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With the new rules about MOT's for classic cars about to come into effect (20th May 2018) some people think they won't have to meet an MOT standard anymore.

Our position is why would you not want to?

An MOT pass is considered the minimum acceptable standard for a car to be roadworthy. We think that this will leave a lot of classic VW owners with unsafe vehicles because they have no bench mark to work too each year. Especially considering the number of vehicle with break failure we saw through 2017, it was only the MOT that picked up on the issue. Imagine that being the cause of an accident?

How many people think their car is perfectly safe only to find an issue at its annual test? This is even more important with classic cars as their safety and breaking systems are far more primitive then the vehicles of today.

The responsibility is and has always been for the owner to ensure the vehicle is roadworthy it will be no different for exempt vehicle but owners won't have the annual assurance of a test to check this out.

Therefore we suggest classic VW owners continue to submit their cars, voluntarily, to an MOT for peace of mind as a bare minimum.

What the guidance says

Although vehicles built over 40 years ago will be exempt from an annual inspection, the vehicle must still be road worthy and it is the vehicle keepers responsibility to ensure this is the case. Exempt vehicles can still be submitted voluntarily for inspection.

There are exceptions to this exemption. If a vehicle is deemed to have been substantially modified at any point in the previous 30 years then it must still submit to inspection every year. Such modifications include:

- Chassis Modifications (not pattern replacements of originals) - Suspension and running gear changes - alteration of method or type of suspension- Engine - Alternative capacities or numbers of cylinders and not considered an alternative to the original.

Some modifications are acceptable and will mean your vehicle can be MOT exempt, such as:

- Changes made to preserve the vehicle, when original type parts are not available- Changes to axles and running gear to improve safety and efficiency.- Changes made to vehicles that were previously commercial vehicles which can be demonstrated as being made while they were in commercial use.

How to declare a vehicle for the 40 year MOT exemption

Vehicle keepers are required to ensure that their vehicles are taxed when used on a public road. From 20th May 2018, at the point of taxing a vehicle, the vehicle keeper can declare their vehicle exempt from MOT if it was constructed more than 40 years ago.

When declaring an exemption, you will be required to confirm that it has not been substantially changed (as defined in this guidance). This process will be applied to pre-1960 registered vehicles, as well as newer vehicles in the historic vehicle tax class.

If the vehicle does not have an MOT and you wish to continue using it on the public roads, you will have either to undergo an MOT or, if you wish exemption from the MOT, to declare that the vehicle is a VHI (Vehicle of Historical Interest).

If the vehicle has a current MOT certificate but you anticipate that on expiry of that certificate you will wish exemption from future MOTs you will at the time of re-licensing be required to declare that the vehicle is a VHI.

The above is meant as guidance only and not exhaustive. Sussex Aircooled will not be held liable for the accuracy of the above information and suggest vehicle owners make their own inquiries if they are unsure.