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MOT Exempt Cars

Introduced by the Ministry of Transport in 1960, the MOT is an annual test for cars and motorbikes over three years old. The test needs to be carried out every year by a certified tester within the motor trade, and includes checks on the brakes, tyres, steering, emissions as well as all lights and indicators.
mot test signBy ensuring that all vehicles are fit to be used, it keeps new and used car drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and other road users safe on the roads. If your car is old enough to need a test, driving without a valid MOT will invalidate your insurance policy.

Vehicles built before 1960 have always been exempt from the MOT, but in May 2018 the regulations were changed. Now, the exemption applies to vehicles over 40 years old. This is a rolling exemption, meaning that in 2019, cars built before 1979 will be exempt, while in 2020, cars that predate 1980 will no longer require an MOT.

This reassessment of what constitutes a classic vehicle is enough to make many of us start to feel old, but what’s the reasoning behind it?

The Department for Transport says that older cars are usually well looked after and maintained by their loving owners, keeping them in showroom condition. Additionally, classic vehicles may only be driven a few times a year, perhaps to a rally or show.

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It is also difficult to test some older cars, since they simply do not have the modern features that are tested under the standard MOT. Many cars from the 1960s and earlier for instance, were never fitted with seatbelts. The MOT, with its strict checklist, may not be an appropriate testing system for these vehicles.

While some welcome the new regulation, others are concerned that motorists will seize the opportunity to drive unsafe vehicles that wouldn’t pass a safety check. However, whether or not a car is exempt from the MOT, it is still an offence to drive a vehicle in what’s described as an unroadworthy condition, which should keep the streets safe from old bangers.

With exemption from road tax also applying to cars over 40 years old, does this make an older vehicle a bargain?

Not necessarily, as parts and maintenance on classic cars can be expensive. But if you’ve always wanted to own a classic, the new ruling could be the final excuse you’ve been looking for. Even though it’s no longer a legal requirement, it’s still a good idea to have your classic vehicle checked regularly by a professional, for your peace of mind and everyone’s safety.