What changes are being made to the MOT test?

From 20th May 2018, changes to the MOT test by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will come into effect, affecting vehicles in England, Scotland and Wales.

What’s changing?

In line with the introduction of the EU roadworthiness directive on 20th May, which is a broad collection of rules around the road condition of vehicles, several changes are being made to make vehicles safer on the road, and cut back on emissions that harm the environment.

The main change is how faults detected during an MOT test are categorised. From 20th May, they will be defined as follows:

  • Dangerous: A dangerous defect would signify an express, immediate risk to the vehicle and other road users or the environment, for example a loose steering wheel. Should your vehicle have any faults that fall under the dangerous category, it will automatically fail its MOT test and be illegal to drive on public roads
  • Major: A major fault could compromise the road safety of the vehicle, such as a windscreen with obstructed visibility, or have an impact on the environment. Again, any major defects will mean the vehicle automatically fails its MOT test
  • Minor: A minor error wouldn't be considered to have a significant effect on the vehicle's safety or the environment, for example an oil leak (unless it was dripping, in which case it would be moved up to a major). While any minor issues would need to be fixed in due course, an MOT certificate would still be given

Plus, if testers were to find any of the following issues with your vehicle, the test will also result in an automatic failure:

  • Brake discs that are significantly worn or contaminated by oil
  • Broken/blown reversing lights on vehicles first used from 1st September 2009
  • A heavily leaking steering box
Woman driving

What if I have a diesel vehicle?

In a bid to clean up our roads and help the environment, diesel vehicles will face more rigorous testing from 20th May.

Currently, MOT testers must check for the presence of a diesel particulate filter (DPF) – removal or tampering of this, for cost or performance reasons, is not tolerated. However, testers do not currently have to check that a DPF is working correctly.

Once the new rules come into force, not only must a diesel vehicle have a DPF, but it must also be functioning as it should, and not emitting any visible smoke. If smoke of any kind can be seen, a major fault will be issued, and the vehicle will automatically fail its MOT.

What if I have an older vehicle?

If your vehicle is over 40 years old, it will be exempt from having an MOT test from 20th May.

The Department for Transport have said that the following considerations factored into this decision:

  • Vehicles of this nature are used infrequently and are well-maintained
  • The current-day MOT test is no longer fit for purpose for cars over 40 years old

This will affect just under 500,000 vehicles in the UK.

What are some common MOT test fails?

According to gov.uk, almost 50% of all faults found during MOT tests could be avoided by carrying out some simple vehicle maintenance at home.

At Swinton, we always encourage that you keep your car in good shape, to give you confidence while out on the road and help you avoid any issues when it comes to MOT time.

Here are some simple tasks you can do yourself:

  • Check your lights are working, and replace any broken ones
  • Check your tyre pressure and your tyre treads – our quick video will show you how to do this
  • Test your brakes, and contact a professional immediately if anything seems off
  • Check your windscreen for any cracks, and test that your wipers are working correctly

Find out more car maintenance tips in our Tips From the Trades guides.


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