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

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


Read our review

Car review

The T-Roc has been with us since 2017 - can it still turn heads in a congested segment?

Join the debate

Add a comment…
duratec v6 2 September 2018


So the classic cars exempt from road tax and mot have not got a computerised ignition system which can make all the relevant adjustments to the fuel and air mixture depending on the engine revs and load, wouldn't be very harmful and inneficient? Its emissions will be through the roof but nah it, dont need tax or mot ontop of that it my have heavy structural corrosion effecting its chassis rigidity underneath.

KB Glide 4 May 2018


i have never read so many dumbass go off to scrap yard and put a wreck on the road...really ! This rule already applies to older than 1960 and how many of those do you see ‘racing’ up the motorway ! People making these what can only be described politely as ‘uneducated’ comments clearly do not have a classic vehicle. It’s going to effect 200.000 vehicles only ! 

How many 40 plus year old cars do you actually see in a scrap yard these days ! Exactly none I would say. These classic cars sell for more than most modern cars, their owners spend thousands on them and they do maybe a thousand miles a year. I would say they are better looked after and maintained than most 10 year old plus everyday smokers out there !

typical inane knee jerk not thought through commentary reactions

Bazzer 27 April 2018


Insane.  Akin to smart motorways.  This country makes me laught.  You can't use a step ladder at work on your own, but you can drive a 40 year old car down the hard shoulder of a motorway.  This country is going backwards in so many ways.  The ruling today that Jews and Muslim's burials take precedence over others just confirms it.

MinusG40 27 April 2018

I amaze by the number of

I amaze by the number of comments again this to be honest there a few things to consider:

- Not a lot of car are left after 40 year (look at the golf mk1 gti which was mass produced)
- The owner of that car have several so they have no problem spending money on their car

So i m sorry but it make sense to me that people with classic car are exempt are the rules are really difficult.

For your info in France after 30 year it os a 5 year mot and for czr before 1960 no more mot

Gargae Man 29 April 2018


Totally agree.People who have restored or maintained a classic car,such as 40 year old Cortina's etc,are more likely to cherish the vehicle and fully  maintain it to enjoy the uncomplicated driving experience these vehicle's can provide.How stupid that the new regime of testers would be saying,well my list of requirements means all cars have to have autonomous braking or reversing light,so therefore your car fails because it's not fitted.What should happen is the car,if tested, must conform to the year of manufacturing regulations.Then if someone has added a modern day option,this alone must work and away you go with the MOT.

duratec v6 2 September 2018


So a 20 year old car wich has air bags, abs, traction control and crash absorbtion, where as a 40 a year old car has none of that safety equipment, it could easily kill a padestrian at 25 miles an hour? Some old guy who possibly brought this retarded nonsense system into play probably has a 40 year car which he wants to keep on the roas, wheres the justification in that??