Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 26th September 2017

It’s recently been announced that cars over 40 years old will be exempt from MOTs as of May 2018. This means that any car built before 1978 won’t need an annual test. The government said the exemption would be carried out on a rolling basis. There are roughly 197,000 vehicles on the road that don’t need to be MOTed. The change in law means another 293,000 vehicles won’t need an MOT.

Interestingly, a lot of classic car drivers are against the idea. Over 2000 people were surveyed in an official capacity and more than half said they were against the law change. 1130 opposed the exemption for vehicles over 40 years old. The main reason was due to safety concerns, as many people felt a yearly test helped determine which cars were road worthy. In comparison, 899 participants believed the proposals were a good idea.

The Department for Transport has defended the decision by saying most 40+ year cars are usually well maintained and only used occasionally. According to them, a modern MOT isn’t relevant for older cars.

Road minister Jesse Norman has said “we would like to thank all those who responded to the consultation for their valuable input, and have noted the views expressed. After considering the responses, we have decided to exempt most vehicles over 40 years from the requirement for annual roadworthiness testing. Vehicles that have been substantially changed, regardless of their age, will not be exempt from annual roadworthiness testing.”

Classic car owners that fall into the exemption will be able to submit their cars for a voluntary MOT, even though it’s not a legal requirement. The change would also bring the age of cars exempt from MOTs in line with the exemption of road tax.

The proposal also mentions cars that have been substantially changed “in the technical characteristics of their main components” won’t be exempt from an MOT. But what does substantial change mean? The proposal will certainly affect modified vehicles, but there hasn’t been anything specific announced yet.

The proposal raises a number of questions that will need to be addressed in the future. As some classic car drivers like to go on long journeys, some components will be worn down. Older cars are likely to be prone to corrosion, so regular vehicle checks are important. It’s possible that many classic car drivers will carry out the voluntary MOT check

What do you think of the MOT exemption? Do you agree with it?