MOT Changes 2023: UK Gov MOT Updates

In the world of automotive regulations and road safety, the MOT test has stood as a cornerstone for ensuring the roadworthiness of vehicles since its introduction in the 1960s. As technology and vehicle standards have evolved over the years, so too has the need to reassess and adapt the processes that keep our roads safe. In 2023, significant changes are being considered for the MOT test in the UK. This blog dives into the proposed MOT changes, exploring the rationale behind them, the potential impacts, and the wider implications for road safety and the environment.


  1. Evolution of the MOT Test


The MOT test, originally introduced in the 1960s, was designed to ensure the safety of vehicles on the road. Over the years, it has expanded to encompass not only the mechanical integrity of vehicles but also their emissions and environmental impact. As vehicle technology continues to advance, from hybrid and electric vehicles to self-driving features, it's essential to assess whether the existing MOT system remains fit for purpose.


  1. Proposed Changes and Executive Summary


The proposed changes to the MOT test are multi-faceted and have been categorized into two main parts. The first part addresses the timing of the first MOT test and related changes, while the second part explores broader questions about the nature, frequency, and scope of MOT tests.

The government's preference is to extend the date of the first MOT from 3 to 4 years, with the option of considering a further extension to 5 years.


This change is based on several factors, including advances in vehicle technology, increased vehicle resilience, and improvements in safety features. The initial MOT failure rates have decreased over time, indicating improved vehicle quality and roadworthiness. The proposal acknowledges that the safety implications of extending the first MOT test to 4 years are limited, considering the positive trend in vehicle safety.


  1. A Major Overhaul: MOT Changes 2023

In a bold move to enhance road safety, the MOT process is undergoing a major transformation. One of the groundbreaking features of this change is the introduction of safety recall warnings. As part of the annual MOT test, drivers will now be alerted to any outstanding safety recalls associated with their vehicles. This proactive approach aims to ensure that vehicles on the road are not only roadworthy but also free from any lingering safety issues that might pose risks to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians alike.


  1. The Rationale Behind the Changes

The driving force behind the 2023 MOT changes is a combination of factors that underline the need for adaptability in the automotive realm. The automotive landscape is evolving at an unprecedented pace, with advancements in technology, vehicle design, and safety features reshaping the way vehicles operate and interact with their environments. As such, the MOT process must evolve to ensure that vehicles are not only mechanically sound but also technologically up-to-date and safe for all road users.


  1. Unveiling the MOT Requirements

A pivotal aspect of the MOT test is its comprehensive assessment of various vehicle components and systems. While the proposed changes introduce safety recall warnings, the existing MOT requirements remain in place. Vehicles will continue to be subject to rigorous inspections, encompassing crucial elements such as lamps, brakes, tires, seat belts, exhaust systems, and emissions, among others. The MOT test will continue to play a crucial role in maintaining the highest standards of road safety and environmental responsibility.



  1. Environmental Impacts

Road transport plays a significant role in air pollution, contributing to human-made air pollution and its associated health impacts. In the UK, road transport is estimated to contribute 12.4% of primary particulate matter and 33.6% of nitrogen oxides, contributing to thousands of premature deaths annually. The MOT test includes emission tests for petrol and diesel engines, aiming to control carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and smoke opacity. The proposed changes could result in an increase in emissions-related failures, potentially leading to higher levels of pollutants being emitted by vehicles on the road.


  1. Impact on Garages and Government Departments

The changes to the MOT test will undoubtedly have an impact on garages and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). As the date of the first MOT is extended, the number of annual tests conducted by approved testing stations will decrease. This reduction in tests translates to a potential loss of revenue for garages. The DVSA, responsible for administering the MOT scheme, will also experience a decrease in slot fees received for vehicle passes.

The expected costs to the DVSA over ten years are estimated based on the proposed changes.


Government departments, including the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), will need to adapt their IT systems to accommodate the new MOT schedule. This adjustment ensures that vehicle excise duty payment is cross-referenced with valid MOTs.


  1. Enhancements to the Existing System

While the primary focus of the changes is the timing of the first MOT test, there are opportunities to enhance road safety and environmental impact further. One such area is emissions control, specifically targeting diesel vehicles with particulate filters. The proposal suggests the implementation of more effective testing for diesel cars, identifying missing or defective diesel particulate filters (DPFs). This involves considering the adoption of particulate number (PN) testing to ensure proper emissions control and air quality improvement.


The DfT recognizes the importance of public awareness regarding vehicle maintenance and the distinction between MOT tests and servicing. In response to the changes, the government plans to launch a campaign to educate motorists about their responsibilities for maintaining roadworthy vehicles. There is also a call for collaboration with trade bodies to ensure that service products encompass all safety-critical elements covered by MOTs.


  1. Q&A: Addressing Key Concerns


As motorists grapple with these upcoming changes, a range of questions emerges. Here's a concise Q&A to provide clarity on essential concerns:



  1. Why extend the first MOT to 4 years?

   The proposed extension is based on improved vehicle quality, safety features, and reduced initial MOT failure rates. It aims to align the MOT schedule with technological advancements and vehicle resilience while maintaining road safety standards.



  1. Will emissions-related failures increase?

   Yes, the changes could lead to an increase in emissions-related failures, potentially contributing to higher levels of pollutants. However, the proposal acknowledges the importance of monitoring and addressing emissions issues in line with changing vehicle technology.


  1. How will garages be impacted?

   Garages will experience a decrease in annual tests due to the extended first MOT interval. This reduction could result in a potential loss of revenue. However, opportunities for collaboration and adapting to the changing landscape could mitigate the impact.


  1. What about diesel emissions and particulate filters?

   The proposal acknowledges the need to enhance emissions control for diesel vehicles. The introduction of particulate number (PN) testing aims to identify missing or defective diesel particulate filters, ensuring better air quality and emissions control.


  1. What steps will be taken to ensure public awareness?

   The government plans to launch a campaign to educate motorists about their responsibilities for vehicle maintenance and roadworthiness. Collaboration with trade bodies will also work towards clarifying the distinction between MOT tests and servicing.


As the automotive landscape continues to evolve, so must the regulations and processes that govern it. The proposed changes to the MOT test in 2023 reflect a proactive approach to ensure road safety and environmental sustainability. While challenges and concerns exist, the broader goals of these changes are to adapt to technological advancements, reduce emissions, and enhance public awareness for safer journeys on our roads. The government welcomes feedback and input from the public and stakeholders, aiming to create a more roadworthy and sustainable future for all.




  1. How long is a UK MOT valid for?

   An MOT lasts for a year, with the expiry date printed on the current MOT pass certificate. It's illegal to drive a vehicle without a valid MOT, and renewal can be done up to a month before it expires.


  1. What are the MOT requirements?

   The MOT test covers an array of components, including lamps, brakes, tires, seat belts, exhaust systems, and emissions. These elements are checked to ensure roadworthiness and safety.


  1. How long before an MOT is updated?

   It may take up to 5 days for the DVLA to update your MOT data. If your MOT test information hasn't been updated after 5 days, contacting the DVLA is advisable.


  1. Do all UK cars need an MOT?

   Annual MOT testing is mandatory for most cars over three years old to ensure road safety. However, some vehicles, like those over 40 years old, may be exempt from the MOT requirement.


  1. How long can you drive without MOT in the UK?

   Driving without an MOT is illegal for vehicles over three years old, except when driving to a pre-booked test. Safety and legality require an up-to-date MOT.


  1. Is oil level checked in MOT?

   The MOT test doesn't include checking oil levels, coolant, or other fluids. These elements don't affect the emissions or safety of the vehicle and aren't part of the test.


  1. Is the battery checked on an MOT?

   The battery's condition, security, and connectors are checked during the MOT. Secure and leak-free batteries are part of ensuring vehicle safety.


  1. Is there a grace period with an MOT?

   There's no grace period for renewing a lapsed MOT, except if you have a pre-booked test and are driving to the test center. Renew your MOT before it expires.


  1. Does MOT automatically update?

   Once your vehicle passes an MOT, the DVLA's records are updated automatically. Ensure your vehicle passes before the current MOT expires.


  1. Is an MOT still valid on the expiry date?

   Yes, an MOT remains valid until midnight on its expiry date, giving drivers a clear timeframe to ensure their vehicles remain roadworthy.


  1. Are vehicles over 25 years old tax exempt in the UK?

   Vehicles over 40 years old are exempt from both the annual MOT test and vehicle excise duty (road tax). This exemption promotes the preservation of historic vehicles.







  1. Conclusion:

As we embrace the MOT changes of 2023, it's evident that the landscape of vehicle testing and road safety is evolving to meet the demands of the modern age. The introduction of safety recall warnings underscores the commitment to addressing not only mechanical aspects but also critical safety concerns. These changes are a testament to the dedication towards creating a safer and more technologically advanced driving environment. With comprehensive inspections, adherence to MOT requirements, and awareness of evolving regulations, motorists can navigate the road with confidence, knowing that their vehicles are not only roadworthy but also equipped to face the challenges of the future. Let us embark on this journey of transformation, ensuring that safety and innovation go hand in hand on our roads.