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MOT Test to Remain At Three Years

Government backs down from decision to increase MOT tests from three years to four years for new vehicles.

The Department for Transport have announced, in a joint press release with the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency, that they will not be increasing the age that a car requires its first MOT Test to four years.

MOT Change Consultation

MOT Change Consultation

A year ago (22nd January 2017), the Government published a consultation on extending the MOT age requirement from three years to four years, and the results, which were released in April of last year, showed an overwhelming response against the proposal. Out of the 1,700 people that responded, including individuals, businesses, trade bodies, public bodies and other organisations, 1,251 said 'No', 444 said 'Yes' and five responded with 'No comment'.

The arguments from those that opposed the change were that while the majority of cars and vans pass their first MOT, there was still a concern about the cars that do not. Figures from 2016 revealed the MOT pass rate to be around 85%, with the 15% that did not pass commonly failing for lighting, tyre and braking faults. The Government claims that changing the test would result in motorists saving an estimated £100 million a year.

Comment from the Roads Minister

Roads Minister Jesse Norman said: “We have some of the safest roads in the world, and are always looking at ways of making them safer.

“Although modern cars are better built and safer than when the MOT test was last changed 50 years ago, there has been a clear public concern that any further changes don’t put people’s lives at risk. We are looking at further research to ensure the MOT test evolves with the demands of modern motoring.”

Motoring Industry MOT Test

Reaction from the Motoring Industry

RAC Chief Engineer, David Bizley said: “We believe that the Government’s decision to stick with the first MOT being at three years is the right decision and one which will be welcomed by the majority of drivers and road safety campaigners.

"Our RAC breakdown data suggests that for the majority of vehicles, it would have been reasonable to move the date of a first MOT test from three to four years. However, for high-mileage vehicles, four years was too long before the first MOT and therefore it made sense to 'keep it simple' and retain the current three year arrangement.”

SMMT Chief Executive, Mike Hawes said: "Modern cars are more reliable than ever but the MOT test is often the first opportunity to check wear and tear items such as tyres, brakes and suspension, and it plays a crucial role in keeping the UK’s roads among the safest in the world.”

History of the MOT Test

Introduced in 1960 by the Minister of Transport, Ernest Marples (now Lord Marples), the Ministry of Transport Test only required a car to be tested for the first time after 10 years, however a high failure rate resulted in the required testing age of a car reduced to seven years in 1961.  It was changed again to the current rate of three years in 1967.

Originally only three components of a vehicle were tested; the brakes, the lights and the steering. It remained that way until 1968 when a tyre check was introduced, and over the years further checks were added:


  • Windscreen wipers and washers
  • Direction indicators
  • Brake lights
  • Horns
  • Exhaust system
  • Condition of the body structure and chassis


  • Anti-lock braking
  • Emissions test for petrol engine vehicles
  • Rear wheel bearings and steering
  • Rear seat belts


  • Stricter tyre depth requirements introduced for most vehicles


  • Emissions test for diesel engine vehicles


  • Secondary restrain systems
  • ESC
  • Speedometers
  • Battery and wiring
  • Steering locks

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