How the changes affect you
The MOT test has changed in several ways.
There are some changes to the content of the MOT, although the basic essence the MOT is staying the same, there will be some changes to content.
There are also changes to the defect categories, that vehicles pass and fail for, and the documentation that we issue at the end of an MOT has changed to reflect that.
So there’s now three defect categories; dangerous, major and minor.
So for dangerous and major defects the vehicle will fail, for minor defects the vehicle won’t fail and of course, we’ll still be able to issue advisories for those components that aren’t yet defective but are wearing or on their way out.
As a tester we will need to pick the defect that matches the defect on the vehicle and that will be set out as to whether it is either dangerous, major or minor.
The MOT documentation has changed to reflect the new defect categories and also try and explain things much more clearly to motorists about what you need to do in your vehicle.
So if a vehicle fails the defects will be categorised on the failure documentation as dangerous, major or minor. If a vehicle passes any minor defects will also be shown on the pass certificate, together with any advisories.
Diesel cars will also have to meet strict new rules to pass their MoT: any car fitted with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) that emits “visible smoke of any colour” during metered tests will get a Major fault, and automatically fail its MoT.
New assessments will also be brought in for emission control equipment, meaning testers will inspect AdBlue systems for defects. All vehicles will be checked for "fluid leaks posing an environmental risk", while cars first used after March 2018 will have their daytime running lights and front fog lights inspected.
New checks on prop shafts, rear drive shafts, the security and condition of bumpers, and reversing lights will later be introduced on 20 May.
MoT testers are also being instructed to check to see if DPFs (Diesel Particulate Filters) have been removed or tampered with, and must refuse to test any car where the “DPF canister has clearly been cut open and re-welded” unless the owner can prove this was done “for legitimate reasons such as filter cleaning.” This last instruction clarifies outgoing MoT rules, which stipulate a car should be rejected only if its DPF is totally missing.
The DVSA's chief executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said: “I’d urge all motorists to familiarise themselves with the new items that will be included in the test so that they can avoid their vehicle failing its MOT. To be safe and responsible motorists should also carry out simple vehicle checks all year round.”
New MoT fault categories: Minor, Major and Dangerous
The new Minor, Major and Dangerous categories will be applied to all cars, and are being introduced to meet a new EU directive, dubbed the European Union Roadworthiness Package.
One example of the new criteria, set out in a draft DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) MoT guide, concerns steering: a steering box leaking oil would get a Minor fault; if the oil is leaking so badly as to be dripping, that would constitute a Major defect, causing the car to fail its MoT.
If the steering wheel itself, meanwhile, was so loose as to be “likely to become detached”, that would constitute a Dangerous failure, and the MoT certificate flag this up to the car’s owner with greater urgency. More explicit safety warnings would be included on certificates for cars with serious faults, with the Road Traffic Act and penalties for dangerous vehicles likely to be highlighted.
New MoT diesel emissions tests and other changes
Emissions testing will also get tougher, with changes that will, according to a Government blog on the subject: “lower the limits for diesel cars”. The draft MoT inspection manual for May’s changes explains that if the “exhaust on a vehicle fitted with a diesel particulate filter emits visible smoke of any colour” the car should be marked as having a Major defect, and fail its test.
Other changes to the MoT test include the addition of a check for reverse lights, while brake discs will be inspected to see if they are “significantly or obviously worn”, as well as taking in current checks for oil contamination of the disc, and how securely they are attached to the wheel hubs.