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The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation

Comment from ECP: Move to scrap annual MOT significant risk to driver safety - and future of the aftermarket | Andy Hamilton

Date: Monday 09 May 2022

MOTs are a critical means of protecting drivers at the wheel. The purpose of an MOT is to ensure vehicles are roadworthy – they can help to identify issues with key systems and components, including brakes and tyres, before they begin to compromise vehicle safety.

Every year, MOT testing standards are rigorously refreshed to ensure garage technicians are equipped with the latest knowledge and skills to maintain maximum vehicle safety – so effectively halving the time they spend in the workshop could lead fixable problems to worsen. The suggestion that this move will save consumers money is a red herring, as it risks exposing drivers to costly repairs further down the line.

The MOT has also arguably never been more important. The ‘new normal’ of hybrid working means many people are driving far less frequently than before the pandemic, which has a knock-on effect on vehicle health. Brakes, for example, can begin to corrode when there isn’t sufficient motion to prevent rust from building up, and particulate filters can become blocked if vehicles aren’t given the chance to burn off any deposits.

As well as these vital safety considerations, MOTs are also a key revenue driver for independent garages. So any move to scrap annual testing, stripping away this source of regular work, would place huge pressure on an industry already grappling with challenges from supply chain disruption and skills shortages through to the rise of so-called captive parts by OEMs and dealerships.

In practice, a reduction in the frequency of MOTs is unlikely to save consumers money. A more effective solution would be to promote the availability of MOT testing within the UK aftermarket – independent garages have the flexibility to offer more competitive prices than dealerships, with equivalent – if not better – service quality. We would encourage the government to rethink this suggestion and explore more effective ways to reduce the squeeze on household finances.