Does my Classic Car need Tax and MOT?

For the vast majority of drivers on the roads, what they want is something they know will be getting them from A to B in the quickest, safest and most efficient way, which commonly means you need the newest car available with all the bells and whistles. For some, the idea of getting in a car without heating seats, complete connectivity from their in-built infotainment systems or even power steering sounds like hell, but for avid petrolheads, it’s the exact opposite they’re after.

There’s something special about getting into a car that predates not only you, but also your parents. These cars didn’t have the fancy modern technology at their fingertips, and nor did they have the luxurious comfort that’s often seen in even the most basic of new cars in the 21st century. However, what they lacked, they made up for in character, which is why you find so many of them dotted around the country, and why classic car meets are so popular.

So, what are the rules and regulations when it comes to classic cars, MOTs and road tax? Let Scrap Car Comparison guide you through everything you need to know, and if you’re looking to get into the classic car game but need to sell your tired, boring old banger first and have reached a brick wall, then we’re here to make that process all the more simple. With buyers all around the country waiting to get their hands on old cars in any condition, we can guarantee you the very best price for yours, in no time at all, so why not get started today and find out just how much you could make?

A classic car driving down a country lane

Do classic cars need an MOT?

One of the first things that may raise your eyebrows is the difficulty it may take in getting a classic car to pass an MOT test. If your nine-year-old Fiesta is struggling to pass its test, then how on earth is a 50-year-old Cortina going to get through one. Well, for starters you’ll likely find that classic cars are often much better looked after in general than a more contemporary budget model, but that aside, and to put it bluntly, they don’t need one.

Cars built 40 years ago or older are exempt from having to go through the rigours of an MOT, providing they have had no ‘substantial changes’ in the past 30 years, such as to the chassis, body, axles or complete overhauls of how the engine operates. Don’t think you can just start to ignore MOT reminders after your car’s 40th birthday, however. Before a car is MOT exempt it will need to be declared as a Vehicle of Historic Interest (VHI), which can be done at the Post Office (which we’ll go into further detail later).

Why are classic cars MOT exempt?

As alluded to earlier in this article, generally speaking, classic cars are much more looked after than a modern car, meaning they’re unlikely to fall into disrepair or have the regular niggling issues that would be swept up by a regular MOT test. While you may think this is a bit of an oversimplification and there must be some specific reason from the Department for Transport (DfT) as to why a classic car doesn’t require an MOT – the truth is… there isn’t; it’s literally the reason why. As the DfT states, classic cars are ‘usually maintained in good condition and used on few occasions’. The ruling, which came into force in 2018, was backed up by figures which suggested that cars of that age had a significantly lower failure rate than younger, newer cars.

Are classic cars tax exempt?

Not only do classic cars not require an MOT test, but once they reach 40 years old they are also no longer required to have the Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) paid for them. In simpler words, yes, they are exempt from paying road tax. The reason why classic cars don’t have to pay road tax is because, most of the time, a classic car is not the owner’s daily driver and is instead only brought out on special occasions, or if it’s sunny (which in the UK can feel like a special occasion in its own right). 

If you don’t own a classic and think it’s unfair that there is no tax on classic cars, well, just think that if the exemption wasn’t in place, it could well see the end of the classic car hobby for anyone other than the mega-rich. The classic car industry is worth, according to the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC), an astonishing £18.3bn to the UK economy each year, and if the exemption was to not be in place, then that industry would take a massive hit.

How to apply for classic car tax exemption

Cars don’t automatically fall into the exemption the moment they turn 40 – which, by the way, is a rolling 40 year boundary meaning if your car was built in 1982 then it is exempt from 2022 onwards – and there is a little bit of paperwork needed to be completed first.

You’ll need to head to your nearest post office that deals with vehicle tax, taking with you the V5C log book (which must be in your name), the V11 vehicle tax reminder if you have one, a valid MOT certificate or V112 form. The post office will then send off your log book to the DVLA and you should receive confirmation the change has been made within 10 working days. Your log book, now updated to reflect the exemption, will then be sent back to you within four weeks.

When does a car become a classic for insurance?

When it comes around to insuring your classic car, you might wonder just when it fits the description of being a classic. Anything over the age of 40 is incredibly easy to identify as it will fit into one of the five age-defined categories:

  • Veteran – pre-1904
  • Vintage – 1905-1930
  • Edwardian – can be a subdivision of the above categories, consisting of 1901-1910
  • Post-Vintage – 1931-1945
  • Historic – 40 years and older

Where things begin to get murky is when a car is under the age of 40. Different insurers have different rules when it comes to what classes as a classic. For some, they’ll go based on specific makes and models of cars, whereas others operate a 15 or 25-year cut off point. The simplest option is to discuss with your insurer, or even look into going with a specialist classic car insurer.

If your car may be on the verge of giving up and is still quite a long way away from that 40 year mark where you no longer need to worry about an MOT test, it may be quicker and easier for you to scrap it or sell it as salvage through Scrap Car Comparison. As well as being much more convenient, it is also the easiest way to ensure you’re getting the very best price for your car. Get started today by speaking to one of our friendly advisors on 03333 44 55 90 or use our online quote generator and find out just how much your old car could be worth.

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