The MOT test is to change this autumn in line with the UK government’s latest safety crackdown. On top of all existing checks, the Department of Transport is to introduce what it calls an “additional assessment” regarding some of the tyres on certain types of vehicle. This will apply to England, Scotland and Wales only; Northern Ireland may see the assessment introduced at some time in the near future. The additional assessment is likely to catch out thousands of drivers and their employers in those three home nations, so read on to avoid being one of them.
Tighter tyre controls
The new additional MOT assessment relates to the front tyres on lorries, buses and coaches, plus all wheels on minibuses. Regardless of any other factors, these tyres must now be ten years old or newer. Even if tread, pressure, mileage and general wear are all up to roadworthiness standard, if the selected tyres are more than 10 years old, the vehicle will fail the entire MOT test, or vehicle examination for those not covered by the MOT itself.
There is also set to be new legislation introduced in the coming months regarding retreaded tyres. When retreading work is carried out, the company who does it will be required to make the date visible on the tyre wall. This means that, in future, MOT and other testers will be able to enforce possible future rules on retreading standards and tyre age.
About 10% of all MOT failures at present are due to tyre deficiencies. These do not currently cover actual age; therefore, it is assumed by testers that the new additional assessment is likely to push this figure higher. The emphasis on passenger vehicles in particular should be a warning to bus and coach operators, whose fleets may be particularly badly hit.
Many drivers at risk
However, it is not just fleet owners who are at risk of being caught out by the new rules. Because of their vital importance to road safety and roadworthiness, tyre checks carried out at the roadside are covered by special rules. Police can pull any driver over at any time and inspect their tyres. Already, if any single tyre is deemed to be dangerous, the driver can be issued with a £2,500 fine. That represents a possible £10,000 fine for the average vehicle.
Of course, until now, low mileage has meant tyres being less likely to fail such tests, including the MOT. However, for owners who keep their cars garaged and only drive them on special occasions, this will not now be the case. Age will now be as important as tread depth, which could lead to the fines mentioned, plus points on licenses, and even driving bans for the unwary.
Book your MOT now
To make sure your tyres are roadworthy, and receive advice on keeping them that way, book your MOT test as soon as possible. Check your expiry date, and use the online form to find the nearest testing centre with the most convenient slot for you.