Car MOT failure rates have fallen (rather than risen) since new, more stringent MOT rules came into force on 20th May 2018.
This unexpected finding was revealed on analysis of DVLA data obtained by car buying comparison website Motorway.co.uk, through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.
The request, submitted to the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in October 2018, asked for the total number of MOT tests, fail and pass rates, every month since January 2017. The data was obtained to see if tougher rules had increased failure rates, but actually revealed the opposite.
Across June, July and August 2018 – the months following the shake-up in MOT rules – the average failure rate was 34.1%, compared to 34.5% between January 2017 and April 2018 (preceding the changes). The average fail rate across June, July and August 2017 was 35%, almost 1% higher than the corresponding months this year.
August 2018 saw the second lowest monthly fail rate this year and the fourth lowest since the start of 2017, with just 33.4% of cars failing their MOT. With all cars on the road requiring MOT after three years, this lower monthly fail rate could be put down to a higher percentage of newer cars being on the road that were purchased 2014-15 that required an MOT for the first time.
The DVLA figures also revealed that the failure rate from 1st to 19th May 2018 was 35%, but increased to 35.5% from 20th to 31st May 2018, suggesting that car owners were caught out by the new rules. Although, looking at actual test numbers, there were 1,679,965 MOT tests from 1st to 19th May and 986,178 tests over the rest of the month, which indicates that car owners were keen to get their cars tested before the new rules came into force on the 20th May.
The new MOT rules include changes to how defects are categorised, stricter rules around diesel car emissions and additional items checked during the MOT such as whether tyres are under-inflated or any signs of brake fluid contamination or leakage.