Are changes to MOTs likely to lead to an increase in failures in 2021?

MOT tests have changed. After pressure from campaigners wanting to avoid a repeat of a 2012 coach tyre blowout which led to the deaths of three people, the Department for Transport has worked with the automotive industry to develop new MOT testing rules. 

But will these changes increase failure rates in 2021, just as UK motorists book MOTs online in time to get back on the road? In this article, we look at survey results and the MOT changes themselves to work out whether they will cause motorists and garages issues.

What are the new rules?

The new rules mean that, since February 2021, any heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) or public service vehicles (PSVs) such as coaches and buses, are banned from using tyres over ten years old. The legislation applies to any axle of minibuses that has single wheels fitted to it, as well as the front axle of any coach, bus, or lorry. Vehicles with nine or more seats not used commercially are also liable and must display a manufacture or re-treading date code on their tyres.

Additionally, MOT testing centres will be able to sign into the GOV.UK MOT platform to register their testing results much easier than before. Now, mechanics will simply need use and app to log in to the MOT Testing System (MTS), saving time and effort.

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Might the new rules cause an increase in failures?

According to research from the Motor Ombudsman published in March 2021, 58% of garages polled thought they would see failure rates increase in 2021. This was not due to the MOT changes, however. 

Instead, survey respondents said they expected drivers to have postponed important servicing and maintenance throughout 2020 and 2021, as well as the MOTs themselves. This would translate into much higher failure rates as people got their paperwork in order in time for lockdown easing.

Instead, it’s hoped that the MTS changes will make MOTs slightly easier for mechanics to conduct as they won’t have to login slowly as before – a partial solution to the MOT backlog that occurred as a result of the extension of MOTs during the first lockdown in 2020.

And while the changes themselves will lead to a longer list of considerations for HGVs and PSVs, these will only represent a small number of the vehicles on the roads. In 2018, Department for Transport figures showed there were 31.5 million cars (82.5% of all vehicles), 4 million light goods vehicles (LGVs) (10.5%), and a mere 0.5 million HGVs (1.3%). Add to this that most HGV MOTs take place at dedicated centres, and it’s highly unlikely the new rules will be felt by everyday motorists.

Have you recently had your MOT? Were you impacted by the new rules? Let us know your experiences in the comments section.

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