Most drivers want the MoT test to stick to its current format, with the first test taking place when the car is three years old, research ahead of government plans to change it to four suggests.
Currently, all cars in the UK must undergo an MoT test when they reach three years old, and then every year thereafter.
However, the government wants to change this to four years, a move it says would save motorists £100 million a year.
But a poll of motorists by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) found that 76 per cent of car owners want the government to abandon its plans.
83 per cent said the typical £45 MoT test fee is worth the peace-of-mind that their motor is safe, roadworthy and legal.
The SMMT said that currently, 17 per cent of all cars taking their first MoT test at three years fail to meet minimum safety standards. The body argues that delaying the first test by a further year could result in nearly half a million more cars in unfit condition driving “freely and unchecked” on the UK’s roads.
This is a view supported by many motorists, with 68 per cent saying they were concerned that delaying the car’s first MoT could put themselves and other road users in danger.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The MoT is an essential check on the safety and roadworthiness of vehicles.
“Extending the first test for cars from three to four years is not what consumers or industry want given the serious risk posed to road safety and vehicles’ environmental performance.”
The government’s proposal on the changes suggests that new car technology, like tyre pressure monitoring systems, lane departure warning and wet weather tyre performance is making cars safer.
But the SMMT said while these technologies could help prevent or mitigate accidents, they “do not change” the operation of ‘wear and tear’ products like tyres and brakes, which will always need regular checks and maintenance.
The body said common reasons for cars currently failing the test include these wear and tear parts, including lights, indicators, tyres, brakes and suspension.
“The MoT is a critical intervention that ensures worn components are replaced before the car is allowed back onto the road,” the organisation said.
Mr Hawes added: “We urge government to scrap its plans to change a test system that has played a vital role in making the UK’s roads among the safest in the world.”