Currently reading: MOT exemption for cars over 40 years old starts on 20 May
Cars built before 1978 will not have to have an MOT test from next month
Jimi Beckwith
2 mins read
27 April 2018

The Department for Transport will make cars that were built more than 40 years ago exempt from MOT testing next month, with owners voluntarily electing to have their car checked if they feel it needs one. 

Currently, only cars built before 1960 are exempt, representing 197,000 cars on UK roads. The new rules, which come into force on 20 May, 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 might not be adequately testing cars over this age, because 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 from 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 times.”

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.

28 April 2018
xxxx wrote:

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



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.


27 April 2018

...take it up the hard shoulder of a smart 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

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?


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