The MOT test is designed to ensure cars on the road are safe and up to scratch. But two significant changes to the MOT test have me concerned, to the point where I feel its credibility is at risk.
It was announced this week that classic and historic cars, manufactured before 1960, will no longer have to pass an MOT test from 18 November 2012.
It’s all designed to save motorists money, according to the government.
When announcing the change, Roads Minister Mike Penning said:
‘Owners of classic cars and motorbikes tend to be enthusiasts who maintain their vehicles well – they don’t need to be told to look after them, they’re out there in all weathers checking the condition of the engine, tyres and bodywork.
‘Owners of classic vehicles will still be legally required to ensure that they are safe and in a proper condition to be on the road, but scrapping the MOT test for these vehicles will save motorists money.’
Can owners replicate MOT checks?
And while I agree that these vehicles do only make up a very small number of all licensed vehicles in Britain – 0.6% according to reports – I am still cautious about the lengths owners can realistically go to in an attempt to replicate the checks conducted in the MOT test.
For instance, how many classic car owners have access to garage-style ramps to allow for a proper inspection of the underside of the car? Not all of them, for sure.
And with MOTs costing £55 a go, is there really a huge financial benefit for the minority who own these cars?
Warning lights check delayed
And this isn’t the only enforced change to MOT rules for 2012, as we already debated back in January. The Malfunction Indication Lamp check (or MIL check), is a visual examination of whether your car dashboard’s warning lights are illuminated.
The check is conducted to see if the warning lights for electronic stability control, anti-lock braking systems, tyre pressure monitoring systems, brake fluid, electronic power steering, electronic steering lock and electronic power brake are permanently illuminated.
Initially introduced in January, for the first three months of 2012 any of these illuminated warning lights would have resulted in an advisory, and from 1 April an outright fail.
However, this deadline was not met, and if any of these warning lights are illuminated in your car, it will continue to pass as advisories.
When questioned why, VOSA (the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency that oversees the MOT test and regulations) told us it was because the legislation to introduce the new item was not yet in place. VOSA also said an exact date for when this will happen has not been confirmed, but it is expected to be by the end of June.
These changes, and the failure to implement the latter to schedule, have left me a little worried. I’d rather MOT changes were made to maintain the highest level of car and road safety, rather than to save (a minority) of drivers money. Let alone the fact that the new warning lights check could prove expensive to investigate problems that might not even exist…
Should pre-1960 cars be exempt from the MOT test?
No (71%, 402 Votes)
Yes (29%, 167 Votes)
Total Voters: 571