Cars registered before 1978 to become MOT-exempt from May 2018

Cars registered before 1978 to become MOT-exempt from May 2018

CARS that have been registered for more than 40 years will no longer require an MOT from next year.

Draft guidance has been issued, following a wider, extensive consultation last year about exempting vehicles from roadworthiness testing, and is set to come into force on May 20, 2018 – despite more of the consultation respondents being against the proposal.

A few criteria must still be met, though. For example, the vehicle can’t be a kit car or conversion, be drastically modified, be on a ‘Q’ registration plate, or weigh 15 per cent more or less than its original design.

The Department for Transport began the consultation for making cars more than 40 MOT-exempt last September. The government said it considered that cars of that age were usually well maintained, used less frequently on generally shorter trips and that the modern MOT was no longer relevant.

The consultation reads: ‘From 20 May 2018 most of these vehicles will not need a valid MOT certificate to be used on public roads. You still need to keep the vehicle in a roadworthy condition and can voluntarily have a test. We recommend continued regular maintenance and checks of the vehicle.

‘You need to check whether the vehicle has been substantially altered since 1988, checking against the criteria. If it has been altered substantially a valid MOT certificate will continue to be required. If you are unsure check, for example from a qualified mechanic or expert on historic vehicles. If you buy a vehicle, we also recommend checking with the previous owner if you can.’

The overall consultation, which ran until November, received 2,217 responses from owners, car clubs, businesses, plus trade and business bodies, among others. A total of 899 respondents were in favour of the exemption for vehicles older than 40 years, while 1,130 opposed it, with the chief argument against the exemption being ‘that all vehicles travelling on the highway should have an annual test for safety reasons’.

In the government’s response to the consultation Jesse Norman, minister for roads, local transport and devolution, said: ‘We will bring forward amending legislation to put the decisions set out in this document into effect.’

Some 197,000 vehicles are currently exempt from MOT testing, according to the Department for Transport, which said that by implementing the new measure around 293,000 more vehicles would not have to undergo an annual MOT test.

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