Two-year MOT could leave 2.5m dangerous cars on the road

Experts warn rumored changes will leave unsafe vehicles on the road longer as 1 in 10 retire due to dangerous faults

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is said to have proposed the change to ease the cost of living crisis.

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However, the idea saves drivers just £27 a year and has been widely condemned by car experts, who have warned it could have serious implications for road safety.

In the 2020/21 financial year, almost a third (30.23%) of the 30 million cars and vans presented to the TÜV failed the test right away.

A third of vehicles failed Class 3 and 4 MOTs in the past year, with 1 in 10 having a dangerous fault

Even more worrisome, one in 10 – 2.57m – failed due to at least one “dangerous” defect as defined in the MOT Tester’s Guide.

Karen Rotberg, co-founder of maintenance specialist Book My Garage, warned that removing the annual MOT would mean these vehicles could be left on the road for long periods with dangerous defects that go unfixed.

She said: “This could become really dangerous for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians and we would see cars with serious defects on the roads.”

While lighting failures are the most common cause of MOT failures, the second most common are safety-critical items such as brakes (7% of all failures), tire failures (7%) and suspension (10%).

Stuart James, executive director of the Independent Garage Association, called the plan “dangerous, undesirable and unreasonable”. He said: “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 the vital safety checks it has carried out.”

The RAC’s head of policy, Nicholas Lyes, echoed this view, saying: “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.”

Karen Rotberg also warned that the move would not save drivers money in the long term. She said: “Having your vehicle checked less regularly is like putting off seeing the doctor and, just like with health issues, things can get a lot worse if you delay. Some of the more serious defects could be very expensive to repair, but early intervention could avoid the extra cost.

“Our research shows that 67% of drivers book services at the same time as their MOT. This means there is a high probability that many vehicle services will also be missed, which could also result in increased costs for motorists due to accelerated engine wear and higher fuel consumption.”