Cars over 40 years old to be Exempt from Needing an MOT​

Announced last year by the Department for Transport, cars over 40 years old will be exempt from needing an MOT from 20th May 2018.  

Taking effect in this month, the new rule from the Department for Transport will mean that cars built before 1978 will no longer need to complete the yearly test of roadworthiness. Until now, only cars from before 1960 were exempt from needing an MOT – some 197,000 cars on UK roads – but the new rule sees a further 293,000 cars made exempt. The new rule also “harmonises the MoT exemption date with the date for Vehicle Excise Duty”.

Dismissing concerns that there would be road safety implications to this new law, the Department for Transport have noted that the decision was made on the rationale that cars of this age are usually well maintained and used on only a few occasions. Further combatting worries, the Government have said that cars built between 1960 and 1978 pose a significantly lower rate of failure than the national average.

During the consultation period last year, 56 per cent of the 2,000 people questioned about the new rules opposed the change; with many expressing worries that cars of this age should be subjected to more stringent roadworthiness tests rather than none at all. Defending the rules with the aforementioned argument that classic cars pose less risk than modern cars, the Department for Transport also noted that the new MOT is no longer relevant for cars manufactured before the new cut off year.

With this in mind, the onus will still be upon the owner of the vehicle to ensure that it is in roadworthy condition and they will be welcome to subject their vehicle for a ‘voluntary MOT’ should they wish to have their vehicle’s identity, brakes, steering, tyres and lights professionally inspected. In order to qualify under the new law, vehicles must also be certified to make sure that they have not been ‘substantially’ modified.

The new rules only concern themselves with lighter vehicles – cars and motorcycles – that are not used in a commercial capacity. Heavy goods vehicles and public service vehicles still fall under operator licensing regulations and will therefore still be required to pass roadworthiness testing.

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