Modified motors could be banned from UK roads

Have you replaced your car’s bog-standard steel wheels with some aftermarket alloys? If so you may not be able to drive your car on UK roads in the future if a controversial EU ruling gets the go-ahead.

The EU wants to change the definition of a roadworthy vehicle, enforcing the rule that vehicles should not change from factory spec.

In other words, a car with alloy wheels, a tow bar or anything that was not fitted to a vehicle when it left the factory – such as a modern component – would fail its MOT.

To pass, owners would need to replace their personalised parts for factory-spec items – a costly and time-consuming process.

Leading retailer of car parts and enhancements Halfords has told Autoblog it’s on the side of the motorist though. Its Autocentres – specialists in MOTs and car servicing – backs up motorists’ rights to personalising their cars.

Halfords Autocentres chief executive Bill Duffy said: “Provided owners don’t compromise the safety or performance of their vehicle we would absolutely defend their right to stand out from the crowd.”

Chris Mason, managing director of Motor Codes, the government-backed, self-regulatory body for the motor industry, told Autoblog: “Nobody would dispute the need to keep a vehicle safe and roadworthy and the annual MOT test performs this vital function, alongside routine servicing. With the pace of innovation in the automotive industry, it would be a barrier to progress if an older car couldn’t be fitted with a modern component.”

The Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT) is also worried about the proposal. “SMMT and its members are reviewing in detail the European Commission’s Roadworthiness package, which is a complex proposal with far-reaching implications for European motorists,” chief executive Paul Everitt told Autoblog.

“In regard to MOT testing against relevant standards at the time of build, SMMT has particular concerns about the complexity of data gathering, sharing and application. There would also be challenges for older vehicles for which the supply of original parts has been discontinued.

“While we welcome ambitions to increase the safety of vehicles on Europe’s roads, we are keen to ensure this does not result in undue additional cost and administrative burden on businesses and consumers in the UK.”