Currently reading: Four-year MOT exemption for new cars scrapped
Extension of the time before a car needs its first MOT from three years to four has been cancelled due to safety fears

A new car's first MOT will remain at the three-year point, after a Government proposal suggesting a car's first MOT should be after four years was scrapped with concerns over safety.

Following a public consultation, the decision, which was set to take effect later this year, has been overturned. Fewer than half of the public consulted were in favour, with the main concern being the safety risk involved in delaying the first MOT of a car until its fourth year.

The current three-year period needed before a car's first MOT was introduced in 1967, when it was reduced from 10 years. In the proposal, the Government said "safer technology and improved manufacturing" have resulted in "new vehicles that stay roadworthy for longer." 

The Government originally suggested the proposals would save motorists around £100 million per year, although responses in the public consultation asserted that the safety risk outweighed the potential saving. The MOT test is undertaken by 2.4 million cars for the first time each year, with faulty lights the most common cause of these cars failing according to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). 

Opinion: What's a fair price for the MOT test?

Roads Minister Jesse Norman said: “We have some of the safest roads in the world, and are always looking at ways of making them safer. 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.”

The Government says that, since 2006, the number of accidents involving a three- or four-year-old vehicle where a defect in the vehicle was a contributing factor has fallen from 155 to 57 in 2015, a drop of almost two thirds.

The DVSA is running a campaign to ensure more motorists carry out basic maintenance on their cars that contribute to around half of MOT faults, such as faulty lights, windscreen wipers, low oil levels and tyres with low tread.

Announcing the proposals early last year, transport minister Andrew Jones said: "We have some of the safest roads in the world and MOT tests play an important role in ensuring the standard of vehicles on our roads. New vehicles are much safer than they were 50 years ago and so it is only right we bring the MOT test up to date to help save motorists money where we can."

Switching to a four-year period before a first MOT would have brought England, Wales and Scotland in line with Northern Ireland, and other European countries including France, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Denmark and Norway.

Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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fellwalker 18 January 2018

Actually FAIL cars in the MOT

How come so many cars have obstructions in the windscreens, and fancy fonts or bad spacing on their number plates?  Because the MOT allows them to remove furry dice, sat navs (I saw one last week in the MIDDLE of the drivers sight line!), phones on brackets etc., and to swap the number plates for the day.  Or the tester just turns a blind eye.  They should be actually failed.

Until all drivers take responsibility, the ones who are careful have to be even more so.

oaffie 18 January 2018


There are some company cars out there that could quite conceivably cover 150,000 miles in the first three years.

There are some idiots on here suggesting that because the accident rate involving badly maintained cars is so low the first test should be at 4 years.  Well, perhaps they should consider that this rate is so low precisely because cars are tested at three years and annually thereafter.

Deputy 18 January 2018

MOT for Drivers

So 57 accidents on those vehicles had a vehicle fault CONTRIBUTION but not always the root cause. So that means the other 37,000 accidents were due to driver error yet we make no effort to retest drivers! It's a joke.