From May 2018, cars built before 1978 will not have to have an MOT
Jimi Beckwith
15 September 2017

The Department for Transport has announced that classic cars more than 40 years old will be exempt from MOT testing, with owners voluntarily electing for an MOT if they feel their car needs one. 

Currently, only cars from before 1960 are exempt, which represents 197,000 cars on UK roads. The new rules will exempt a further 293,000 cars from MOTs. 

The thinking behind the decision, according to the DfT, is that these cars are “usually maintained in good condition and used on few occasions”. The decision also eases concerns that garages may not be adequately testing cars over this age, as the modern MOT applies less to cars of this age. 

The new date would also bring the age of cars exempt from MOTs in line with the exemption of road tax. The Government dismissed concerns that these cars pose a greater risk of failure than modern ones; cars registered in the interim period between the old exemption and the upcoming exemption have a substantially lower rate of failure than the national average. 

“We consider the element of risk arising from taking vehicles over 40 years old out of the testing regime is small. The option for owners to submit their vehicles to a voluntary MOT test will remain and they will still, like all vehicle owners, need to ensure that they meet the legal requirement of keeping their vehicle in a roadworthy condition at all time.”

Of the 2217 respondents consulted for the proposal, more than half supported the suggested annual or biennial roadworthiness test for 40-year-old vehicles, checking the cars’ identity, brakes, steering, tyres and lights. The DfT has rejected this approach, saying: “Those owners who feel an annual check is needed will be able to submit their vehicles for a voluntary MOT.”

A stronger majority voted against exemption of vehicles aged 30 years or older from MOT tests; the DfT sided with the consultation on this proposal, citing accident data as well as the strong negative reaction from the public to this suggestion. 

Read more: 

What's a fair price for the MOT test?

Why the MOT test is still so important

Four-year MOT exemption proposed for new cars

Three quarters of drivers oppose first MOT delay

Department for Transport survives government restructure

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15 September 2017

My MK2 Escort 1600 wasn't that safe when new let alone 40 years on.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

15 September 2017

This is an absurd step backwards

15 September 2017
Totally agree with this, those cars are usually heavily checked and they do very little kms per year.
Enthusiasts can keep running their cars without the stupid new regulations.

15 September 2017

So I presume the DfT are cool about me skipping the next MOT. Yes...?

This is madness. It means someone can pump the perished tyres up on a barn find, register it, insure it, and take it for a blast up the motorway.


15 September 2017

Wonder what sort of press this decision will get when a TR7 ploughs into a bus queue because a brake line split

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

15 September 2017

Just when we've all got used to being able to look up the MoT history of a car online, the cars for which this is most useful won't need to be MoT'd anymore...


15 September 2017

So, the UK has approximately 37 million cars on its roads, of which around 1 million are estimated to be uninsured. I'm guessing that if a driver doesn't have insurance, then their car mostly likely won't have an MOT. I wonder how many owners of 40+ year old classics don't have insurance?

15 September 2017

How will car insurance companies react to this? Will they demand an MOT certificate?

15 September 2017

​ALL cars should have to pass an MOT for use on the road, end of and most classic car owners agree (according to classic car mags), the whole idea is totally ridiculous.

XXXX just went POP.

25 October 2017

 Please all be aware of the fact, before you condemn  the decision, that all Crown Transport, Police cars, Ambulances, Fire Engines, Post office vans,  are not MOT after three years, and some do more miles than the space shuttle!  But! They are well looked after?  Yes so is my 47 year old Triumph Vitesse, don't moan about something before you know the facts,

Honestwelsh Bridgend


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