First MOT For New Vehicles Could Be Delayed From 3 To 4 Years

Government says safer, better built, cars enables it to ease the financial burden on drivers by postponing first MOT.

MOT deferral could save £100 million per-year

The Government has proposed postponing the age cars, vans, and motorcycles require an MOT from three to four years to save motorists £100 million per-annum. This change – that could come into force in 2018 - would bring England, Scotland and Wales in line with Northern Ireland and countries such as France and Norway.

The proposal relates to new, currently unregistered, vehicles rather than any already on the road. It also excludes those that have to be tested after one year. Taxis and ambulances which have up to eight passenger seats, for example. The Government now plans to choose how to proceed from a range of options. These are:

  • maintain the status quo;
  • for all vehicles that currently require an MOT from three years, postpone the requirement to four years;
  • for cars and motorcycles that currently require an MOT from three years, postpone the requirement to four years - but continue to test smaller vans (not exceeding 3,000KG) and larger vans (between 3,000KG and 3,500KG) from three years. 

Option two could cut the number of tests taken by 8.3%, it is estimated. Option three, in contrast, could reduce numbers by 7.5%.

New technology makes three year MOT redundant

The Government argued that “safer technology and improved manufacturing means new vehicles stay roadworthy longer”. It added that in the last ten years the number of three and four year old cars involved in a crash - where a defect proved to be a contributing factor - fell from 155 throughout 2006, to 57 in 2015.

In 1967, the MOT free period was reduced from ten to three years. 2.2 million cars per-annum now require a first test at a maximum cost of £54.85. About half the faults that cause failure could be avoided via maintenance tasks such as replacing bulbs, replacing windscreen wiper blades and replacing tyres, the Government argued. 

Transport Minister Andrew Jones explained: ”We have some of the safest roads in the world and tests play an important role in ensuring the standard of vehicles. New vehicles are much safer than they were 50 years ago - and so it is only right we bring the test up to date to help save motorists money where we can”, he concluded.

No change to MOT test procedure

The Government confirmed that there is no plan to change the requirements of the test itself. Further, if its proposals come to fruition motorists continue to have legal responsibility to ensure vehicles are roadworthy irrespective of whether they require a MOT. 

The Government is now consulting on its proposals and interested parties have to April 16th 2017 to respond by post, e-mail or survey.

Far more sensible than having a 4-year start to the MOT process would be for this to be based upon mileage. Say, the vehilce's first MOT becoming due at 50,000 miles and then at 12,000 mile intervals thereafter. Business users can easily clock up 30,000+ miles anually, whilst the private motorist may only cover 10,000 miles at most every year. The yearly MPT check seems to be almost arbitrary to me.

Could not agree more. My car is coming up to 4 years old, and is just about to pass the 20,000 mile mark, whereas my father drives more than that per year as part of his work, yet both are subject to the same 12 month annual check up. How can that be right? A mileage based MOT interval would surely be safer? I know more difficult to police with no fixed period, but I'm sure someone could think of a workable solution.

This idea has been addressed before, in my experience as a garage/MOT testing station owner of 22 years, there are very few vehicles that pass their first MOT after 3 years. The most common failures are lighting, suspension & tyres. It is not uncommon these days for a vehicle to have covered more than 100,000 miles in the first 3 years, service intervals are far greater (2 years, 24,000 miles on some vehicles), in my mind there is an awful lot than can & does go wrong in this period. I know you may be thinking as a garage owner I am more concerned about the commercial loss to my business, I am not! As an enthusiastic motorist it fills me with horror that the car coming towards me may well have several dangerous faults & it may not be old enough to have had to undergo an MOT test. I am convinced that if this idea is passed it will result in more accidents & casualties, in an ideal world everyone would have their vehicles serviced annually or at 12,000 miles, that just does not happen. A compulsory government standard test (MOT) is the only was to ensure our roads are kept safe from dangerous vehicles. Nigel Tye, Tyetune Auto Services, test station number 0484BC.

Do we not think that the low mileage vehicles that spend more time parked up will not suffer more with seized brakes, corrosion etc!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I believe that a vehicle should require testing based on both age and mileage. First test after 3 years/50K miles (80K km), and thereafter every year or 15K miles (25K km). The test centre or dealer should put a sticker in the windscreen that shows when the next test is due.

But your fathers car will have been to the garage several times for servicing or been serviced by someone where as your car will probabley have only been to the garage once in that time period. I would argue your fathers car is safer due to it being serviced more regularly than your car which either does lots of short journeys or spends a lot of time sat at home not going anywhere.

love pjl20's idea my 3yr old is 8000miles.... if pjl20's idea is upheld I would probably NEVER need an mot.... but I suspect after 10yrs or so it would be past its prime if not past 50k miles a bit different to the 80k a year I used to do (retired now)

While I broadly agree with the points you make, as a fanatical car enthusiast my car is meticulously maintained. For those for whom a car is merely convenient transport, which is a large number of people, surely trying to ensure safety is the best course, and putting ideas forward like we are here is helping to achieve that aim.


An MOT is absolutely worthless, as you can go from one garage to another and have different faults found. The roadworthiness of the vehicle should always be the responsibility of the driver.

I agree it's arbitrary. A change would be indicated if evidence shows that there is a relationship between business-type use and defect-related accidents. The superficial information available to me suggests that this is actually unlikely while the car is still in business use. If we can assume that most business mileage is in cars that are four years old or less, the low defect-related accident rate on cars up to four years old would seem to indicate that ongoing mileage is not a huge factor. It is possible that the combination of age and high accumulated mileage is likely to be a factor in rate of appearance of defects, but this would not really be addressed by making MOT-frequency dependent on ongoing mileage. Note that even older business-use cars are mostly garage serviced, and safety-checks are effectively mandatory before cars are released to the customer. The MOT repeats these, but also backs up the things that are not routinely checked, which are mostly age-related (as opposed to ongoing wear).

With nearly all new cars now recording their mileage electronically a mileage based system would be wide open to abuse with lots of devices now available to access the cars computer and change the recorded mileage.

I still feel that three years is a sensible time scale, for a cars first MOT. In the past few months, ive regularly seen, fairly new vehicles with defective headlights, and this is not a localised problem. On a recent trip to Scotland, i lost count of how many fairly new vehicles with defective headlights were on the road. Regular car maintenance is essential, but many drivers neglect their cars. I still think three years from a cars first registration is sensible.

If it's not broken don't fix it. Just leave it as it is stop

I totally agree with what Stephen Turvil Wrote and yes to me in my opinion I agree that the MOT would be better off shifted from 3 Years to 4 Years as cars are safer than they have ever been before and this thing that the first MOT should be based on the mileage what the car has done is totally stupid because mileage has nothing to do with the MOT anyway now a days people generally do look after the cars more as its there pride and joy so Yes I back the Government in this change and lets hope they bring the change of the First MOT from 3 Years to 4 Years. I am a strong believer in trying to save money for all Motorist as Motorists already have to fork out enough anyway especially with Petrol or Diesel and us Motorists need a Break. Done by Roger Hawkins.

As Stated the French MOT is every 2 years and your vehicle is at the test station for the day BUT the cost is less than the British test which is for 1 year

Mates, you are not right. The mileage not really reflect condition of the vehicle. Absolutely not. This is depend on number of factors, where major contributors are: type of the road driving mainly (city or motorways), quality of the manufacturing, driving manners and others. I running company and see, how this really reflect (all those factors) on my vans. Some of my Lutons ar running about 200k miles a year (Yes - about 3-4k miles weekly - they do nationwide deliveries weekly from South Coast to Scotland). Usually there is no major problems with them - just passing MOT's like a Swiss watches! ALL vans, running within London area, passing ages less mileage - about 40k a year. All the troubles they are collecting and usually require costly repairs all the time. Different drivers also contributing in quicker tear and wear. So it is not really depend on mileage.

I only do about 4-5000 miles pa in each car. Most of the wear and tear items fail after high mileages. I'd be happy for these cars to be tested every couple of years, but not if my mileage was that which I used to do before I retired (20000+ pa)

Shame I won't benefit from this new policy. I always buy used cars around 4 years old anyway

Thoroughly agree with this. i see so many cars with faulty headlights and taillights and feel that the human factor is the issue, here, through poor maintenance rather than the manufacturers. I cover 8k per annum over 2 cars, but would still happily mot them both as the system currently lays out.

Vehicles that are serviced according to the manufacturers schedule, which should include safety checks, and are carried out by approved establishments, should be exempt from MOT. Most service schedules are based on a combination of time and mileage. Random faults like lights failing should be down to the driver. Obviously, vehicles which are self serviced or serviced by people who are not approved would still have to have an MOT.

If the car coming towards you is under 3 yrs old it will benefit from the free service and check any reasonable GARAGE gives,and if a car still under warranty comes in for its service it would be a right idiot of a mechanic who did not point out faulty tyres suspension or lights,but i may be giving garages to much of a compliment

Sorry, obviously MOT testing in the region of a 1000 cars a year, what would I know about it?

totally agree with this. Make cars exempt from MOT if they go for a service once a year at a registered garage. I get sick of telling my BMW main dealer that I have just had an MOT, but they then go and do the same checks anyway, because they have to tick all the boxes. I end up paying for the same checks twice.