23 04 2018

2018 Changes to the MOT: What You Need to Know

On 20th May 2018 the MOT system is changing, with new regulations for Vehicles of Historical Interest (VHIs) over 40 years old. This article is intended to highlight those changes, clarify what action needs to be taken by owners, and show where additional information can be found.

MOT Exemption

One of the biggest changes for classic vehicle owners is that VHIs over 40 years old may be exempt from annual MOT testing, as long as they have not been ‘substantially changed’ in the past 30 years. Critically, the exemption will not be automatic, even for cars already exempt (pre-1960) and those registered in the Historic Vehicles tax class. Owners must therefore declare an exemption every time they tax a VHI; details of how to do this are below.

What constitutes ‘substantial change’?

To qualify for an exemption to MOT testing, the VHI must not have been ‘substantially changed’ in the past 30 years, in a major component area of chassis, axles & running gear, or engine. More information is here, but in general if the changes have been made to improve safety, are using replacement parts of the same design as original, or using the same basic engine design, then these are not considered substantial. Therefore, the following examples would not be considered substantial:

  • MGB ‘Heritage’ bodyshell (same design as original).
  • Replace original Alfa 1300cc 4-cylinder Nord engine with 2000cc 4-cylinder Nord
  • Install later front disc brakes on early VW Type 2 (safety upgrade)

However, the following examples would be considered substantial:

  • MGB re-bodied as a racing special.
  • Replacing Alfa Nord engine with an Alfa V6 Busso engine (different cylinder capacity)
  • Installing substantially different axle or suspension (Porsche on a VW, for example).

The responsibility for ensuring a declared VHI meets the criteria falls on the owner as part of his or her due diligence. If they are not sure of the status, owners are encouraged to speak to their respective owners’ clubs or find an expert through the FBHVC website.

What constitutes ‘40 years old’?

The Government website is not clear on this matter: on one page of the gov.uk website it states 40 years from the day it was first registered; on another 40 years from the date of manufacture. We're checking with the FBHVC legal compliance team and will update this article shortly. 

How to claim for VHI Exemption

An owner must declare an exemption when renewing their vehicle tax. As before, if your classic is moving into the Historic Tax band, then the application must be made at a Post Office using the appropriate form. The first time a car is declared as exempt for MOT testing, a form V112 must be used.


Whether a vehicle is MOT-exempt or not, it remains the owner’s legal responsibility to keep the car roadworthy, and those who do not risk fines and points on their license, not to mention a risk to their safety and those of other road users. Owners may voluntarily put their car through an MOT even if exempt.

Vehicles other than cars

Historic lorries, coaches, kit cars and similar are not exempt from the MOT check. The www.gov.uk site states that guidance for motorcycles will be issued separately.

Other changes

The other main change to the test is the inclusion of new categories of problems identified. These are:

  • Dangerous. Don’t drive.
  • Major. Repair immediately.
  • Minor. Repair as soon as possible.
  • Advisory. Monitor and repair if necessary
  • Pass. No problem identified.

Hagerty’s View

Hagerty has to look at this issue as both enthusiasts and professional insurance providers. As the former, we want to keep as many safe, older vehicles on the road as possible. As the latter, the legal requirement to maintain the car to a roadworthy standard would probably be investigated by the underwriter should a significant claim be made. While we will not require exempt classic vehicles to have an MOT, we believe it is a good idea for owners to have their VHIs MOT tested on a regular basis and recommend an annual service by a reputable garage for peace of mind.

A PDF of the detailed changes for historic vehicles is provided by the DVLA here.

Hagerty’s article on the existing (pre-May 2018) regulations is here.

Join the Discussion

38 reader comments

  • 1
    Barry Hoggard Portstewart April 25, 2018 at 2:11pm
    Are the new rules approved for Northern Ireland ? In particular, the rolling 40 year rule For MOT exemption
  • 2
    John Corden Reigate April 25, 2018 at 2:18pm
    Good summary, but Historic Lorries may be exempt, as long as they are not used for commercial purposes.
  • 3
    Colin Newman Surrey UK April 25, 2018 at 2:31pm
    In the FBHVC issue 1. 2018 Section 7 of the roadworthness testing, it states " is of a type no longer in production". Does this mean a '72 Range Rover or a '75 Morgan 4/4 will still need a MOT?
  • 4
    Kirpal Randhawa Surrey April 25, 2018 at 2:32pm
    Thanks for the update. I’ve got a 1978 Triumph stag & a Ford cortina MK2 on a 1967. I’ll still be taking them for their annual mot regardless of the exemption. Best be safe then sorry & most importantly the up keep off my cars. Regards KS Randhawa
  • 5
    Peter Chester April 25, 2018 at 2:42pm
    Hello After reading the the above I remain somewhat confused, as on the the Government's own website, it states, that cars, vans, motorcycles and other light passenger vehicles will be exempt from MOT on the 31st of May 2018, again if not substantially modified. Regards Confused.
  • 6
    Ted Northern Ireland April 25, 2018 at 2:48pm
    As you probably know the MOT situation is different in NI (no private garages involved, only government agency testing and only after 4 years old - EU norm I believe). Although vehicle licensing was taken over by Swansea, it is still not possible to register a car as a new keeper with a NI address without a paper copy of the insurance certificate, on-line is OK for renewal however. In addition the new regulations for Historic Vehicles and the MoT are not changing in NI. It will still be a requirement to have an annual MOT unless the vehicle was "manufactured or registered" before 1 January 1960. This is confusing as no guidance is available from the DVANI on how to claim exemption from the MOT. Historic vehicles are currently recognised on the 40 year rolling age basis as that is controlled by Swansea, but our Agency when spoken to on the phone seem not to have a clue as to how to go about exemption from MOT. My vehicle was manufactured in 1959 according to its BMIHT certificate, but only registered in March 1960 and I was seeking guidance from our Agency - without any success! There is mention on the NIDirect website of form V112, but the NI Agency seems not to know how it should be used. Do I ignore the MOT expiry date in July 2018, which will pre-date the "re-tax" date of May 2019? Having said all that, I think I will probably get a "voluntary" MOT check done and hope we have the situation sorted by this time next year! Some hope!
  • 7
    Michael UK April 25, 2018 at 3:13pm
    Hi I have a 1977 Porsche 911 Targa, was modified to a wide body all steel soft top in 1984 and engine changed to the 3.2 at the time. Registered here five years ago what would my situation be although I would always get an MOT for saftey sakes
  • 8
    Paul Boscott NN113RF April 25, 2018 at 3:32pm
    I would still like to present my car annually for an MOT what criteria would be applied partially re emissions? Or would I be better to claim an exemption and just have a third party safety check?
  • 9
    Martin Abraham Berkshire RG18 April 25, 2018 at 3:40pm
    For the price of an MOT it is still a negligible cost for peace of mind and to ensure safety all round . I feel it will only be a matter of time before something drastic will happen with some idiot and a rot box whereby the whole MOT situation for VHIs will be reviewed and will go completely the other way.
  • 10
    russ evans Preston Lancashire April 25, 2018 at 3:49pm
    When the Mot changed for older vehicles I did discuss this with Hagerty and we agreed --it seems daft that the rules are relaxed-for older vehicles ---I understand the newer Mot for 3 year old vehicles bears no relationship to the older car needs ----but would it not be better to have them with "a legal invoice "--for a "roadworthy annual inspection" by a recommended person ? would cost the same as an Mot ----any reply?
  • 11
    PETER DAVEY WEST SUSSEX April 25, 2018 at 4:36pm
    Having got two classic cars 1971 / 1974 I will still be having them MOT EVERY YEAR because even after a year things like brake hoses can perish or other things can seize up if the car is not used much during that year, I just like the peace of mind when driving them around in a safe condition that includes the body area too.
  • 12
    David Jones Hertfordshire April 25, 2018 at 4:45pm
    You have not indicated in your article - 'How to claim for VHI exemption' what you do if your car is already over 40 years old. How do I deal with this re the DVLA as my car is currently 46 years old - I've never had to use form V112. I cant help feeling your article is wanting!!!!
  • 13
    ROGER OATES newark April 25, 2018 at 6:08pm
    The MOT is an independent check of your vehicle once a year to check if the owner has missed a gradually increasing problem creeping up on Him or Her. Most owners are responsible but there is always an odd bad apple and I believe the decision is wrong.
  • 14
    Trevor Gaunt Stockport April 25, 2018 at 7:44pm
    This appears to be yet another hotchpotch concocted by civil servants who don't understand classic cars or their owners. My Lotus Elan was possibly built from a kit originally - some were assembled at the factory; some by franchisees; some by other garages and some by their new owners with help from friends. So does a Lotus Elan fall into the "kit car" category? Where exactly is the line drawn between minor and major changes? The interpretation of this clause looks likely to be a cause of considerable problems. Several Elans have had power train modifications, eg five speed gearboxes, Rotoflex couplings replaced by CV joints or other types of driveshafts, fuel injection or new carburettors, different camshafts etc. Also, bigger front discs and calipers. Does the DfT plan to appoint a team of inspectors to operate throughout Britain inspecting classic cars in order to determine whether they comply with the "minor changes" criteria and issuing certificates. What happens if an owner or restorer subsequently makes a major change? What happens to cars that are determined to have received "major modifications"? Who, if anyone, in the classic car industry was consulted prior to publication? As another correspondent remarked, it may only take one serious mistake that results in loss of life or life-changing injury for this scheme to be discredited and probably scrapped. I suggest strongly the DfT thinks again!
  • 15
    ROB ATTWOOD Helston Cornwall TR13 8UR April 26, 2018 at 2:20am
    Await comments
  • 16
    Andy Gill West Sussex April 26, 2018 at 2:26am
    I was certain that the insurance companies, quite rightly in my opinion, wouldn't be too keen on the MOT exemptions. And so it is thus. I also have a distrust of government in these matters and feel it is only a matter of time before VHI registered cars will suffer additional restrictions on use. On both counts above I consider it necessary to 1) continue to have my Hillman Imp MOT'd annually and 2) will therefore NOT apply for VHI. You have been warned !
  • 17
    Robbie Uk April 26, 2018 at 3:29am
    I have a 1962 morris mini super. Now known to be the rarest of minis My car is showroom condition. The mk1 mini super was released 3 months before the Cooper. And 95 percent original And just past new mot I will still take the car for mot regardless Of becoming exempt from mot test Mot exempt is a good thing. For those That are experienced in all the knowledge of vintage historic cars For those not experienced. Should take the car for voluntary mot test.this is going to be very interesting In may when. As a lot are against it ?
  • 18
    Mike corke Dorset April 26, 2018 at 3:57am
    This has a darker side, what is to stop car dealers selling rot boxes to joe public,at high prices. And the unsuspecting driver Insuring them and driving them until the accident happens! Who is to blame ? The dealer No The insurer No The DVLA No It's the man in the street who always wanted that Classic Car, who paid over the top for it.And likes to take it out on sunny days. Like all of us The MOT may only be a snap shot of condition but you can check back with the DVLA for its history of pass or fail, giving you a better understanding of its life. I know a lot of us have a good understanding of our classic cars and a like but this I feel is wrong. Keep the inderpendent checks by MOT to keep our hobby safe. MOT every time.
  • 19
    Gareth Kent April 26, 2018 at 5:54am
    I own a 1956 Anglia It has been heavily modified but the log book is correct engine size. I have a current Mot will I have to worry about being banned of the road , will it be treated as a kit car and as long as the Mot is current I will be Ok? Cheers Gareth
  • 20
    Harry Salkeld Southampton April 26, 2018 at 5:55am
    I am an owner of many classic cars. My day job, is as a Garage MOT station owner. I have been an MOT tester, for 30 odd years now and I can not believe, that the DfT have brought in this ruling. I along with most of the motor trade in the consultation was against the idea. I think it was about 80% against. So who knows why they still went ahead with it?. I have been looking into, offering a classic car, safety check. This would be carried out by qualified MOT testers, but with out the bureaucracy. Do you as insurer's, think this would have any standing. Or would it be better to just MOT annually?
  • 21
    David Harris Leamington Spa April 26, 2018 at 6:09am
    On my renwal with the insurance this year with Hagerty I was asked to send pictures of my 1971 Austin Healey, which is a good indicator of the condition of the car you are insuring and its authenticity along with body and engine numbers. I have a 1984 Spider Europa Pininfarina in Portugal what they are doing here is one off inspection by a IMT (MOT) Inspector which then lasts for 4 years which is a good idea ?
  • 22
    Fred Dukes newport shropshire April 26, 2018 at 6:16am
    I have studied the DVLA guidance in the past with a view to creating an article for our club magazine to help the members. There was a bit of a lightbulb moment when I read your interpretation of how to apply. You are suggesting that there is a requirement to apply at initial tax renewal time after May 20 or when vehicle is 40 years old and every tax renewal thereafter! This was not my initial interpretation - I thought the one off application was all that was required? Re reading the DVLA guidance it could be interpreted either way.
  • 23
    Geoff King UK April 26, 2018 at 7:19am
    The Hagerty "What you need to know" indicates that the 40 years exemption is calculated by reference to the date of first registration, and not the date of construction. I think that is wrong. See https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/668274/vehicles-of-historical-interest-substantial-change-guidance.pdf This is particularly relevant for ex-military vehicles such as lightweight Landrovers, which may have been given a civilian registration years after they were constructed.
  • 24
    Marvin Hurst Yorkshire April 26, 2018 at 9:27am
    In most areas of life we, and particularly bureaucratic bodies, have become more risk averse and safety conscious, yet stopping the requirement for an MoT for cars over 40 years old is a move in the opposite direction. Owners who look after their own cars or just take them to a garage for an oil change and quick check is not the same as an MoT. Can the minister who made this decision be held responsible when an unroadworthy MoT excempt car is involved in a serious accident?
  • 25
    john sullivan east sussex April 26, 2018 at 9:42am
    unmodified motorcycles are exempt too.
  • 26
    Jeffrey Bridges Sussex April 26, 2018 at 3:24pm
    I have two old cars and always have them MOT tested, how else can one be sure that the brakes work on all four wheels and are balanced for example. I am certain that in the event of an accident underwriters will investigate the roadworthiness of a vehicle if it is MOT exempt. People who run old cars and do not properly look after them risk giving the whole movement a bad name.
  • 27
    Graham Levett Surrey April 27, 2018 at 12:56pm
    In answer to number 18 post. common sense hopefully would prevail. That if you were going to buy a classic or any other vehicle for that matter and had no idea of what you were looking at surly you would get an engineers report as you would a survey when buying a house. As for MOT tests being a time served mechanic and worked on classics before they were classics, I know my Stag inside out and I believe better than most MOT testers of today as do many owners in the SOC club, but I do accept that there are owners that do not have the knowledge to care for their cars and I hope in all sincerity that they have the common sense to entrust their pride and joy to someone who does.
  • 28
    Hagerty UK May 01, 2018 at 6:44am
    Thank you sincerely for all the comments. We've updated the article to clarify a few points made, and are discussing the date of manufacture vs date of first registration, plus the NI situation, with the FBHVC. We'll publish an addendum when we know more.
  • 29
    Mike Appleyard Norfolk May 02, 2018 at 1:08pm
    I seem to recall that MOT certs are 'not a certificate of roadworthiness', or has this changed. I will not be wasting money on a useless MOT but someone who has no mechanical knowledge should take their car for one. I will record my annual and other services on my 1970 car so in event of an accident it can be seen to be well looked after. On my recent MOT for my Elise the mechanic said, 'I cant do a visual inspection because I cant see anything' It has a completely flat under body and most components are hidden! What use is that for safety?!!
  • 30
    George checker United Kingdom May 03, 2018 at 8:40am
    2nd question today regrading my 1972 stag.if I decided to carry on with MOT does this affect the road tax status?
  • 31
    David Matthews Newcastle upon Tyne May 04, 2018 at 5:10am
    You say the following : "we believe it is a good idea for owners to have their VHIs MOT tested on a regular basis". Could you please elaborate on what you class as Regular (annual, bi-annual?)
  • 32
    Mike Fenner Devon May 07, 2018 at 2:52am
    My 1931 Morris 5cwt Light Van has always been exempt from a MOT. How do these new rules affect it?
  • 33
    geoff barker hampshire May 11, 2018 at 3:54am
    NOWHERE ON FORM V112 PART 1 FROM PARTS a through to n has any mention of cars over 40 years old so how on earth are we supposed to use this exemption in it,s present format?
  • 34
    Dave Ray Dorset May 11, 2018 at 8:36am
    I have just tried to get the Form V112 from the DVLA web site and find it has not been updated to include cars registered before Jan 1978, it still shows the Category (o) 1960 date. with no other options that include exempt 1978 cars.
  • 35
    Tony east Isle of man May 16, 2018 at 12:38pm
    Thanks for keeping us up to date motor cycles are important to me
  • 36
    Gary salmon Essex May 20, 2018 at 5:12am
    I have a car 1974 the mot run out last week but the tax is not due till november what do i do in the meantime is it legal to use??
  • 37
    Colin Webb Southwest July 19, 2018 at 9:01am
    If a car has been declared vhi , and is insured and tax exempt ie over 40 years old, is it possible to get a registration number transferred to a newer vehicle?
  • 38
    Nick Cassell Michigan August 22, 2018 at 11:38am