By: Andy Newbound
So what’s wrong with the current MOT test? It kicks in once a car reaches its third anniversary, then carries on as an annual inspection until the car is no longer in use.
It’s been this way since 1967 yet the government has recently announced a range of new ideas designed to change this. Under the latest Department of Transport (DfT) proposals, one option up for consideration will see new cars being exempt from the annual MOT test until they are four years old.
MOT tests for cars reaching their third anniversary account for over 2million tests each year, and the overall savings for drivers would be significant. So is this the motivation behind the government’s proposals?
One other reason could be to get the UK in step with the rest of Europe before Brexit officially takes effect: Countries including France, Italy and Belgium don’t start testing their new cars until they are four years old.
However, when asked about the proposed changes, Transport Minister Andrew Jones explained; “New vehicles are much safer than they were 50 years ago, so it is only right we bring the MOT test up to date to help save motorists money where we can.”
To support this theory, the DfT points out that in the last decade, the number of three or four-year-old cars involved in accidents where a vehicle defect was a factor has fallen from 155 in 2006 to 57 in 2015 – that’s almost two thirds.
These statistics certainly suggest the government’s proposals have a sound foundation. Yet the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) disagrees. The RMI believes the three-year warranty periods of most new cars can actually lead to driver complacency. Servicing and maintenance during these warranty periods will usually identify and rectify any faults. As a result, drivers are less likely to notice when something is wrong with the car and extending the MOT period from three to four years could actually be dangerous.
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AA president Edmund King agrees, and a recent poll conducted on King’s Twitter page suggested that AA members support his views, with 54% lobbying for the current system to remain in place.
According to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), around 40% of cars fail their first MOT test. Considering the government’s argument that modern cars are better built and safer, this is a surprisingly high number. When interrogated further, these statistics reveal the most common reasons for the MOT failure; adding weight to the concerns raised by both the RMI and Edmund King’s AA.
- 30% of all faults relate to lighting and signalling
- Over 18% of MOT failures are due to lightbulbs not working
- 10% relate to tyre condition and air pressure
- A further 8% are because of faulty mirrors, wipers or washers
When pressed on how an extra year of MOT-free driving might influence these statistics, AA president Edmund King said; ‘The downside is, we’re likely to see more cars with faulty tyres and lights slipping through the net.’
Despite this, the government seems determined to push through with its MOT changes and subject to its public consultation, these plans could come into effect in 2018.
In terms of cash savings this is clearly good news for hard-pressed drivers, especially considering the alarming rate at which petrol and diesel prices have risen in recent times.
However, drivers don’t necessarily have to wait until 2018 to save money on their MOT tests. With just a few simple checks and a little DIY maintenance, including replacing bulbs, checking tyres, wipers, plus oil and fluid levels, most car owners could increase the chances of their vehicle passing the MOT test first time, and reduce unnecessary repair costs. Regular servicing helps too. Why not find out more about Stoneacre’s affordable servicing packages?
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