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Friday, 11 September 2015

The MoT changes are encouraging a generation of careless motorists

GEORGE OSBORNE has some great news if you're thinking of buying a new car. What used to be a three-year period of grace away from the MoT testers is now four years.

Just think – buy a new Nissan Note tomorrow and it'll long after England have narrowly lost out at a penalty shootout somewhere near Moscow that you’ll have to check your car’s roadworthiness.

Naturally, the Government’s line is that it’ll save you somewhere in the region of £50 and is therefore good for the economy, but look between the motoring world’s faultlines and you’ll find plenty of people who aren’t exactly over the moon at the announcement.

I punted the proposals at a group of motorists who tend to take the MoT quite seriously – classic car owners – and they gave the idea of brand new cars spending an extra year on the roads with no legally binding checks a distinctly cool reception.

The main thing that got the Triumph Spitfire fans into a lather was the idea of cars having an extra 12 months to wear out their tyres while doing a million miles an hour on the outside lane of the M62. While some of them proposed basing the test around mileage instead, another one put it simply by saying: ‘My MoT tester fails more three-year-old cars than anything else. Sometimes with a list of faults so long it won't fit on the page.’

For me, the problem isn’t with your car – it’s with all those people who neither know nor care about what makes their set of wheels roadworthy. I’ve lost count of the number of two-year-old cars that have lights that don’t work, bits hanging off them and light accident damage that clearly hasn’t been repaired. Normally, it’s down to the police to reel ‘em in for not being roadworthy – and we all know that force budgets have been slashed in another move endorsed by Cameron’s Britain.

The nightmare scenario – and I hope it never comes to this – is a generation of cars maintained on the cheap with all sorts of nasty niggles not being unearthed by MoT testers. You – if you’re reading this column and therefore like cars – get it. The ones I worry about are people who don’t realise their Fiesta is handling like a 1950s Wolseley because it’s got bald tyres and think a cambelt is a garment they’ve seen the PM’s wife wearing in the Mail on Sunday. The sort of people who check their oil about as regularly as they write Christmas cards.

It’s these people you see driving nearly new cars that look and sound like escapees from an episode of Only Fools and Horses. Sorry George, but you’ve let them off the hook for another year.

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