MOT After 4 Years Instead of 3 Years – That’s What’s Proposed. Good or Bad?
I don’t know about you, but MOT time for the car is always something that scares me and after dropping the car off, I spend the day nervously waiting for a phone call from the garage to tell me if my car has got a clean bill of health, or if I am having to cancel the holiday and sell the kids to pay the enormous repair bill for my wayward car.
As it happens, most times now, modern cars seem to do pretty well when it comes to their early MOT’s as they’ve not rusted away and short of things like tyres, they mostly don’t fail on anything dramatic.
Probably because of that, the Government in the shape of Secretary of State for Transport Phillip Hammond, is proposing changes that would see cars needing their first MOT at 4 years old rather than 3 years as at present. Further changes would also see the MOT being a bi-annual thing rather than every year, so effectively instead of a 3-1-1 frequency, it would change to 4-2-2.
There are differing opinions about the changes and not surprisingly the ‘Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation’ (IAAF) who promote independent and smaller garages are campaigning strongly against the proposed changes and using every reason they can find to say that this is a bad idea.
HiQ the fast fit chain are supporting the IAAF and are clearly unhappy with the proposals, calling on motorists to contact their local MPs to show opposition to the changes, with a spokesman saying “As a hard franchised network of independent garages, we always call for improvements to the benefits of our business and to motorists, but in this case, it is important to clarify that we are campaigning on behalf of the consumer, for money saving and safety.”
The Government however says that consumers will save money because modern day cars simply don’t need to be tested as often and to be honest, that’s been our experience also.
However, those opposing the changes say that motorists will be hit harder than ever, as defects that could have been spotted and rectified earlier might become more severe and in the long run, cost more to repair. Needless to say, playing on people fears, the “safety” card is also being played with claims that these changes could negatively impact on the number of road deaths and casualties every year!
Running a large fleet of vehicles as we do, we are getting vehicles MOT’d all the time and many of them have covered big mileages in the first 3 years of their lives, however, we find very few fail the MOT and those that do, it tends to be tyres, windscreen wipers, lights etc, which in fact would all be pointed out at the next service, so would naturally be done.
Things are tough for small independent garages and workshops and these changes could make life even more difficult. Because of warranty and other stuff, the independent garages don’t tend to get cars in until they are older, but Main dealers have fought back to keep older cars coming in to them by offering cracking deals and doing a damn good job for the main part.
You have to wonder what the future holds for these small garages and if there days are numbered, seeing them possibly going the same way as the high street butcher or baker, with many of their traditional customers now choosing to use supermarkets. Perhaps this will be repeated in the motor trade as the main dealers with greater capacity, trained staff, parts on the shelf and all the equipment to quickly fix the make of vehicle they sell will be just too attractive a proposition for customers to ignore.
Keeping your car serviced correctly is by far in a way the best way to keep it performing at its best, it’s most economic and it’s safest. Be sure, your garage will tell you if they find anything on your car that’s wearing out or likely to need replacement. Maybe these changes actually add a positive, in as much as rather than paying the MOT fee (currently £54.75), the money you are saving can help pay for your car to be serviced, so it’s a win-win.
The important point here however is that the eventual decision to switch to the 4 year then bi-annual MOT, must be made for good logical valid reasons and not emotional ones, or to help keep afloat a particular sector of the industry who view the present arrangements as a potential profit opportunity and don’t want to lose it.