Over 40s no longer to get a roadworthy health check.

Not only is my old VW camper van tax exempt but from April 2018 I won’t even have to have him MOT’d. This is great news, right? Wrong. And I’ll explain why with the hidden twist at the end.

The Department of Transport has decided that cars over 40 years of age will no longer require a statutory MOT certificate. This is what every car onwards of 3 years old (at present) requires to prove it is road worthy. Without a MOT certificate, your motor insurance is invalidated meaning you are not covered in the event of an accident.

Cars made before 1960 are exempt. This represents almost 200,000 cars on UK roads. The new changes will add over 290,000 MOT exemptions from having to have MOTs. The DfT has said that older cars are “usually maintained in good order”

Where they have got this information from I do not know. I work in the motoring trade and we carry out MOT’s. A lot of older cars pass our doors and despite me working there, l am not exempt from a failure or advisory. Indeed my fleet of 4 (2 old Volkswagens and 2 old Fiats) all but the Golf have advisory warnings on their MOT’s. All are kept in pretty good order. Both Fiat’s failed their 2017 MOT’s. Can you see where this is going?

I work in the motoring trade and we carry out MOTs. A lot of older cars pass our doors and despite me working there, I am not exempt from a failure or advisory. Indeed my fleet of four (two old Volkswagens and two old Fiats) all but the Golf have advisory warnings on their MOT’s. All are kept in pretty good order. Both Fiat’s failed their 2017 MOTs. Can you see where this is going?

Admittedly only the camper will be exempt but my four want for nothing. I have a bank account set up for any running repairs that they need but this still doesn’t stop them failing. I like to think that I take great care of them. The truth is I don’t. And this stands true for the older cars we get in for MOT.

A classic example was an old VW bus that came in. All shiny paint and recently restored. It failed of inadequate welding repairs to the chassis. I’m sure my friend whose bus came to us last year also failed on inadequate welding repairs. Here lies a problem with older cars. they rust. Now any idiot can pick up a welder and have a go. It’s harder than it looks. I’ve tried and failed. I tried again and made a metal man from scrap for the garden but in no way is my welding to be relied upon for meeting MOT standards.

And then we have the other problems associated with the older car and its inadequate use. Things seize up. The Fiat has a lazy handbrake on the rear brake calliper. The camper had a rear brake that wasn’t working. Without my MOT I wouldn’t have known this. This remember is coming from someone who looks after their cars.

This remember is coming from someone who looks after their cars.

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There is just too much to go wrong. And it will put lives at risk. When was the last time you looked at your brake pads? You wait for the warning light to come on, don’t you? Does your car has a warning system? Only my Golf does.

But surely this will save us money? Well no. OK, I don’t pay for my MOT’s. It’s a perk of my job and saves me £216 a year or £54 a car but I’d rather pay that just for peace of mind. And here comes the catch. The DfT has said “The option for owners to take their vehicles for a voluntary MOT test will remain. They will still, like all vehicle owners, need to ensure that they meet the legal requirement of keeping their vehicle in a roadworthy condition at all time.”

Over 2000 people were consulted for the change in MOT law. Strangely a larger majority voted against exemption of vehicles over 30 years or older from MOT tests. The DfT agreed with the consultation on this. It cited accident data as well as the strong negative reaction from the public to this suggestion. Accident data. Vehicles 30 years or older involved in accidents caused people in the consultation to be wary.

The MOT, however, is flawed. It only proves that on that given day of presentation, it was deemed safe for the road. It could all go wrong tomorrow. Without one, however, how will you know? How many of us out there are mechanically sympathetic to the workings of our cars or can detect a fault? Apparently those with older cars are more in tune. Apparently, we tend to look after them more. As a case study l have just failed.

Visit any car forum and I’ll beg to differ. The questions people ask sometimes make me shudder to the core. Sometimes I want to grab the keys from them and toss them into the drain.

There is another fear to come from this though and that’s restrictions of use. I was deep in discussion with a friend in the trade and he spoke at length that soon there will be restrictions for use of older cars. I couldn’t disagree. Mark my words, they will come.