Could new MOT rules result in more accidents?

As you may know, there are some changes coming to the MOT test this year. These include new fault categories, new items to be tested, and stricter tests for diesel cars following the emissions scandal.

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One of the biggest changes is in the exemption for classic vehicles. Previously, only cars built prior to 1960 were exempt from the test, but now this has been brought into line with the rolling exemption from road tax, so cars will become exempt on their 40th birthday.

The 1970s are back

No need to dust off your flares and your kipper tie, but cars registered before May 1978 will no longer need an MOT under the new rules. This has led to some concerns even among the classic car community that it may allow unsafe cars on the road.

Although classic cars are generally cherished and looked after well, the new rules mean some notorious rust buckets like Morris Marinas, Chrysler Alpines and Ford Escorts will become exempt from needing an MOT. Sometimes owners may not understand the signs that a car has deteriorated to a dangerous extent, but the Department of Transport insists that the effect on road safety will be minor.

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If you have any doubt, you can always take your car to a Gloucester MOT tester like for reassurance that it’s roadworthy.


It’s important to note that not all 40-year-old cars will be exempt from the test. There are some caveats. If the vehicle has been “substantially changed” – such as having uprated suspension or steering – it will still need to be tested. This may actually bring into the test some pre-1960 vehicles that would have been exempt under the old rules. However, there are exceptions to the exceptions, such as when changes have been made because original parts are no longer available.

Some old vehicles won’t be exempt from the test at all. These include commercial vehicles with a maximum laden weight over 3.5 tonnes and buses. In addition, vehicles registered on an age-indeterminate Q plate will still need to be tested, which will include may kit cars.

The changes are complex and fears over safety have some justification. It’s important to take the time to understand if you car needs a test, but it’s also your responsibility to keep it safe.