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MOT Test frequency posts highlight need to educate drivers

As the MOT consultation, including proposals to change MOT test frequency, races towards its deadline, the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has found a need to educate drivers on the safety benefits of regular tests.

The IAAF is running a social media promotion, calling on those viewing adverts to sign a petition against the proposed MOT frequency changes, with the government looking to switch the first annual test to every four years. However, the responses to the posts have been mixed, if not sceptical, from motorists. 

With the concerns over the impact any changes to MOT test frequency will have to both road safety and the aftermarket in general, the IAAF is arguing that more needs to be done to support MOT stations and garages with their own communication on the importance of roadworthiness checks.

Unawareness of what MOT test frequency change could mean

One user said: “In France a new car doesn’t have to [have an MOT] until it’s four years old and then an MOT is every two years after that, and it works well.” 

While another responded with: “Spend a week in an MOT test garage and see the state of some of the vehicles that come in, then imagine them getting another year to drive about unchecked. In an ideal world people would look after their vehicles but sadly this is not always the case. And don’t forget that the current UK MOT is minimum standards…”.

Another user, in favour of the extension in MOT test frequency, commented: “Modern cars are far… safer than they used to be so extending the plan is logical.”

However, this led an aftermarket professional to respond with: “As an MOT inspector I have found and seen lethal faults on vehicles that are tested EVERY year… They use the same potholed roads; potholes do an amazing amount of damage to vehicles every day of the year. Modern vehicles still use brakes and tyres that wear out and get damaged, let alone all the electrical abs, lighting and ancillary components that fail on vehicles…”

Support needed for MOT test stations

The IAAF is calling on the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to support the MOT testing stations more. “MOT testing stations and testers need to be better supported in communicating to motorists why the MOT test is in place,” commented Mark Field, IAAF chief executive. “Much is done on the importance of roadworthiness but more needs to be done to promote confidence with those that are actually carrying out the test.”

The industry body is arguing that changing the MOT test frequency risks driver and public safety and will ultimately cost motorists more money. 

“We support plans to modernise the MOT, but we do not believe in a change of MOT test frequency. By reducing this, the public will perceive this as being an indication that vehicles are ‘more reliable’, especially in relation to vehicles that use driver style or journey type to calculate when a service is required – which is often every two years. This would be a contradiction to any Governmental message that vehicles need to be maintained more frequently to offset the change in MOT frequency.”

A survey carried out in 2021 found that nine million drivers aren’t aware that their MOT is due, and therefore although many drivers are safety conscious and ensure their vehicle is regularly serviced and maintained, it is too much of a risky strategy to presume all motorists will take the same level of precaution without it being enforced.


Whenever an industry is looking to fight changes to legislation, there is always a group that will see cynicism in the reasons why. Having monitored the IAAF posts, as well as others aimed at fighting changes to the MOT test frequency, many drivers are saying the same thing – cars are more reliable and it’s a money-making exercise.

The independent aftermarket has had a poor reputation in this regard for what seems like its entire incarnation. Of course, we know that is not the case. But as vehicle technology increases, drivers do not understand the complexities of vehicles, the work that goes into diagnostics and repairing, and so forth. Of course, adverts for certain products, specifically some on Facebook that accuse mechanics of ‘robbing you’ do not help.

But when it comes to the MOT, there is no argument in favour of changing the MOT test frequency. It’s a road safety issue. Cars may be more reliable, but tyres are still the same, as are brakes, rubber boots, and other wearable items. With the various reports of drivers putting off essential maintenance, not replacing tyres, or even considering avoiding MOT checks altogether, now is not the time to be changing the MOT test frequency.

I say this a lot, but education is key. If you see something on social media that you do not agree with, challenge it, as one aftermarket professional has done with a comment on the IAAF post. I have challenged the adverts mentioned above – and had no response from the company involved to date – and I have seen others challenging opinions of the industry.

This is a time for the independent aftermarket to come together, to challenge the preconceptions of the industry, and to challenge the attempt to change the MOT test frequency. If you want to comment on the consultation, you can do so here

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