Annual MOT could be scrapped to ease cost of living crisis

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Will the plan change when the MOT is due, save drivers money in times of the cost of living crisis and how might this affect road safety?

Vehicles may only need an MOT test every two years under rumored government plans.

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The idea reportedly came up at a cabinet meeting to discuss ways to deal with the growing cost-of-living crisis affecting families across the country.

TÜV is an annual requirement for all cars and vans between the ages of three and 40 years

For cars and smaller vans, this test costs £54.85 and if testers find any faults, classified as ‘serious’ or ‘dangerous’, the vehicle will be refused MOT. The owner must then have the problems fixed before they can use the vehicle on the road again.

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Under the rumored change, MOTs would be valid for 24 months instead of the current 12 months, which would reportedly save drivers money. However, industry observers have questioned how much the move would actually save drivers and raised fears about the safety implications of an MOT extension.

Would it save drivers money?

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The rumored change is being presented as a way to ease the financial pressure on drivers as the cost of living soars.

Switching to a two-year pattern would save drivers around £27 a year. as they only face the cost of £54.85 for the test every two years.

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However, observers have suggested that it could cost them more in the long run, as it could mean smaller problems aren’t caught as quickly and are more likely to develop into larger, more expensive problems.

Jack Cousens, the AA’s Head of Roads Policy, said: “While well intentioned, postponing the annual expense of a MOT to every two years could exacerbate the cost for drivers with higher repair bills.

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“Rather than fiddle around on the fringes, drivers would rather see gas station pricing transparency to reinvigorate forecourt competition, or expand park-and-ride schemes to allow drivers to avoid higher inner-city commuting costs.”

Is a two-year MOT dangerous?

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Auto pundits have been quick to question the safety implications of such a change, fearing that increasing the gap between MOT tests could result in more dangerous vehicles staying on the road longer.

The RAC said it could make roads less safe, while the head of the Independent Garage Association (IGA) called the idea “dangerous, undesirable and unreasonable”.

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In 2021, almost a third of cars and vans failed the TÜV on the first try. Figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency show that in the first presentation for a Class 4 MOT – covering cars and small vans – 29.5% failed. After remediation, this dropped to a final failure rate of 23.2%.

Of these, 8% – equivalent to 2,476,415 – failed due to at least one “dangerous” error.

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If the gap between tests is lengthened and drivers don’t take responsibility for maintaining their vehicles, more cars with potentially dangerous problems could keep running.

The RAC’s head of policy, Nicholas Lyes, said: “The purpose of an MOT is to ensure vehicles meet a basic level of safety for driving on our roads. A move from annually to every two years would result in a dramatic increase in the number of disabled vehicles and make our roads far less safe.”

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Stuart James, chief executive of the Independent Garage Association, told Car Dealer Magazine: “In times of economic hardship, drivers are known to limit the maintenance of their cars and it is the annual MOT that has kept road safety in the UK at a high level thanks to that has the vital security controls it implements.

“In our opinion, this whole plan is dangerous, undesirable and unreasonable.”

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Mr Cousens also warned that removing the annual MOT could put jobs in the workshop and car maintenance industries at risk.

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