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Should new cars be MOT exempt for 4 years?

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We Are Marmalade

October 6, 2017

News 4 min read

The government has proposed that brand new cars should be exempt from being MOT tested for 4 years, instead of the current 3 years. Cars are generally considered safer, more reliable, better built, than ever before – so surely this is a fantastic idea that will save motorists a decent chunk of money? Let’s weigh things up and decide!

An MOT test will set you back up to a maximum of £54.85, so for many drivers the idea of that handy extra saving will be appealing – and why wouldn’t it be? That’s a new pair of Converse, or tickets to a gig! As the Transport Minister Andrew Jones said:

“We have some of the safest roads in the world and MOT tests play an important role in ensuring the standard of vehicles on our roads. New vehicles are much safer than they were 50 years ago and so it is only right we bring the MOT test up to date to help save motorists money where we can.”


This is a fair point – we at Marmalade actively encourage young drivers to choose newer, safer cars because we want to see you driving safely, in a reliable vehicle. There’s absolutely no arguing the fact that – if well maintained – newer cars are very likely to pass their first MOT at 3 years, however what about the ones which fail because owners haven’t kept up with essential maintenance? Under the new proposals, those cars would be on the road in that condition for an additional year.

So whether these changes come into force or not, what can you do to ensure that you car is roadworthy at all times?

Check your tyres

The tread depth of all tyres must be at least 1.6mm throughout a continuous band in the centre 3/4 of the tread and around the entire circumference – this diagram will help explain how you check, using just a 20p coin:

How to check your tyres using a 20p coin

Credit: TyreSafe

All tyres should be compatible with one another, and not have any lumps or bulges, or have a tear or cut that is 25mm or 10% of the sectional width of the tyre.

Check your car’s lights

A really simple way to do this, is by asking someone to walk around your car and check that all the lights are working, while you sit inside the car switching the various lights on and off. Don’t forget to check:

  • Main and dipped headlights
  • Rear lights
  • Brake lights
  • Fog lights
  • Indicators/hazards
  • Registration plate lights
  • Rear reflectors

If any of them aren’t working, get them fixed ASAP!

Are your mirrors secure?

It may sound silly, but definitely make sure that your wing mirrors are atatched securely – all it could take it someone barging past your car and a wing mirror could be less secure, or positioned badly so that you don’t have a good view of the road.

Don’t leave bugs on the windscreen!

Okay, so there’s more to it than that – but your screenwash needs to be topped up at all times, and your wiper blades need to be in good condition without any tears. Those annoying windscreen chips from rogue stones on the road? If they are right in front of your face from the driving seat, and are larger than 10mm, your car would fail. Anywhere else in the wipers’ sweeping area, then anything larger than 40mm would mean a fail – get those chips fixed!

Don’t forget your fluids

As well as your screenwash, keep your oil, engine coolant, power steering fluid, and brake fluid topped up, but don’t forget to let the engine cool down before you open that bonnet! Your car will thank you for this and will reward you by running better and living longer. Long live your beloved motoring friend!

Government statistics from 2016 show that nearly 50% of all MOT failures are due to faults that could have been avoided with regular, simple maintenance. Carry out some basic regular car checks, and you hopefully won’t find yourself on the wrong side of those statistics!

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By We Are Marmalade

'We champion young drivers with award-winning low cost insurance for learner and new drivers and a great young drivers' car scheme.'  See more posts by We Are

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