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Should the first MOT check requirement be extended to four years?

by Hugh Wilson | 11 Sep 2016

A Government consultation on extending the time before new cars need a first MOT check from three to four years may happen this summer, industry sources have learnt.

The proposal was first announced in Chancellor George Osborne’s summer budget in July 2015, but with little having been heard of the controversial scheme since then some believed it had been quietly scrapped.

Instead it appears that a consultation on the plan may happen after the European referendum at the end of June and before MPs break for the summer. That leaves July as the most likely time.

“Very much alive”

Independent Automotive Aftermarket Association (IAAF) chief executive Wendy Williamson told Approved Garages:

“We now expect the consolation to appear in July - nothing can happen before 23 June so we expect it to come out after that and before Parliament goes into recess for the summer.”

The measure, designed as a money saving sweetener for motorists, has been roundly condemned by experts and trade bodies as potentially dangerous.


The IAAF believes the so-called 4-1-1 system – extending the time of first MOT to four years - would severely jeopardise road safety in the UK.

“To ensure as safe and cost effective motoring as possible, motorists must have their vehicle inspected and serviced regularly,” said Wendy Williamson.

“Given that figures suggest one in five vehicles fail their MOT in the first three years and with new car sales at record highs, moving to an extended testing period is potentially very dangerous to road safety and costly to the motorist.”

In fact, the IAAF favours a 2-1-1 system, with new cars tested within the first two years of registration.

One in five fail

Trusted national networks Approved Garages and AutoCare are also against the scheme. With surveys showing that many cars already fail their first MOT at three years, the potential extension could lead to thousands more dangerous vehicles on the nation’s roads, the networks believe.

“One analysis has shown that 353,000 vehicles failed their first MOT after three years,” said Approved Garages and AutoCare network manager Maria McCullough.

“If you extend the time before first MOT for new cars by another year that is bound to lead to an increase in un-roadworthy cars.

“The proposal also comes at a time when fewer motorists than ever carry out regular DIY checks. If you take those elements together we think this is an irresponsible proposal that should be rejected.”

Maria points out that motorists worried about whether their car is roadworthy – whether new or not – should book it in with their local Approved Garages’ or AutoCare member for a basic safety check. This is particularly important before long holiday drives.

What do you think? Should the time of first MOT be extended from three years to four? Whether you’re a garage, a mechanic or a motorist, let us know on Twitter (@approvedgarages) and Facebook.

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