Make sure your classic car is not caught out

You need to renew your "road tax" annually even for a VED exempt vehicle and if you have just bought a vehicle do note the existing road tax or SORN doesn't come with the vehicle when sold by the previous keeper. Following a purchase of a vehicle you will need to retax it before driving it on the public roads. Failure to observe these requirements could lead to a DVLA fine.

VED exemption process
See our flowchart. More

MOT exemption flowchart
See our flowchart. More



Posted: 180812 & Updated: 180813


Checking the VED and MOT status is easy

It's very easy to check the current road tax and MOT status for a vehicle by using the online service on the GOV.UK website - a report shows the current status. VES

Road tax exempt vehicle
Whilst you don't have to pay Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) for a vehicle with a tax class changed on the V5C to "Historic", you do have to ensure that you have either "taxed" the vehicle (at the NIL value rate) or declared it as off the road on a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) . A vehicle doesn't automatically become VED exempt when it reaches 40 years old, you need to apply for this at a Post Office that deals with vehicle tax matters. You also need to renew your "road tax" annually even for a VED exempt vehicle and if you have just bought a vehicle do note the existing road tax or SORN doesn't come with the vehicle when sold by the previous keeper. Following a purchase of a vehicle you will need to retax it before driving it on the public roads. Failure to observe these requirements could lead to a DVLA fine.

MOT exempt vehicle
This exemption is available to any vehicle which qualifies as a Vehicle of Historic Interest (VHI): essentially it was manufactured or registered for the first time at least 40 years previously, is of a type no longer in production, has been historically preserved or maintained in its original state and has not undergone substantial changes in the technical characteristics of its main components in the last 30 years. The responsibility for declaring a vehicle as MOT exempt will rest entirely with the keeper of the vehicle as a self declaration and will need to be made every time the vehicle is taxed, as the DVLA will keep no record of the declaration. That declaration on Form V112 can only be made on retaxing a vehicle. See our MOT exemption flowchart. More

Extraordinary development with MOT exemption
It was revealed in a news item released by the FBHVC on 28th June 2018 that it had "discovered the implementation of the EU Roadworthiness Directive on 20th May 2018 continues to raise many questions for its members and for that reason it has decided to take an exceptional step of publishing an Addendum to the various articles they have published so far. The addendum to their last FBHVC Newsletter (Issue 3 2018) was made when it became clear to the FBHVC that the agencies responsible for managing the MOT exemption changes have decided that it would be impracticable to introduce these changes following precisely what had previously been set out. They are therefore effectively assuming that all 40 year old vehicles are exempt up to the time when their licence becomes due for renewal. The advice given here describes the process as it has now been clarified by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) which manages the exemption process on behalf of DfT". It's likely we may see a further update soon in a further FBHVC NEWS item. Any FBHVC update will be posted on our MOT exemption webpage. Update

Voluntary MOT test or similar test
Whether or not your vehicle is MOT
exempt it must be in a roadworthy condition and you may wish to have a voluntarily MOT test or similar test anyway. Many classic car magazines advise having a voluntary test and if you ask classic car servicing specialists what they feel many will respond recalling some worrying conditions they have seen when checking vehicles for general servicing or prior to an MOT test. So with the legal duty a registered keeper has of maintaining their vehicle in a roadworthy condition, which is usually a condition of most motor insurance policies too, it makes a great deal of sense to have a voluntary test. Some critics of this advice say an MOT test or similar inspection is only good for the day of the test. Many classic car enthusiasts will feel that is true but equally relevant is it is a useful annual discipline for most owners (many of whom are not skilled or experienced in undertaking substantial work and vehicle inspections which could include safety checks) and together with their prudent owner maintenance checks and periodic servicing by a specialist it does contribute to spotting safety concerns as early as possible. Sadly in a few cases critics of voluntary testing resort to dismissive comments. So let's encourage test and be safer.

Concerns with voluntary testing
Where a keeper of a classic car which has been declared MOT exempt feels it is wise to continue having a voluntary test it's worth considering whether that test should be an MOT test or a similar test or inspection.

> Voluntary MOT test. If your MOT exempt classic car fails a voluntary MOT test the failure certificate will list the fail issues and the MOT failure will be recorded on the MOT database. But you can take your car away if your current MOT is still valid and if there are no "dangerous" problems listed in the MOT test report. You will need to get the fail issues repaired and the car submitted again for a retest. You can be fined up to £2,500, be banned from driving and get three penalty points for driving a vehicle that has failed its MOT because of a "dangerous" problem. A possible benefit of continuing to have annual MOT tests is the official GOV.UK MOT records will show the MOT history which may be seen as a valuable part of the car's history by potential buyers should the car be offered for sale.

> Voluntary test or inspection. If a voluntary test (similar to an MOT test) or a vehicle inspection of an MOT exempt car reveals concerns that would have resulted in an MOT failure had the test been an MOT test, then the reasons for the failure will not be recorded on the formal MOT database and the vehicle can be driven away. Prudently the owner will need to reflect on the report received from the vehicle tester as to the nature of the issues revealed in the test or inspection and then make arrangements to have them repaired or remedied. Until they have been dealt with the owner will need to consider very carefully whether the car is in a roadworthy condition, and if it is not, then not driving the car until the car is taken for a further test or inspection to check whether the car is roadworthy would be wise.