MOT changes

To MOT or not to MOT, that is the question…

It’s coming to the time of year when my annual UK MOT will soon be due for renewal, but this year, things could be different, as the law is about to change. For many, getting the MOT sorted is an anxious time of year making sure the vehicle is all in good working order, and then keeping your fingers crossed that it gets through the test without anything major being found that will require fixing!

will the annual MOT be a thing of the past for classics cars in the UK?

Regular checking and testing to ensure a vehicle meets certain standards is a good thing. However, the various standards and tests have evolved to keep pace with technological and safety changes in automotive design. With classic or vintage cars, some of these tests are not relevant or appropriate to the age of the vehicle.

So it’s no real surprise that changes in the legislation were bound to happen. For some time now, older historic vehicles (built before 1 January 1978) benefitted from free road tax but after a lot of consultation Roadworthiness testing for vehicles of historical interest, the government is now planning to introduce MOT exemption as well. They decided that most vehicles over 40 years old (on a rolling basis) could now be made exempt from MOT testing from 20 May 2018.

all electrical contacts cleaned and tightened before refitting
all electrical contacts cleaned and tightened before refitting

Those that have been ‘substantially changed’ (a subject that often causes much contention in classic or custom car circles) in the context of old vehicles will still require yearly testing (see attached PDF vehicles-of-historical-interest-substantial-change-guidance for guidance).

The following is an excerpt from that…

How to declare a vehicle for the 40 year MOT exemption

Vehicle keepers are required to ensure that their vehicles are taxed when used on a public road. From 20 May 2018, at the point of taxing a vehicle, the vehicle keeper can declare their vehicle exempt from MOT if it was constructed more than 40 years ago.

When declaring an exemption, you will be required to confirm that it has not been substantially changed (as defined in this guidance). This process will be applied to pre-1960 registered vehicles, as well as newer vehicles in the historic vehicle tax class.

If the vehicle does not have an MOT and you wish to continue using it on the public roads, you will have either to undergo an MOT or, if you wish an exemption from the MOT, to declare that the vehicle is a Vehicles of Historical Interest (VHI).

If the vehicle has a current MOT certificate but you anticipate that on expiry of that certificate you will wish an exemption from future MOTs you will at the time of relicensing be required to declare that the vehicle is a VHI.

billet hub of the Fellows Speedshop wide 5 brake kit
billet hub of the Fellows Speedshop wide 5 brake kit

How to tax your vehicle in the historic vehicle tax class

Where vehicle keepers first apply for the historic vehicle tax class, it must be done at a Post Office. If you are declaring that your vehicle is exempt from MOT, you will need to complete a V112 declaration form, taking into consideration the substantially changed guidelines, (as defined above). Further re-licensing applications, including making subsequent declarations that the vehicle does not require an MOT, can be completed online.

Further advice on taxing in the historic vehicle tax class can be found via the following link: MOT Exemption for Historic vehicles

out and about at the Carr Taylor vineyard
out and about at the Carr Taylor vineyard

It will be great to save the time, cost and hassle of the annual MOT, but for safety’s sake, I’ll invest the money saved back with my local garage (Resto Classics) to give the bus a good service and a check over once a year just to make sure all is good with it!

So what do you think of the changes to the rules around MOT’s in the UK? Is it a good or bad thing? Will you still opt to get your vehicle MOT’d yearly regardless? Or do you just think its one less thing to worry about?

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2 thoughts on “MOT changes”

  1. I’ve got my VW 1972 Crossover Bay nearing completion of a total renovation from top to bottom/front to back. Thousands of £s have been spent in order to get it rock solid metalwork/panel wise and all other considerations re: fuel lines, brakes, electrics, etc have also been attended to. Yet, still I will get a yearly MOT done. The guy, Paul, who has undertaken the process is a vigilant and knowledgeable practitioner. Historical vehicles are his speciality. And VeeDubs his Number 1 passion. I’ve seen all the stages of rebuild. It is a really top result. I will maintain the bus with daily/weekly/monthly maintenance checks and tinkering with the ongoing considerations that my skills allow me to undertake. But yearly, it’ll go back to be seen by Paul and then on to get a MOT again. Basically, the hidden stuff (brake pipes/fuel pipes/what’s under the belly pans/electrics/movement at joints/safe steering/seat belts/fuel emissions, etc) need to be checked and confirmed as OK for peace of mind. You’re right concerning modern needs not being appropriate to older vehicles. But anyone can buy an old VeeDub rust bucket, tax it (yes it’s free but needs the process still) get insurance (wonder what their considerations will be to the non MOT status?) and stick it on the road. This is worrying.

    • Yeah, a lot is dependent on the owners attitude to the upkeep of their vehicle in regards to its on-going maintenance. For me, safety will always be a priority, so even small advisories I tend to get sorted so they don’t become bigger issues in the future.

      One interesting consequence of the changes could affect European travel. I have read reports that some countries in Europe may in the future, not allow non-MOT’d vehicles into their country? I assume as they would have no safety benchmark assigned to their road worthiness? I need to look into this further…


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