MOT tests could be reduced in frequency18 Jan 2023

Government launches consultation

The point at which a car undergoes its first MOT could be pushed back from three years to four years under proposals included in a government consultation.

In 2021, some 30 million MOTs were undertaken in Britain, 2.6 million of which were first tests on three year old cars.

Ministers say that since the MOT was introduced back in 1960 (when the initial MOT only took place after ten years, falling to three years in 1967) vehicles have become “better built, making them more resilient to wear and tear.”

They highlight evidence which shows that “fewer vehicles are failing MOT tests, there have been general reductions in the number of casualties in collisions involving cars and minor decreases in the proportion of collisions where vehicle defects are a factor.”

However, they admit more data is needed “to try and understand whether those that combine MOT and service may neglect servicing if there is not a 3 year MOT requirement.”

The proposed changes would apply not just to cars but other vehicles including vans and motorcycles.

One negative impact could be an increase in collisions where vehicle defects is a cause. According to the consultation, in 2019, “there were some 1,455 casualties in collisions where a vehicle defect contributory factor was listed for the vehicles identified in scope of this proposal, 20 of which were fatal and 333 and 1,102 were either serious or slight respectively.”

The consultation also acknowledges that there could be a loss of revenue to the  23,400 garages that are registered as MOT test stations amounting to £56.3 million-123.6 million (once DVSA’s slot revenue is deducted) per annum.

The government is also considering whether the frequency of testing should be changed from annually to two-yearly.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“Ministers should think long and hard before they make changes to this tried and tested system. Whilst reducing the test burden on drivers might, on the face of it, cut their costs in the form of lower fees, the annual date in the diary for an MOT for older cars focuses people’s minds on the roadworthiness of their vehicles.

“Often an MOT is accompanied by a service which might not otherwise happen. Also, an MOT will bring to light not just immediate problems which lead to a failed test but those which are emerging and which, if not spotted early could grow into serious safety risks and big repair bills.”



Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation

[email protected] | 07711 776448

Notes to editors:

The RAC Foundation is a transport policy and research organisation that explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users.

The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist. All the Foundation’s work is available at:

The Foundation is a registered charity.