Classic Car MOT Exemptions

There is nothing better than appreciating the beauty of older vehicles and enjoying all the classic car designs we’ve been treated to over the decades. There is, however, another benefit to owning a classic car: exemption from MOT.

Back in 2018, the laws surrounding MOTs for vehicles over 40 years old in the UK changed. The thinking behind this move is that classic cars are already well maintained and that many of the rules for modern cars may not be applicable to older cars or ‘Vehicles of Historical Interest’.

You might be thinking “my car is 40 years old” and you may be right, with popular models such as Volkswagen Golf GTI MK1, Rover Vitesse and Volvo 240 Estate having been around for decades. Some of these popular models may now have ticked over into MOT exempt status, but there are some things to consider before throwing the annual MOT out of your calendar events.

A row of morris minors - typical classic car MOT exemptions

Is it easy to declare that my classic car is MOT exempt?

So you’re ready to declare your vehicle exempt from MOTs? You’ll need to fill out a V112 ‘Declaration of exemption from MOT’ form, but you may also want to declare the vehicle as a Vehicle of Historic Interest at the Post Office for tax purposes if it meets the criteria. That’s it – but if you’re planning on doing this, please see our advice further down about how to maintain your classic car.

You’ll need to be sure that your vehicle has not been substantially changed in the last 30 years, however. This includes:

  • Chassis or monocoque bodyshell replacements
  • Axle and running gear alterations
  • Engine changes

Full guidelines on what is deemed a substantial change can be found here. It’s worth noting that large vehicle goods, even if over 40 years of age, will still be required to undergo an MOT.

Classic red mini parked next to a lake

My car has a Q-registration plate, what should I do?

A Q plate usually indicates that a vehicle is a kit car – or that it has been radically altered in some way. The DVLA website has more information about getting Q plates for your vehicle if it meets the criteria.

MOTs are still a requirement for kit cars and Q-plate vehicles, but if you’ve got your vehicle registered for tax as a Vehicle of Historic Interest, and it hasn’t been altered in the last 30 years, it would also fall into the exempt bracket.

I have declared that my car is a VHI – what maintenance do I need to do?

Since Vehicles of Historic Interest – often classic cars – are usually well maintained through a passion for vehicles and often are only used for very short hops, an MOT is not ordinarily required. However, it’s still recommended that you have your vehicle serviced annually to assess any issues which may come up.

It’s important to make sure that your classic car stays roadworthy if you plan to use it – no matter how briefly – out on the roads. Key checks include your tyres, windscreen and the vital fluids.

So, there are more reasons than ever to throw yourself into your passion if you’ve got a keen eye for those classic models or if you yearn for a car from way-back-when. Get nostalgic and have it checked out annually here at Auto Exhaust & Tyres – we’re always happy to provide car servicing for modern as well as classic models. Contact our professional team in Lincoln today to book your appointment.