If you live in the UK and own a car that’s over three years old then it is more than likely to be one of the 30 million that goes through an annual MOT test to ensure it is in roadworthy condition. But did you know that on May 20 2018 the rules surrounding the UK’s MOT test are changing?
In this guide we explain what the differences will be. It’s worth paying attention, for not only is driving a car without a valid MOT potentially unsafe, but it can also net you a fine of up to £1000.
WHAT IS THE MOT TEST
First let’s go back-to-basics with a reminder of what the MOT test is and why it exists. MOT stands for Ministry of Transport, which is now known as the Department for Transport (DfT) and is responsible for the UK’s road network along with its executive agency, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). This includes ensuring all cars comply with safety and emissions standards, which are assessed on an annual basis in an MOT test.
These tests are conducted from when the car is three years old. It is the car owner’s responsibility to take the car to an MOT test station at the relevant time and pay for an assessor to ensure it meets the current standards. You can put your car in for its MOT test up to a month before the current MOT is due to expire without altering the expiry date of the new certificate. The cost of the test is capped at £54.85 for a car or £29.65 for a motorcycle, although many garages run discounts to entice you to use them.
ONLINE MOT RECORDS
These days MOT test certificates are stored online so anybody can see how well a particular car has fared over the years. This can be a useful tool for used car buyers as it lists not only if a car has failed but also why, as well as any advisory notes of work that needed doing. As such, by examining a car’s MOT record it is possible to build a picture of how well it has been cared for.
From May 20 2018 the MOT certificate will alter in format to reflect the changes detailed below.
WHAT ARE THE CHANGES FOR 2018?
One of the biggest changes for 2018 is more scrutiny on the emissions of diesel cars fitted with a diesel particulate filter. In simple terms, if such a car has smoke coming from the exhaust or if the DPF has been removed or tampered with then the car will fail its MOT.
Additionally, while a car will ultimately still either pass or fail its MOT, there are also different grades to consider. For example, in addition to a straight pass there is a new rating in the form of a “pass with defects”. This means the car is still granted a new MOT but that any work requiring remedial action be listed on the MOT certificate in one of the following two categories:
- Minor: Minor faults don’t have a significant impact on the safety of the vehicle or its environment but should be repaired as soon as possible. A car with a minor fault will still pass its MOT.
- Advisory: These detail any issues a customer should monitor with a view to addressing if they persist or worsen in the future. A car with an advisory warning will still pass its MOT.
Fail ratings are now classified in more detail too, with faults described as follows:
- Major: A major fault is one that is deemed to put other road users or the environment at risk. A car with a major fault, including smoke from a DPF-equipped diesel, will automatically fail its MOT.
- Dangerous: Any car with a defect marked as dangerous (that is, a direct and immediate risk), should not be driven until the fault has been rectified. Any driver caught doing so could be fined or receive points on their licence. A car with a dangerous fault will automatically fail its MOT.
Although smaller in scale, the following changes have also been introduced for the 2018 MOT test:
- Checking if the tyres are obviously underinflated.
- Assessing the brake fluid for contamination, brake discs and pads, and brake warning lights.
- Looking for fluid leaks that could harm the environment.
- Checking reversing lights and (if applicable) headlights washers on vehicles registered after September 2009.
- Checking daytime running lights and front fog lights on vehicles registered after March 2018.
CARS OVER 40 YEARS OLD
If a car, van or motorcycle is over 40 years old and hasn’t been substantially modified then it no longer requires an MOT. This replaces the previous rule that stated only cars registered before 1960 didn’t need to go through an MOT test. If you own a vehicle fitting this description you don’t need to apply for MOT exemption. Instead you declare it meets the relevant requirements when you tax the car (even if you aren’t required to pay a VED fee).
FREE MOT REMINDER
Since November 2017 more than 600,000 motorists have signed up to the DVSA’s free MOT reminder service. You can do this by visiting the MOT reminder web page and entering your car’s details and your contact information.
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