Great news! I’ve just heard the government is to do a u-turn on its idea of requiring MOTs every two years. To me, yearly MOTS are an essential part of maintaining car safety – are you with me?
As I’ve previously opined here on Which? Conversation, I think yearly MOTs are more sensible and the two-yearly proposal would certainly have lead to a reduction in the safety of UK cars.
Many of you joined the debate to say you agreed with my scepticism for reducing the regularity of MOTs. Phil pointed out that a car can easily deteriorate from a pass to being dangerous in a year:
‘Extend the MOT to two years and the number of dangerous vehicles on the road is bound to increase. Currently the number of accidents caused by mechanical failure is small, which suggests the system is working, let’s leave it that way.’
Two-yearly MOTs – the argument for
Servicing cars less regularly is the current trend – and a welcome recognition that a) cars need less routine maintenance and b) modern synthetic engine oils can last a lot longer (typically 18,000 miles).
In itself this trend is no bad thing, and things like fixed-price servicing bundles also help make sure that basic routine maintenance will be carried out – the garage will usually remind you. Plus, lots of people – like commenter Chris – take personal responsibility for getting basic safety checks done:
‘The current annual MOT is simply a single snapshot of the road safety qualities of a vehicle. I’m a qualified engineer and every year I hate having a car I personally maintain “checked over” by someone simply following a generic check list and who is often not particularly able or qualified.’
But not everyone is this willing – or able – to keep their car properly maintained and without the annual MOT inspection, it could also mean faults would go undetected for twice as long before being found.
Servicing standards need to improve
Our undercover investigations have revealed poor practice across the sector, even from garages that are members of a code of practice. So beyond extending the codes, I would dearly like to see operators of any approved code of practice carrying out serious mystery shopping on its members, to sort out the rogue traders.
Poor industry standards are nothing new – again, this was a popular topic on our previous Conversation. But as Simon commented, ‘the argument that garages may charge for unnecessary work is not a valid reason for not testing the safety of a car’.
I’ve investigated the industry several times over the years and it has always been found wanting. In my view the introduction of properly policed enforceable standards, potentially offered by a good code of practice (but as yet not witnessed during our investigations) could turn the industry around.
I would really love to see improvements, but as things stand, our best recommendation is to check out our guide for finding a good garage, ask a friend or better still, look for the recommendations on Which? Local (if you’re a Which? member) where there are over 10,000 garages recommended by Which? members.
Do you agree with the plan to keep yearly MOTs?
Yes (69%, 248 Votes)
No (23%, 82 Votes)
Not sure (9%, 32 Votes)
Total Voters: 366