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New MOT Legislation

MOT Test Changes being introduced 20 May 2018

MOT Test Changes being introduced 20 May 2018

The MOT test will change on 20 May 2018, with new defect types, stricter rules for diesel car emissions, and some vehicles over 40 years old becoming exempt.

The changes are being introduced as part of EU Directive 2014/45

The legal requirements

For a vehicle to be driven on Great Britain's roads there are 2 main legal safety requirements for the vehicle.

  1. It must be roadworthy and
  2. For most vehicles of a certain age, it must have a valid MOT

Whilst they're connected, they're not the same thing, and they both have to be met independently.

So, even if a vehicle is roadworthy, it may not necessarily have an MOT (it isn't automatic – it needs to go to a garage and get one!).

And similarly, just because a vehicle has an MOT, it doesn't automatically mean it's roadworthy. It may have a defect that has come about after the MOT.

MOT changes come in on 20 May 2018

After 20th May the MOT test will no longer be "pass" or "fail".

Instead, each fault found during the test will be categorised as either

  • Dangerous
  • Major
  • Minor

Major or Dangerous faults found during the test, are automatic fails.

A dangerous-graded fault means legally the vehicle cannot be driven on the roads without being repaired, this means a driver has to have that work completed there and then with the mechanic or have it recovered to another garage.

DVAS taken the opportunity to make the wording on the MOT failure documents clear in reminding motorists that driving a dangerous vehicle is illegal.

While it isn't an MOT Testers responsibility to try and physically stop customers from driving their vehicle, our testers will provide each customer with clear advice that they do have dangerous defects.

This all applies whether the vehicle has a current MOT or not. A dangerous vehicle should never be driven on the road.

Minor failures may still pass the test but all faults will be recorded on your car's MOT certificate and online record. Replacing the manual advisory given currently.


Item result What it means about the item MOT result
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. 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. Fail
Minor No significant effect on the safety of the vehicle or impact on the environment. Repair as soon as possible. Pass
Advisory It could become more serious in the future.
Monitor and repair it if necessary.
Pass It meets the minimum legal standard.
Make sure it continues to meet the standard.

Stricter rules for diesel car emissions

There will be stricter limits for emissions from diesel cars with a diesel particulate filter (DPF).

A DPF captures and stores exhaust soot to reduce emissions from diesel cars.

Your vehicle will get a major fault if the MOT tester:

  • can see smoke of any colour coming from the exhaust
  • finds evidence that the DPF has been tampered with
Stricter rules for diesel car emissions

Check your car's handbook if you don't know if your car has a DPF.

If you're not sure if it's been removed or tampered with our staff will be happy to assist, to check your car before an MOT.

Some new items will be tested during the MOT

They include checking:

  • if tyres are obviously underinflated
  • if the brake fluid has been contaminated
  • for fluid leaks posing an environmental risk
  • brake pad warning lights and if brake pads or discs are missing
  • Brake discs 'significantly" or "obviously worn"
  • Electric-mechanical 'fly by wire' steering systems
  • Noise suppression systems
  • reversing lights on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009
  • headlight washers on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009 (if they have them)
  • daytime running lights on vehicles first used from 1 March 2018 (most of these vehicles will have their first MOT in 2021 when they're 3 years old)

There will be other smaller changes to how some items are checked.
Our MOT Testers will tell you at the time of MOT.

The MOT certificate will change

Current and new MOT certificate design

The current MOT test certificate (left) will change to a new style (right) to list the new types of defects.

The design of the MOT certificate will change.

It will list any defects under the new categories, so they're clear and easy to understand.

The service to check the MOT history of a vehicle will be updated to reflect the changes.

Historic vehicles

Cars, vans, motorcycles and other light passenger vehicles won't need to have an MOT if they're over 40 years old and have not been substantially changed in the previous 30 years.

At the moment, only vehicles first built before 1960 are exempt from needing an MOT.

When the rules change on 20 May 2018, vehicles meeting the criteria won't need an MOT from the 40th anniversary of when they were registered.

If a car was first registered on 31 May 1978, it won't need an MOT from 31 May 2018.

What drivers will need to do?

Drivers won't have to apply to stop getting an MOT for their vehicle.

However, each time they tax their historic vehicle (even if they don't pay a fee), drivers will have to declare it meets the rules for not needing an MOT.

Drivers must still keep their vehicle in a roadworthy condition. They can be fined up to £2,500 and get 3 penalty points for using a vehicle in a dangerous condition.

About an MOT

An MOT is designed to check important parts on your vehicle to ensure your car meets the legal standards for safety and roadworthiness but does not cover the condition of engine, clutch or gearbox and cannot be used as a guarantee.

The maximum fees MOT centres can charge won't change, for cars (up to 8 seats) £54.85, you don't pay VAT on the fee.

In January 2018, the government decided to keep the age a vehicle needs its first MOT at 3 years, rather than extend it to 4 years.

You can get a free MOT reminder by text message or email a month before your MOT is due.

You can be fined up to £1,000 for driving a vehicle without a valid MOT.

Any questions or worries you can chat to Ian or Jack on the coming changes.

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