The MOT (Ministry Of Transport) was originally introduced in 1960 and is an annual test, for vehicles over three years old, that tests vehicle safety, roadworthiness and exhaust emissions. In Northern Ireland the same test applies for vehicles over four years old. For many years now the testing elements for the MOT hasn’t changed, until now….
As of the 20th May 2018, the way that the MOT test works in England, Scotland and Wales changed. The changes will affect cars, vans, motorcycles and other light passenger vehicles. There are 5 main changes that you should be aware of.
Fault will be categorised differently
Three new categories will be introduced to grade faults by their severity. These categories are ‘minor’, ‘major’ and ‘dangerous’. The category given to a fault will depend upon the type of problem and how serious the tester, according to the rules set out by the DVSA, perceives the problem to be.
‘Advisories’ will still be given if there is an element that could turn into a fault, but at the time of the test has passed.
You can finf out how The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency defines the new categories as by visiting the following link https://www.gov.uk/government/news/mot-changes-20-may-2018.
The above means that vehicles that get through their MOT 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.
It is also worth noting that, in the past, where as long as your car was deemed roadworthy, you could keep driving it even after it failed, provided your old MOT was still valid, this isn’t the case anymore. If your vehicle fails, you cannot put it back on the road until it passes.
The MOT certificate will look different
Although one of the more minor changes, the MOT certificate you receive will look different as it will clearly list any defects found during the MOT and note their category according to the list above. The service to check the MOT history of a vehicle will be updated to reflect the changes.
Some older vehicles won’t need an MOT
Currently, only vehicles built before 1960 do not require an MOT. When the new MOT rules come into force from the 20th May, vehicles will not require an MOT from the 40th anniversary of when they were first registered, providing that they haven’t been substantially changed or modified.
Some new elements will be added to the test
As part of the new look MOT, there will be some new elements that will now be tested, these include:
- Tyre inflation- if tyres are obviously underinflated this will be categorised under the above severity list
- Brake fluid- this will be checked for contamination
- Fluid leaks- fluids will be tested to see if they pose an environmental risk
- Brake pads- are the brake pad warning lights on or are the brake pads or discs missing?
- Reversing lights and headlight washers- these will be checked on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009
- Daytime running lights- these will be checked on vehicles first used from 1 March 2018
- Dashboard monitoring- this will get increasingly stricter. Any dashboard warning light will result in a fail
There will be stricter rules for diesel emissions
One of the biggest changes is the stricter rules that are being placed on diesel vehicles that have a diesel particulate filter (DPF).
A DPF is a device that is designed to remove diesel or soot from the exhaust gas of a diesel engine. Any diesel car that is fitted with a DPF and that is giving out visible smoke of any colour, will result in a fail as the fault will be categorised as ‘major’. Additionally, if the DPF looks like it has been tampered with or removed, the car will fail, again this will be categorised as a major fault. The reason for this is that some diesel drivers remove the DPF to boost performance and increase the amount of miles that they get per gallon. Although by doing this, the environment suffers more.
So, how can I make sure that my vehicle passes its MOT?
The simple answer to this is that with a vehicle, issues are always going to arise, that said, there are a number of checks you can do yourself, that would most probably result in a minor or advisory, before you take your vehicle in for its MOT.
Here are some other things you can do to try and prevent your vehicle failing its MOT:
- Keep an eye on your dashboard warning lights. If you get a warning light come on, deal with the problem immediately
- Keep an eye on your level of washer fluid- your vehicle can fail its MOT if enough fluid isn’t released by your washers in order to completely clear your screen
- Monitor your brake fluid- The Brake System warning light indicates that there is a problem with the brake hydraulic system. If the light comes on whilst driving, then brake fluid may be low. Changing your brake fluid every two years is an essential part of car maintenance
- Regularly check your tyre tread depth
- Make sure your oil is topped up
- Keep an eye on your brakes responsiveness