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.”