New MOT changes

The Ministry of Transport test (MOT to most of us) has been the same for quite some time but there will be some changes this month which are likely to cause concern for some drivers. To make sure you’re not caught out, we’ve put together this quick article explaining what’s changed, and how it may affect you.

The Changes

From this month, 293,000 cars in Britain will be exempt from having an MOT test. Under new plans, cars that are over 40 years old won’t have to take the annual road safety test. This means around 1.5% of cars in Britain will not have an MOT certificate but will be road legal.

The Department for Transport defended the decision from suggestions it was an unsafe move, by saying owners of older cars usually keep them in the good condition and don’t use them regularly enough for an MOT test to be necessary. Other changes include vehicles needing to be put through tougher emissions tests and faults rated in three defect categories – Dangerous, Major and Minor.

Cars with Minor defects will be allowed to pass and the faults will be recorded, but those that fall into the Dangerous category will be subject to an automatic fail. Vehicles with diesel engines will also face a tougher test.  Any car that has been fitted with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) that give out “visible smoke of any colour” during tests will get a Major fault and automatically fail. And any vehicle that has a DPF that looks as if it’s been removed or tampered with will not pass, unless it can be proved it has been done so for filter cleaning. Other emission control systems, such as AdBlue, will be inspected for defects.

Steering will also be looked at. A steering box leaking oil would get a Minor fault but if the oil was dripping badly it would be pushed up to Major and fail. Reverse lights will also be checked, as well as daytime running lights and fog lights for vehicles first used after March 2018. Brake systems are also been subjected to a more thorough inspection, with brake discs checked to see if they are “significantly or obviously worn”.

You aren’t allowed to drive without a valid MoT, with fines of up to £1,000 if you’re caught. However, you’re are allowed to drive your car when its MOT has expired if you’ve booked an MOT and are driving to the test centre, or a driving to and from a booked in repair, presuming the reason for failure was not deemed “dangerous”. If you’re stopped by the police on the way, you’ll have to be able to prove that you have an appointment, or you may be fined.


The new categories

Overall, cars that have had faults found with them will be placed in one of these categories:

  • Dangerous – A direct and immediate risk to road safety or has a serious impact on the environment. Do not drive the vehicle until it’s been repaired. Result: Immediate fail
  • Major –  It may affect the vehicle’s safety, put other road users at risk or have an impact on the environment. Repair it immediately. Result: Immediate fail
  • Minor – No significant effect on the safety of the vehicle or impact on the environment. Repair as soon as possible. Result: Pass
  • Advisory – It could become more serious in the future. Monitor and repair it if necessary. Result: Pass
  • Pass – It meets the minimum legal standard. Make sure it continues to meet the standard. Result: Pass

Minor defects need to be identified and recorded and the car owner will be advised to have them repaired, but you still pass. Any dangerous faults receive an automatic fail. MOT results are uploaded and stored centrally, so any “dangerous” faults go on the database straight away. And the offence of driving with a dangerous vehicle applies whether you have a valid MOT or not. Which means, if your car does fail its MOT with a “dangerous” fault, you really don’t have any choice but to leave it there until it’s fixed now – no matter how early you book in your test.

Want to book your car in for a health check or MOT? Just fill out our service and MOT enquiry form on our website.  Or get in touch with one of our aftersales centres.  They’re located in Byfleet, Bookham and Orpington.

If you have any further questions regarding the changes to MOT’s, don’t hesitate to ask us on our socials! we are @twwhiteandsons on Twitter and Facebook. If you want any tips on the maintenance of your car, especially before an MOT check out our other posts on our blog!