The MOT was introduced in 1960 and is a compulsory annual test of vehicle safety, road-worthiness, and exhaust emissions. There are a few exceptions when it comes to the MOT. Vehicles registered more than 40 years ago are one of those exceptions. If you own a vehicle that is over 40 years old and has not been significantly modified in the last 30 years, then it will likely be exempt from MOT and vehicle excise duty (road tax).
This is great news if you are the owner of a classic car. However, many people have questioned whether making older cars MOT exempt is a clever idea. This is because they could still pose a risk to other road users and pedestrians. They could potentially be driving around in an unsafe condition.
The Department for Transport argue against this. They say that cars that are more than 40 years old are generally kept in good condition by their owners. As a result they are often not used regularly enough throughout the year to warrant an MOT. On top of this, they added that the MOT is simply not relevant to many of these older cars.
If you own a car that is exempt from the MOT because it is over 40 years old, then you can still submit it for a voluntary MOT. This is a sensible thing to do if you feel that a check is needed on your vehicle. It is therefore recommended that you submit your car for an MOT every other year, although this is not compulsory.
One thing worth noting is that regardless of the law about the MOT, all insurance policies require that the car is in roadworthy condition as part of the policy terms. Therefore, all cars regardless of their ages should be kept in a good state of repair.
You can still also be convicted of driving a car with excessively worn tyres, defective brakes and lights whether or not an MOT is required. Therefore, if you opt not to MOT your classic car, these are things that you should keep a close eye on.
Important Checks for Vehicles that are Exempt from MOT
Even if your vehicle is over 40 years old and falls under the MOT exemption rules, it is recommended that you carry out regular checks to ensure that it remains roadworthy. Some basic checks to complete are:
- Brake performance
- Engine oil and brake fluid levels
- Tyre and tyre treads
- Lights and bulbs
- Windscreens and wipers
Regardless of whether your car is exempt from the MOT and road tax, you will need insurance on your car in order to legally drive on the UK roads.