The annual road worthiness test for vehicles is having a major overhaul this month, and it could mean it’s more difficult to pass. Here’s a look at the five main changes and some tips on how to keep your vehicle on the road…
The MOT test was first introduced in 1960 under the direction of Ernest Marples the Minister of Transport. Originally a basic check of brakes, lights and steering, the annual test was only required for vehicles over 10 years old.
The high level of failures mean that over time, the threshold for roadworthiness and the age requirement for cars have changed, and up until this month most vehicles over three years old are required to have a valid MOT certificate.
From 20th May, and for the first time in years, changes are happening. These include the introduction of categories, exemptions for older vehicles and stricter rules for diesel car emissions.
Neil Barlow, Head of MOT policy for the Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency, told Auto Express that the new categories will “help motorists do the right thing – i.e. not drive away from a garage”.
He adds: “We’ve done a lot of research with motorists to find out what sort of information helps.”
If a testing centre picks up problems with a vehicle, they will be categorised as either dangerous, major or minor. The category will depend on the type of defect and how serious it is.
Dangerous and major issues will result in an immediate fail, whereas you could still pass if there are minor problems detected.
The tester may also record your car or bike under the “advisory” category if there are any issues that you need to monitor. A vehicle will only receive a complete pass if there are no issues at all to note.
The categories are…
MOT test centres will have a new list of things to check as part of the annual checks, and failing these could result in your car being considered unroadworthy.
You can do some of these checks yourself, and it’s worth giving your vehicle an “at home” MOT before taking it in for testing.
These checks include:
Vehicles first used from 1st March 2018 are also required to have fully-functioning daytime running lights. However, most of these vehicles aren’t required to have their first MOT until 2021 when they’re three years old so the rules won’t immediately come into effect.
Limits for emissions from diesel cars will be made stricter from 20th May 2018.
Cars with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) – which captures and stores exhaust soot to reduce emissions – will be scrutinised and this could result in your vehicle failing the MOT.
If the MOT tester detects smoke of any colour coming from the exhaust, or finds evidence that the DPF has been tampered with, then your vehicle will be categorised as have a major defect and will fail the test.
When you pass or fail your MOT you’re issued with a certificate by the test centre. These details are also recorded online so that prospective buyers and interested parties can check on a vehicle’s MOT history.
A new certificate will come into force with the new rules, and will list any defects under the new categories, making them clear and easy to understand.
The service to check the MOT history of a vehicle will be updated to reflect the changes.
Cars, vans, motorcycles and other light passenger vehicles that have celebrated their will no longer be required to have an annual MOT test.
The exemption will work on a rolling basis. For instance, if a car was first registered on 31st May 1978, it won’t need an MOT from 31st May 2018.
You can be fined up to £1,000 for failing to keep your car’s MOT up to date. To avoid other penalties and points, check out our guide on 2018 motoring law changes…