The MOT changes that could see millions more cars fail the test

The MOT changes that could see millions more cars fail the test
The MOT changes that could see millions more cars fail the test

The MOT test could be toughened up to ensure car owners are submitting to vehicle safety recalls.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), which oversees safety recalls, is reportedly planning to work with the Department for Transport to determine how the roadworthiness test could be adjusted to cover outstanding recalls.

The MOT underwent the most wide-ranging changes in its history last year but, according to Auto Express, the two government agencies are set to hold discussions about how it can be adapted further.

Safety risks

Recalls are a common part of the car industry, with manufacturers issuing them if a fault is detected which is deemed to pose a potential safety risk. They can cover everything from a poorly fitted sunroof or faulty seat belt buckle to engines cutting out and fire hazards.

Read more: Brake failure and fire risks – the latest safety recalls from major car brands

Under the current system, manufacturers use DVLA data to inform the registered keeper of a car of any recalls to that model. It is then up to the keeper to have the remedial work carried out but there is no legal obligation and an estimate 2.38 million cars in the UK are currently subject to an outstanding recall.


Neil Barlow, the DVSA’s head of vehicle engineering, told Auto Express: “it would make logical sense where appropriate for the MOT to be aligned with the safety recalls system” to ensure all cars have the work carried out.

MOT safety recalls
The planned changes could see MOT testers check if a vehicle has outstanding recalls against it. Picture: Shutterstock

He said the DVSA intended to “work with the Department for Transport to determine how the MoT system can be adjusted to cover outstanding safety recalls in the future”.

Mr Barlow added that any such alignment of systems would need to give drivers reasonable time to have recall work carried out – to ensure they weren’t penalised for a recall issued just before their car’s MOT.

It is thought the agencies could follow the example of Germany where owners are given a warning if their car has an outstanding recall when tested under its equivalent of the MOT. If the recall hasn’t been addressed by the time of the next test the car will fail.

Mr Barlow said that if such changes were to be introduced they would require changes to legislation.

The DVSA launched an online tool last year allowing owners to check if there are any outstanding recalls against their car.

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