in the long run because minor issues will be missed and more likely to develop into larger, more costly repairs.
In summary, in the UK today, you are still required to have an MOT test carried out on your vehicle once per year.
The proposed changes to MOT testing may be slightly better for drivers’ wallets, but they could also have serious implications for road safety. If people only have their cars checked every two years instead of yearly, more minor faults will likely go undetected, and these often develop into bigger problems down the line if left unchecked.
If you have any concerns about the safety of your car, warning lights or whether it is due for an MOT, contact AP Autocare today at 0117 963 8916 and we can arrange an appointment on a day and time that suits you.