MOT test announcement01 Feb 2012

Ministers promise to tackle failing garages

The RAC Foundation has welcomed news that the Government is not to reduce the frequency of MOT testing in light of the high number of defects being missed by garages.

According to official figures 27.7% of vehicles tested in 2010/11 had one or more defects that were missed or incorrectly assessed. Data from VOSA also reveals that one-in-eight cars (12.4%) had their roadworthiness wrongly assessed.

Responding to the news, Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“Drivers will be shocked at how many defects go undetected. Cars might be increasingly sophisticated but many of the MOT checks are basic, relating to things like lights, tyres and brakes. With many millions of MOTs being carried out each year people need to know they can trust their garages. We are pleased ministers have decided both to retain the current frequency of the tests and turn a spotlight on those garages not coming up to standard. Moves to help spot ‘clocked’ vehicles will also benefit motorists. Drivers are paying good money for MOTs and have a right to expect accuracy and value for money in return.”

In its announcement today, the Department for Transport said it had decided to:

  • Retain the existing rules on MOT test frequency since the evidence shows that vehicle defects are being missed and roadworthiness mis-assessed.
  • Shine a light on the performance of MOT testing stations by releasing hitherto unpublished VOSA survey data on whether the sector is complying with test standards. This is published today.
  • Work with motoring organisations to find out what problems motorists experience and enable them to share examples of good customer service – in particular to find ways to make it easier for customers to give feedback on their experiences of garages in a way that others can see – potentially in the manner of existing online hotel and restaurant review websites.
  • Encourage the take up of industry codes of practice – and expand them to include MOT testing – so that customers can find garages signed up to schemes delivering the highest standards and take action if they have not received the service they expect.
  • Help motorists to spot “clocked” second hand vehicles, by changing MOT certificates so that they carry the last three years’ mileage information as well as the mileage on the day of the test, and encourage car buyers to check full MOT histories using the online MOT database.
  • Arrange “mystery shopper” tests to help improve performance in addition to those already carried out by VOSA.

The DfT says drives spend £1.5 billion on MOT tests each year. According to Transport Statistics GB figures there were 28.2 million MOT tests in 2010/11 though in its announcement the DfT says there were 35 million carried out at 21,000 testing centres. There could be some confusion between tests and retests.



Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – [email protected] / 020 7747 3486 / 07711 776448