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MoT test review must answer key consumer and road safety questions, says IAM

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, has called for an investigation into the 21% MoT failure rate on three year old cars before any changes are made to test scheduling.

In the UK, vehicles must have their first test within three years of registration, and annual tests thereafter. As a minimum, EU law requires vehicles to have their first test when they are four years old and subsequent tests every two years.

Greig said: “With MoT failure rates of around 21% for three year old cars it is essential that the underlying reasons for so many relatively new cars failing are investigated before any changes are made to MoT test frequency.”


 The key questions the IAM want to see answered by the review are:

  • Why are first-test pass rates in some European countries better at four years than UK pass rates after three years?
  • Does the three-year UK MoT test unnecessarily "gold plate" the European minimum requirement for roadworthiness – at a cost to UK motorists of £465 million a year?
  • Would the application of European minimum standards be enough to guarantee roadworthiness of UK cars?
  • Is there any evidence that accidents due to vehicle failure are greater in countries that wait four years for a first compulsory roadworthiness test?
  • In the UK, only garages carry out tests and supply the parts and labour needed to rectify faults.
  • In some European countries, testing and rectifying procedures are separated - should we consider the introduction of independent testing centres?

Greig continued: “When three-year warranties and service agreements are common, a high rate of MoT failure does beg all these questions and more: ‘Is it because garages do the MoT test before the three-year warranty service instead of after it, which fuels motorists’ suspicion that the MoT is being used to show that the service has been done properly?’, ‘manufacturers’ service schedules do not cover all the points needed to pass a MoT test – why not?’ and finally ‘Are high failure rates down to motorists failing to maintain their cars properly?’”

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