Is the MOT obsolete and should it be scrapped?

A controversial newspaper column has claimed the MOT test should be scrapped. Engine carbon cleaning specialist TerraClean looks at the issue.
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A recent opinion column in the Daily Telegraph raised an interesting point: that the MOT test, as it stands, is out of date, obsolete, and should be scrapped.

In summary, the author, Sam Dumitriu, says that:

  • There’s no evidence that MOTs actually make roads safer
  • The fact similar tests are being scrapped in America shows they are not necessary
  • That the popularity of various modern car finance models means there are more newer cars on the road now, with fewer people relying on second-hand vehicles

While some of the claims in the column are clearly true – there are certainly greater volumes of newer cars on the road now – but there are elements that are controversial.

Is the MOT test perfect? No – there are ways in which it could be improved. But many would argue that it still provides a basic assurance that the majority of cars on the road are roadworthy.

Could scrapping the MOT reduce safety?

The column claims that very few crashes are caused by mechanical failure these days – but could it be argued that MOT tests help to ensure cars are of a suitable and safe standard?

Many of TerraClean’s network of 500+ dealers are also MOT testers, and you would only need to speak to a few of them to hear some real horror stories about the condition of some vehicles when they come in to be tested.

Critical items such as brakes and tyres can wear very quickly – even on new cars – and become unsafe in a short space of time. It arguably should not be left to members of the public to decide whether or not these parts are worn or dangerous.

Imagine if MOT tests were scrapped: would you feel comfortable with a rusty-looking, 25-year-old car putting out clouds of black smoke, driving an uncomfortable distance from your rear bumper?

Or imagine you have a teenage child, being picked up by a friend in their car? Again, you’d want the reassurance that the vehicle has been tested for roadworthiness in the past 12 months.

What about the environment?

Beyond vehicle safety, another key function of the MOT test is environmental protection. Emissions tests have been a part of the test for many years, and have recently been made more stringent.

We all have to breathe the same air and all have to take collective responsibility for helping to keep it as clean as possible. Air pollution is linked to tens of thousands of deaths in the UK each year – should we really remove the only tests that can help to monitor individual vehicle emissions once they are in customers’ hands?

What do you think?

We’d welcome hearing from you – do you agree with the telegraph column, that MOT tests could be scrapped or made more lenient? Do you think they need to be stronger? Or are you happy with them the way they are? We’d love to hear your thoughts on our Facebook page here.

Remember, if you’re ever worried about your vehicle’s emission levels, or if you have failed your MOT on emissions, TerraClean may be able to help. Speak to your local dealer – pop your postcode in the search bar above to find them – before you pay out for costly replacement parts.