As of the 20th May 2018, a few new changes are being introduced to the current annual MOT test. If you are a vehicle owner, it is crucial to make yourself aware of the new MOT test changes, as there are many prime culprits for a failure that can easily be avoided in advance through basic maintenance.
How Will The New MOT Test Changes Affect Me?
As a driver, booking in for your annual MOT is a legal requirement if your vehicle is three years or older. Being caught driving without an MOT, depending on the condition of your car, could leave you with up to a £2,500 fine and 3 points on your licence. If you’re not too sure on the laws regarding MOT’s, then we suggest taking a look at our ‘Driving without an MOT – Is it illegal?‘ page.
Even if your vehicle has recently passed its MOT, it doesn’t mean that the changes do not apply to you as they will continue to be in effect next year. Mechanics will be required to perform a considerably stricter and more in-depth analysis of your vehicle, but not to worry, this doesn’t mean that they will charge more. The maximum fee MOT testing centres can charge will remain the same, thankfully, no increase will come alongside the changes.
If you are a petrol powered vehicle owner, there will be less of a dramatic difference in testing for you; the main focus will switch to diesel cars. Environmental impact is a massive factor which is increasing in importance when taking into consideration the condition of a vehicle. The way in which mechanics will categorise faults will also be slightly altered, keep reading for full details on all aspects of the changes.
How Will Faults Be Categorised?
Any faults highlighted in your MOT test will now be classified as one of three different categories – minor, major or dangerous.
You will receive an automatic fail if a vehicle fault is to fall under the major or dangerous category. A dangerous fault indicates that under no circumstances should you attempt to drive your car until the fault is fully repaired and signed off by a mechanic because it will put you at definite risk. Driving with a major fault means you may be at risk and should arrange repairs immediately.
The most common type of fault will be a minor, which means that the issue with your vehicle is unlikely to put you at risk, but you should arrange repairs as soon as possible. You will not fail if a fault falls into the minor category.
If no faults are highlighted in your MOT, your vehicle will fall into either the advisory or pass category. An advisory means that there are no real issues, but your mechanic has been able to pinpoint a couple of things that you must keep an eye out. They are not causing any problems now, but may do in the future. If you receive a complete pass, then congratulations, maintain the great condition of your vehicle, there are no issues or suspected further problems.
How Will The Changes Affect Diesel Cars?
Diesel car owners will be impacted the most by the new MOT test changes as there has been a huge crackdown on the amount of emission a vehicle can let off. The primary focus will be on your diesel particulate filters (DPF), which are used to trap all of the built-up soot in your exhaust and helps to stop the soot from being dispersed into the air, therefore decreasing emission.
You will receive an automatic major and fail your MOT if there is excessive smoke coming from your exhaust or if it has any slight discolouration. It gives a good indication that your DPF has been removed or tampered with. If you have recently purchased your diesel vehicle second hand or your vehicle is old, it is always recommended to check your filter prior to your MOT. Make any repairs or replacements in advance to ensure that you avoid a fail.
Although any issues with your diesel particulate filter will result in a fail, there are some instances where your MOT testing centre may let you off. You must have a valid, explainable reason for a sign of tampering. For example, if you have recently attempted to clean your filter, in which they will go in and check before they withdraw the major.
How Can I Avoid A Fail In My MOT?
Of course, in some instances, MOT results are unpredictable, and some issues are unavoidable, but others can be avoided through regular car maintenance.
Regular tyre checks are key for a long lasting vehicle, and any small signs of damage may result in a major or dangerous. Common damage includes cracks or slits, which sometimes come with age or driving on a sharp object on the road without realising. Tyre tread must also meet the legal standard of over 1.6mm. Often you can tell if your tyres are balding, but if not, an easy way to check is through the 20p test. Take a look at this RAC advice page for all tyre tread information and how to do the 20p test. Lastly, always check your tyre pressure with a tyre pressure gauge and take a look at your vehicle handbook for the correct number.
Damaged windscreen wipers are one if the easy maintenance tasks and can be replaced quickly at home. During the Winter months, the rubber on the wiper blades often crack or start to fall off, which means they must be replaced as faulty wipers can reduce visibility dramatically. New wiper blades can be picked up easily and can be fitted within minutes.
One of the biggest aspects that MOT testing centres keep an eye out for is safety, in particular, seatbelts. Always ensure that your seatbelts are in good condition, with no damage like rips or fraying. Take a couple of moments to also test the seatbelt and ensure that it locks effectively when pulled with force. Any signs of ineffectiveness indicate you should replace your seatbelts.
The more you use your vehicle, the more you should keep an eye out for common issues that may come up with your car. Driving instructors are a perfect example of those who have to be committed to keeping up regular maintenance. Their vehicle must comply with all safety requirements.
We spoke to Martin Mayston, who specialises in teaching driving lessons in Bedford about the new MOT test changes.
“Over the 10 years of teaching, I have had my fair share of MOT fails, and along the years I have picked up many different things that I can do over the year to make myself more likely to pass. Failing is a no go for me as it can put me out of work for days, especially if a pupil has a driving test approaching. I remember once I failed because I forgot to replace my wiper blades in time, which was a silly mistake that could have been avoided!”