MOT exemption for cars over 40 years old

The DFT (Department for Transport) have stated that classic cars that are older than 40 years will be exempt from MOT testing. Owners electing for an MOT only if they feel their car needs one with the exception of those that had been ‘substantially changed’ within the past thirty years.

From May 2018, in Great Britain these cars will be exempt from having an MOT test. This means around 1.5% of cars in Great Britain will not require an MOT certificate but will be road legal.

The DFT have defended the decision from suggestions it could be an unsafe move, by saying owners of older cars generally keep them in the excellent condition and don’t use them regularly enough for an MOT test to be required.

Vehicles built or registered over 40 years ago will, as of 20th May 2018, will be exempt from periodic testing unless they have been ‘substantially changed’.

The idea behind the decision, according to the DFT, is that these cars are usually maintained in excellent condition and used very rarely. The decision eases concern that garages may not be adequately testing cars over this age, as the modern MOT applies less to cars of this age.

Other changes include cars requiring to be put through more stringent emissions tests and faults rated in three defect categories – Minor, Major and Dangerous.

Vehicles within the Dangerous defects category will be subject to an automatic fail, however Minor defects will be allowed to pass, and the faults will be recorded.

Diesel cars will also face a tough test as any car that has been fitted with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) that give out “visible smoke of any colour” will get a Major fault and will fail the test.

Reversing lights will be checked and brake discs also inspected to see if they are “significantly or obviously worn”.

And any vehicle that has a DPF that looks as if it’s been tampered or removed with will not pass the test – unless it can be proved it has been done so for filter cleaning.

The Cars Steering will also be looked at. A steering box leaking oil would get a Minor fault but if the oil was dripping badly it would be pushed up to Major and fail.

Neil Barlow, service manager for MOTs at the DVSA, said: “The changes to the MOT will help ensure that we’ll all benefit from cleaner and safer vehicles on our roads.”

But the spokesman for the RAC Simon Williams said: “While on the surface this change, which is part of an EU Directive due to come into force in May, seems like a sensible move, we fear many motorists could end up being confused.

“Rather than MOT failures simply being black and white, the new system creates the potential for confusion as testers will have to make a judgement as to whether faults are ‘Dangerous’, ‘Major’ or ‘Minor’. “We understand the Government has little choice in the matter, but gut instinct says if the system isn’t broken, why mess with it?”

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