MoT frequency mooted to change… again

Posted on April 5th, 2017 by Rob Marshall


Once more, our esteemed leaders are looking to extend the first MoT Tests from three years to four, which is why I raise the issue within these blogs again.


What were the previous plans?

In 2011, it was being deliberated that the current system of 3-1-1 MoT testing, in which a passenger motorcar is MoT tested for the first time three years after its first registration and then every year thereafter, be changed to either:

a 4-1-1 system, or a 4-2-2, or a 4-2-1 schedule.

Most car industry professionals and safety bodies (including GEM) agreed that the current system works well and an MoT test due every other year would be detrimental to road safety.


What is the current proposal?

Despite this, at the end of January, a consultation document was published, which outlines three possibilities about what could happen in the future:

1. There be no change to the current 3-1-1 system.

2. Extend the age of new cars for their first MoT Test from three to four years but the car would need testing    annually afterwards, i.e. a 4-1-1 schedule.

3. As option 2 but excluding class 4 and 7 commercial vehicles, which are likely to cover higher mileages.


Can your views be heard?

Yes, you can fill-out this questionnaire, which closes at 11.45pm on April 16th.


What is GEM’s view?

Consider that, roughly, one-in-five three years-old cars and almost 50% of vans fail their first MoT Test. GEM is against both proposed changes to the current 3-1-1 system. While the DVSA has found that modern cars are more reliable and safer than before (although this is not qualified), we think that the government department should also consider:

1. While modern cars tend to better built than before, they are also bigger, heavier and faster than ever, meaning that the components (such as tyres, suspension and brakes) are subjected to greater forces.

2. Increasing levels of road wear (resulting in potholes), or calming techniques (such as speed humps), puts tyres and suspension items, in particular, under greater stress.

3. Motorists tend not to be as DIY-orientated as they were in previous decades, which will lead to mechanical issues arising that may not be attended to promptly.

4. Modern cars have far longer service intervals. Some cars in the 1970s, for example, had 3,000 miles/3 months service requirements. Now, they can be up to 20,000 miles or two years apart.

5. The greater complexity of modern cars means that the safety systems (such as Tyre Pressure Monitoring, Antilock brakes, Traction Control and semi-autonomous systems) need extra checks to ensure that they continue to work safely and properly.