Plans to move the date of a car’s first MOT to after four years have been met with disagreement from owners, says the SMMT

A car’s first MOT after three years should not be pushed back to four years, according to SMMT  (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) research, with 76% of drivers wanting to keep MOTs at their current timeframe. 

The public’s trust in the MOT test procedure was affirmed by the polls which found 83% agreeing that the £45 test fee is worth their peace of mind, and three-quarters opposing the Government’s plan to move the test to four-year-old cars, rather than three. According to the polls, 68% agreed that having a car’s first MOT in its fourth year, rather than third, put road users at risk. In addition, 25.6% thought the proposed changes would not risk road users' safety.

The biggest majority was found in how little the public would trust a used car more than three years old without an MOT; 89% said they would be unlikely to buy one. The SMMT also revealed that 17% of all first MOTs on cars are failed; the cars do not meet minimum safety requirements. 

Read about the proposed diesel scrappage scheme here

It estimates that around half a million more cars which would otherwise be deemed unroadworthy would be on Britain’s roads, should the plan to postpone a car’s first MOT by 12 months be passed; and after a previous, similar proposition, the Department for Transport estimated that 71 more people would die as a result of these unroadworthy cars each year. 

The Government alleges that the MOT test could be safely moved to four years, due to advances in technology such as tyre pressure monitor systems and greater wet weather tyre performance. The SMMT responded, pointing out that these systems do not increase the longevity of parts subject to wear and tear.

The Government has previously considered postponing a car’s first MOT in 2008 and 2011, but both bids failed. Light failure and tyre baldness, as well as brake and suspension problems are cited as the most common causes of failure for cars’ first MOTs. 

Around £100 million a year would be saved by motorists across the country if the test was postponed by 12 months, but the risk isn’t worth it, says SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes: “The MOT is an essential check on the safety and roadworthiness of vehicles. Extending the first test for cars from three to four years is not what consumers or industry want, given the serious risk posed to road safety and vehicles’ environmental performance.”

“The latest vehicles are equipped with advanced safety systems but it is still critical that wear and tear items such as tyres and brakes are checked regularly and replaced. We urge the Government to scrap its plans to change a test system that has played a vital role in making the UK's roads among the safest in the world."

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21 April 2017
Surveys are all about how you ask a question, and how you interpret the results.
The actual survey result (down by one of those online polling thingys).

To what extent do you agree that the typical £45 cost of an MOT (according to the DfT) is worth the peace of mind that the car is safe, roadworthy and legal?

Strongly agree: 39.7%
Tend to agree: 43.6%
Tend to disagree: 10.6%
Strongly disagree: 3.8%
Don’t know: 2.3%

How often, if at all, do you or someone else responsible for your car personally check tyre condition and tread depth?

At least once a week: 11%
At least once a month: 27.7%
At least once every three months: 22.4%
At least once every six months: 14.9%
Once a year (not including the annual MOT): 11%
Less often than once a year: 3.3%
Never: 3.9%
Don’t know/ can’t recall: 5.7%

How likely, if at all, would you be to consider purchasing a car over three years old that did not have a valid MOT certificate at the time of purchase?

Very likely: 2.1%
Fairly likely: 4.7%
Not very likely: 19.3%
Not at all likely: 69.7%
Don’t know: 4.2%


21 April 2017
Comparatively few accidents are caused by mechanical issues, so I'd say that it is largely irrelevant whether the first MOT is carried out after three or four years. But if the aim is to reduce accidents, I'd say it is the drivers who need testing, not the cars. If drivers had better attitudes and were more conscientious, we'd have fewer cars running around with single headlights and brake lights, defective tyres and worn out wipers which, I would imagine, are the common failure items for three year old motors.

21 April 2017
cars can fail an mot even if only a year old due to windscreen wiper blades failing,light bulb failure,handbrake needs adjusting,tyre tread etc.Modern cars ARE FAR BETTER BUILT THAN THE RUBBISH RUST TUBS OF THE 70 AND 80 'S .If a car is maintained correxctly they should be fine i do not remember a friends car failing in the last twenty years for cars up to 14 yrs old even. Like property the three L's location ,location,location it is the three m's for cars yep maintenance.

21 April 2017
Is the SMMT shooting itself in the foot. If servicing is carried out properly on new cars, the cars should be effectively checked on an annual basis for at least 3 years, and be defect free during the warranty period. Is this an admission that motor dealers etc are not doing their job properly and the public does not trust them?

21 April 2017
Spanner wrote:

Is this an admission that motor dealers etc are not doing their job properly and the public does not trust them?

I was going to say that if it can be shown the car has been serviced every year then you could extend the MOT date until the point where rust etc is an issue. But Spanner is right; I've had main dealers showing how incompetent they are!

21 April 2017
This survey shows what lazy fkrs alot of people are. They are clearly using the MOT guy as their pair of eyes for looking underneath. Modern cars are far more mechanically​ robust than yesteryear. Track rod ends, exhaust mountings, seat belt systems and body structures just don't fail/wear/corrode like they used to.

21 April 2017
Cobnapint wrote:

This survey shows what lazy fkrs alot of people are. They are clearly using the MOT guy as their pair of eyes for looking underneath. Modern cars are far more mechanically​ robust than yesteryear. Track rod ends, exhaust mountings, seat belt systems and body structures just don't fail/wear/corrode like they used to.

too right Cobnapint. Spot on.


21 April 2017
what's actually needed is something to make people get their jobs list sorted out.

22 April 2017
No one has mentioned affordability,cost of serving,parts,along with everyday running costs,that and the economic problems just now must effect how Car owners look after there Cars,missing the odd service,using cheaper sub standard parts,buying part worn tyres are forced on some because of other life costs going up,maybe losing there Job and so on.Here is a question,with today's Cars being alledgedly more reliable,how many of us regularly lift the Bonnet to check the Oil,water etc?,reason?....because the Computer Brain that controls everything tells you when of if we need to do anything,so four years?,won't make any difference,what is needed is a BIG fine to make People check under the Bonnet more often!

Peter Cavellini.

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