First MOT test left unchanged at three years

Mechanic checking a car's tyres

The government has decided to leave the period before a car’s first MOT unchanged at three years.

Plans had been under discussion to extend this to four years, but the government received a high level of feedback opposing the change on safety grounds.

The decision was welcomed by RAC chief engineer David Bizley:

“We believe that the Government’s decision to stick with the first MOT being at three years is the right decision and one which will be welcomed by the majority of drivers and road safety campaigners.”

The argument put forward for extending the period to four years was that the three-year MOT requirement has been unchanged since 1967, since when cars have become much safer and more reliable. True enough. But the funny thing is that the most common causes of MOT failure are all low-tech basic items that haven’t changed much since 1967, and that are dangerous if ignored:

  • Lighting and signalling (18.9%) — often just a blown bulb
  • Suspension (13%)
  • Brakes (10%)
  • Tyres (7.7%) — usually with illegal wear or damage that makes them unsafe
  • Windscreen damage or other visibility restrictions (7.2%)
  • Source: RAC

Almost all of these problems can be recognised by drivers without needing any mechanical ability. And getting them fixed is often fairly quick and cheap.

Unfortunately, the evidence suggests that many drivers don’t fix these issues until they’re picked up at an MOT. And that is why we at believe that keeping the first MOT date unchanged at three years is the correct decision.

To help you make sure your car passes its MOT test first time round, check out our MOT First-Time Pass Guide. The checks listed in the guide are simple and shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. And many of the fixes are easy enough to yourself, too.

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