/ Motoring

MOTs every two years would be a safety disaster

Mechanic working on car

Latest attempts to revive a proposal to change the MOT rules to every two years might sound great in theory but how will it work in practise? Personally, I’m disappointed that the plan has reared its ugly head again.

The proposal would mean new cars won’t be tested until they are four years old, with subsequent tests every two years (instead of after three years, then once a year).

I’d hoped this proposal, resurrected by Transport Secretary Philip Hammond, had been buried forever.

In fact, I’m beginning to suspect this idea is simply re-launched every now and again when the powers that be want to distract us from something else they’re doing (though at the moment, I haven’t spotted what that might be).

MOTs are a must

Besides a small apparent financial saving for each motorist, I can’t see how the proposal will benefit anyone.

It’s certain to lead to a reduction in the safety of UK cars, many of which are only subjected to safety checks because the owner is legally required to get the MOT.

Changing the rules would mean that a safety fault could easily go undetected for twice as long before it is found. And the potential for an in-service failure must be higher too – which could be catastrophic for safety systems like the brakes, steering or tyres.

Reject this proposal

We know from Which? research that many owners neglect their cars as it is. Fewer than half those questioned in our last tyre survey knew the legal minimum tread depth, and more than a quarter relied on the garage checking tyre condition at the annual MOT and service to tell them when their tyres were illegal. And this doesn’t even consider other less visible parts of the car which might go unchecked.

So, here’s my call out to all responsible citizens… reject this proposal as an irresponsible and retrograde step and help keep all UK road-users safe.

Jorgensen says:
2 May 2011

I think the real issue is that MOTs need to be carried out by independent public service controlled test centres and not private garages. When the garage conducting the MOT can also benefit from carrying out consequential repairs, this inevitably creates a conflict of interest. Although I recognize that garages are able to manage this conflict professionally, then the conflict can only be removed entirely by separating the duty of test from those who benefit from carrying out the repairs.

RON says:
18 May 2011

Having traveled around the globe there are very few countries that hold such strict vehicle tests, the facts are that 99% of accidents are caused by unsafe drivers & not unsafe vehicles. Remember a bad worker blames his tools.
MOT`s do not prevent accidents in any way shape or form but just fill the pockets of criminals elements of society, its about time a Tory Goverment with ball`s stood up to the Motor Industries Dinosaurs & told them where to go……..
They get our support 100 & 10 %

Rubbish – MOTs prevent unsafe cars being on the road – providing you obey the law. If you don’t the cars can now be crushed.

18 May 2011

Any one who is stupied enough to belive they need an mot every year can still do so as there is no law to stop persons from having m.o.t. on a more frequent basis , anyway if there that insecure they should`nt be on the road in the first place.

Frankly anyone “stupied” enough to “belive” they need an MOT every year is not Stupid at all – So I believe. They are obeying the law.

A great many accidents are caused by people who are overconfident but incompetent. I meet them daily.

I totally agree that MOTs every two years is appropriate. In my copy of Which?, arriving today, the article on this states that the MOT fee is a ‘small price to pay’ for safer roads. But it’s not just the money, it’s the inconvenience of taking your car to the test centre, possibly having to go elsewhere by some other form of transport to be arranged, then getting back similarly to collect. This can be a real day’s hassle.

How many cars really fail the MOT because they’re dangerous? What makes cars dangerous is, for the most part, their incompetent drivers, not mechanical failure. A two-year check will tend to mean that there is work to be done, rather than a ‘wasted’ check giving to ‘OK’.

Eddie Reynolds says:
20 May 2011

Come on Marcus,
Inconvenience once a year? Is that the best excuse you have for postponing an MOT for an extra year? Oh the hardship!
Do you know how near your brake pad’s are to scoring the discs, do you know if your front wheel tracking is ok after that last clonk off the kerb, or possibly a leaky suspension strut.
Choose your MOT garage with care and be grateful that they may save your life someday.
I am NOT a mechanic, but I go to a reputable garage who give me a printout of my cars condition and they don’t exaggerate any problems. The MOT has removed thousands of rust heaps from our roads, so unless you are a qualified mechanic, do you know what you are talking about?

Totally and utterly agree Eddie.

I had suspension springs go on my car – It made no difference to the handling or driving (but I am a cautious driver) There was no change in suspension height. There was no way I would have known about it – because I do not lie on my stomach examining the suspension – ever. I had no idea they had broken.

The car failed the MOT – yet had passed the MOT test the year before in the same garage. The garage is an excellent one. It was clear from the condition of the springs they had been broken for some time.

The rust buckets were removed by the MOT – we don’t want them returning.

DA says:
20 May 2011

“The proposal would mean new cars won’t be tested until they are four years old, with subsequent tests every two years (instead of after three years, then once a year).”

In Northern Ireland (NI) the first MOT on a new car is not necessary until after 4 years then annual MOTs thereafter, so comparing accident information for cars between 3-4 years old between NI & Great Britain would show if delaying a car’s MOT by a further year means more accidents on the roads. Perhaps some organisation/department has already done this (could do this) & publish the findings to settle the first half of this proposal.

J.Garcia says:
1 June 2011

It is obvious that a car can develop a critical fault soon after its MOT, but this does not mean that MOTs are useless. However, the question is, what should be the time interval between tests. As the most likely cause of a critical fault developing must be related to its wear and tear, I propose that after a car is tested, the odometer’s reading is recorded and an MOT certificate is issued for the car to be re-tested after an appropiate number of miles have been travelled, say 12000. This would be the most accurate and fair testing system than the present one, which makes it compulsory for all cars to be tested at the same time interval regardless of, at times, great differences in their usage and therefore the likelyhood of a critical fault developing. My car was first registered when I purchased it on 13th May 2002 and today its odometer shows 11461 miles, which is an average of 1273 miles, and every year its is tested it passes with flying colous, as it is to be fully expected! I am retired, have no young school age children and therefore do not have the need to use my car very much at all, since most of the mileage is usually clocked while travelling to and from work, taking children to school and days out and young drivers always on the move, so there must be many, many thousands of people like me who do not need to use their car very much. It would also help cut down on much of the unnecessary driving that takes place, increasing pollution and clogging our roads.

I disagree – there is no way that your mileage can be monitored on present day cars – The MOT is registered and it is an offence to drive a vehicle without a current MOT so any passing Police car can monitor and stop you – hopefully crushing the car.for non compliance.

I rather like the proposal that every single car must be MOT’d and insured whether on the road or not unless it is declared as off the road – then far more uninsured non MOT’d cars owned by irresponsible drivers could be crushed and the roads made that much safer. I want the UK to have the safest roads in the word – because I drive on them.

I actually only drive around 1000 miles a year at the moment – and I still want cars tested every year.

John Northamton says:
1 June 2011

Ithink it imperative that we keep the annual MOT inspection. People will argue that they only drive their
cars a few miles a year, a lot of these cars belong to older drivers, who have older cars.
vehicles that are left standing for long undriven periods, can suffer from brake pipe and hand brake cable corrosion, along with steering parts also becoming corroded making these vehicles dangerous.
NO KEEP THE MOT SYSTEM AS IS. I would agree that we should have dedicated MOT centres.

Eddie Reynolds says:
1 June 2011

We have had every possible argument for and against and the way this debate is going, we will all have had at least another annual MOT if not two MOT’s before the debate ends.
Cars DO get failed every year, so how many would still be sailing along unsafe if it was extended to two year intervals. Even ONE unsafe car on the loose could kill and the purpose of the MOT is to eliminate dangerous vehicles, not just to hand out ‘Pass’ certificates to well maintained cars.
As for bleating that MOT test garages rip you off, don’t unscrupulous garages rip you off anyway, irrespective of the annual MOT.
I know of garages I would never use, thanks to listening to friends, so do some basic research and you will find a decent garage that you can trust. Just remember, an MOT could save your life

Well said Eddie – agree with you 100%!

Jim Grant says:
4 June 2011

I visited Western Australia recently (April 2011) and was suprised to discover there is no requirement for cars to have an MOT there. I wonder why and does this apply to the whole of Australia? There were a lot of old cars on the road which were likely to be defective and cause accidents. Maybe that is one reason why the cost of insuring a hire car is so high, in addition to kangaroos and off-road damage.

David M says:
10 June 2011

The overall failure rate in the MOT test is 35%. Even though that includes cars that fail on something trivial that is replaced by the garage (they have to fail the car, replace – say – a bulb, then pass it) it is still a frightening percentage and suggests that there are a lot of cars that, if left a further year, could become dangerous. Too many people ignore basic safety related servicing until forced to do something by the prospect of MOT failure.

I suspect that there are garages around that rip people off, but it’s probably not as widespread as people think. Garages are inspected and their MOT feedback needs to conform reasonably closely to established norms, so they won’t be failing more cars than they should – but I guess there are those who do more repairs than are needed. However, dishonesty in the motor trade is a separate issue and shouldn’t be a reason to reduce a necessary process that improves road safety for us all.

Louis Stevens says:
28 October 2011

I sugest that MOT tests should become like Services. Where you take you car for an MOT test when it has reached a setain amount of miles. That would mean some cars go in more than others, based on how many miles it has done since the last MOT. Just like services are done. Full or part service. Otherwise leaving it to go in every 2 years will cause more cars to become unsafe not checked enough.

graham andrews says:
7 November 2011

answer me this ..why are tax discs round???? why do we all have to cut the square paper off and throw it away???why arent they self adhesive??? why do we need them in this electronic age or doesnt swansea know what its doing???They have all theuk car reg./ police have anprc. why do we need a tax disc????
Far more important than mots. leave mot as it is at 1 year.

Graham, here are some suggested answers:

Tax discs are discs because it’s an easy shape for a suction holder to work. The perforations are part of the security anti-copy system. My new local parking scheme badge is square and self-adhesive – and it now works (they were a pain some years ago, with either residual glue or wouldn’t stick at all.)

Maybe the tax disc will change, annoying a lot of people who’s shelled out £5 or more on a superior holder, and meaning the scrapping of a good manufacturing system and at least tens of thousands spent on a replacement.

Not all officials yet have instant database access; until then, I want your legality displayed. This goes for insurance and MoT proof, too, as many countries have. Also there’s the problem of registration ‘cloning’, where people have an illegal number plate made with the registration of an identical car in another part of the country. The disc means that at least there’s a second line of recognition. Separate ‘chipping of cars is the way forward to combat this, but until then…

So, the government is to do a u-turn on this idea of requiring MOTs every two years. Good news? Which? Car’s Dave Evans thinks so: https://conversation.which.co.uk/transport-travel/government-uturn-mot-every-two-years/

manorb says:
3 February 2012

Time to introduce government test centres as they have in N.Ireland. No way to bribe or be ripped off by a local garage. All the latest electronic equipment gives a full and thorough test.

I strongly agree we should stick with annual MOTs.

There are far too many people who neglect their cars and don’t worry about car maintenance.

Two year intervals just means more dodgy cars on the road.

MOT Test says:
15 June 2012

Well its a very interesting and informatory discussion. Just wana add my point of view that government always take decision in good fate of the citizens. There are always statistics and research involve behind any decision. If our government is changing MOT rules, so being the part of civilized society, we must follow all the rules because it will definitely help us and overall the society.

mr c auty says:
11 January 2015

An Mot is useless once away from garage, it only signifies the cars condition at that moment in time, you could have any manner of faults within days or weeks to that car which would not be compliant with an Mot, you may for instance hit a pot hole which could cause steering probs or fault with lights or tyre probs, anything at all, in short you could take the same car back to same Mot station 1month later and it fails !!! so please explain what an Mot signifies other than fit for road at the time Mot was wrote out !

The MOT is not useless providing that you act sensibly and get your car checked if you do hit a pot hole or suspect you could have caused damage in any way. You should also check tyres, lights and other items weekly.

At least the MOT ensures that vehicles with faults are repaired and cannot continue to use the roads in an unsafe condition.