When does a classic car need an MOT?
There are some circumstances in which your vehicle will still require an MOT check even if it’s over 40 years old. For example, if you haven’t declared it as a VHI, it will need an MOT test until it has been declared.
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An MOT test is a requirement if your vehicle has been substantially altered in the last 30 years. There are some exceptions to this regulation, which we’ve explained further below. Substantial changes include chassis or sub-frame replacements and adjustments to the type or method of suspension or steering. You may be unsure whether your vehicle has had such alterations. For example, they may have been made by a previous owner. In this case, you will still need to have the vehicle MOT tested until you can prove that it hasn’t had alterations. If your vehicle doesn’t contain its original engine, then an MOT check is required.
There are, however, some non-substantial changes that are acceptable if they were completed for good reason. These changes meet this criteria if:
- They were made to preserve a vehicle and no original parts were reasonably available
- They were made when the vehicle was in production or in general use (within ten years after the vehicle was no longer produced)
- They were made to improve efficiency or safety (applies to axles and running gear only)
Buses and other forms of public service transportation will require an MOT check, even when they’re past the 40-year boundary. Commercial vehicles that have more than eight seats will also require testing. This may include classic cars that are used at weddings. Other vehicles that still require an MOT include cars with a ‘Q’ prefix in the registration number, a kit car that’s assembled from different makes and models or a reconstructed classic vehicle. However, there are still exceptions to this rule. For example, if you have a kit car that hasn’t been changed in over 30 years and has been taxed as a VHI, then it will be exempt from an MOT.
Just because your classic car is older than 40 years, this doesn’t mean that you can’t have it MOT tested. It may not be a requirement, but if you’d prefer to know that your car is working well and safe to drive, you can still take it for a test if you would like to. It’s also advised that your vehicle has a full service every year to ensure that there isn’t anything seriously wrong with it that could cause danger to you or other drivers.