Government propose scrapping of annual MOT tests


The Motor Ombudsman

Automotive industry reaction to MOT testing announcement

Government proposals to lengthen MOT interval will result in one-in-10 vehicles on the road having dangerous defects

  • Two-year MOT intervals could see up to 2.57 million cars and vans on the road with dangerous defects
  • In 2020/21, of the 30.25 million Class 3 & 4 MOTs conducted in the UK, over 30% (around 10 million vehicles) failed the test first time
  • Two-year MOT intervals “akin to putting off visiting the doctor because just like with healthcare issues, things can get a lot worse if you delay”
  • Counterproductive measure won’t help with the cost of living crisis because missing an MOT or a service could cost owners much more in the long term
  • BookMyGarage.com research showed 27% of motorists fail to check the condition of their tyres and 58% don’t check to see if lights are working

Proposals to lengthen MOT intervals could hit motorists in the pocket and result in over 2.5 million* vehicles on the roads with dangerous defects, says BookMyGarage.com.

Last year, of the 30.25 million Class 3 & 4 MOTs conducted in the UK, nearly a third (30.23%) of vehicles – around 10 million – failed their MOT first time*.

“The counterproductive measure will see motorists paying more for their car maintenance and increase danger on the roads,” said Karen Rotberg, Co-founder of BookMyGarage.com.

While nearly a third of vehicles failed the MOT the first time, even more worryingly nearly one in 10 (8.49%) of vehicles failed the test on at least one dangerous item. By relaxing the MOT interval to every two years, up to 2.57 million cars and vans will be on the roads with dangerous defects.

It is not uncommon for vehicles to fail MOT tests on safety critical components. DVSA data** shows approximately 7% of vehicles fail on brake defects, a further 7% on tyre defects and 10% on suspension defects.

“This could be genuinely dangerous for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians and we would be seeing cars on the roads with serious defects. And when it comes to the cost of living, this proposal won’t help at all.

“Having your vehicle checked less regularly is akin to putting off visiting the doctor and just like with healthcare issues, things can get a lot worse if you delay. In the most part, shopping around means you won’t have to pay the full £54.85, the maximum a garage can charge for an MOT, and you could avoid a costly bill by nipping it in the bud early,” added Karen Rotberg.

Some of the more serious defects could be very expensive to repair, yet with early intervention, the extra expenditure could be avoided. For instance, if brake pads are allowed to wear down completely, the resulting metal-on-metal contact will damage the brake discs meaning these must be replaced as well (typically costing hundreds of pounds).

Many areas of a vehicle can suffer through neglect. As well as the brakes, worn suspension components can result in uneven tyre wear and lead to premature tyre replacement. While incorrectly inflated tyres will increase fuel consumption and tyre wear.

Research by BookMyGarage.com shows 67% of motorists book services at the same time as their MOT. This means there is a high chance of many vehicle services being missed out on too, which could also lead to increased costs to motorists due to accelerated engine wear and greater fuel consumption.

BookMyGarage.com survey of 2,000 motorists also showed 27% of motorists fail to check the condition of their tyres and 58% don’t check to see if lights are working.

Rotberg continued: “We are very much in favour of ideas which ease the cost of living, we understand there is genuine hardship at the moment. But headline grabbing proposals from the government mask the fact that motorists could end up paying even more than they need to. Shopping around for the best prices locally is genuinely the best way to save money. And in the long term, having an annual MOT is vital to the cost of motoring and safety.”.

Following on from the emerging news that the Government could potentially make the decision to extend the MOT Test once again, this time to a two-yearly process to help reduce the cost-of-living crisis, please see below a statement from the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation.

Mark Field, IAAF Chief Executive, said: “Each time the MOT test frequency has been called into question, it has been proven beyond doubt that extending the test frequency would actually mean an increase in repair costs for drivers, insurance premiums and harmful emissions, as well as reducing road safety as there will be an increase in defective vehicles on UK roads. It would also be a significant blow to thousands of independent garages and the entire automotive supply chain, who were able to remain open throughout the coronavirus pandemic, ensuring the safe and affordable mobility of essential workers and members of the public.”

Hayley Pells, Owner of Avia Autos and IAAF Garage Section head said: “It is surprising, given the decision to end the six-month extension during the pandemic prematurely (when it was actively demonstrated how important this cost-effective check is to road safety), that this VAT-free inspection is considered as poor value for money. In order to maintain the legal obligation of the motorist for road worthiness, the only option would be a VAT-applied solution. I question if this is of better value to the motorist and have concerns regarding the safety of more vulnerable road users. Approximately one in three presentations for MOT testing in class 4 fail, and out of those failures – around 30 percent fail on brakes.”

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