MOT changes – what they are and how you’ll be affected

The changes go into effect on 20 May

We all know that our vehicles must pass an MOT test in order to remain on the roads lawfully. Introduced in 1960, the MOT test has rigorous standards to determine roadworthiness and vehicle safety as well as exhaust emissions.

As of May 20, 2018, these standards are expanding yet again.

What’s changing?

For cars, motorcycles, vans, and light passenger vehicles, there are five key areas that are changing:

  • Defects
  • Diesel Car Emissions
  • New Checks
  • MOT Certificates
  • Old Vehicle Exemptions

How will you be affected?

There are three areas to label defects: dangerous, major, and minor. Dangerous is a direct and immediate risk and will result in a failed MOT. Likewise, a major defect is one that puts you or other road users at risk and will also result in a failed MOT. Minor defects don’t have a significant effect on safety and will still pass an MOT test, but you should repair it as soon as possible. These new categories are in addition to advisory, where the MOT tester alerts you to possible issues, and pass, which means that the category meets the legal standard.

Diesel Car Emissions
The new MOT tests involve stricter emission limits for diesel cars with a diesel particulate filter (DPF), which catches exhaust soot to help minimise emissions. You can check your vehicle handbook to determine if your car has a DPF. If it has one, your vehicle must not emit smoke of any colour nor show signs of tampering. If either are detected by the MOT tester, your vehicle will receive a major defect and fail the MOT.

New Checks
A variety of new checks will be implemented including:

  • Underinflated tyres
  • Contaminated brake fluid
  • Fluid leaks with environmental risks
  • Brake pad warning lights / missing brake pads
  • Reversing lights (vehicles registered from 1 September 2009)
  • Headlight washers (vehicles registered from 1 September 2009)
  • Daytime running lights (vehicles registered from 1 March 2018)

MOT Certificates
Along with these changes, the MOT certification is also changing in design for better clarity. You’ll see defects along with their category to know what you need to fix, if anything. In addition, defects and MOT test details are listed in bullets to make it easier to understand. The MOT history website will also update according to these changes.

Old Vehicle Exemptions
Currently, vehicles built prior to 1960 are MOT-exempt. This is changing to just 40 years. However, if a vehicle is over 40 years old and has been substantially changed, an MOT test may still be required. Keep in mind that the 40 years is from the original registration date, which you can check online. An application isn’t required. Instead, when you tax your vehicle, you must declare that it’s exempt.

How much is an MOT?

Luckily, the maximum fees for an MOT are staying the same. The most you’ll pay for a car is £54.85 while a motorcycle tops out at £29.65.

Staying road-safe

MOT tests are required once a vehicle is three years old and you should renew it annually. You can even receive automatic MOT reminders right to your mobile device. MOT certificates are valid for 12 months and you can renew up to a month before your current MOT certificate expires. In addition, there is no grace period for MOT renewals. And, if you’re caught driving a vehicle without a valid MOT certificate, you’ll be fined £1,000.

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