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Changes to MOT Testing

Updated: Jan 24, 2019

The MOT test changed in May 2018 and this is what you need to know.

The MOT was first introduced in 1960 with the three-year rule for new vehicles introduced a few years later in 1967.

The Ministry of Transport test (MOT to most of us) has been the same for quite some time but there will be some changes later this year which are likely to cause concern for some drivers.

From May 2018, 293,000 cars in Britain will be exempt from having an MOT test.

Under new plans, cars that are over 40 years old won’t have to take the annual road safety test.

This means around 1.5 per cent of cars in Britain will not have an MOT certificate, but will be road legal.

The Department for Transport defended the decision from suggestions it was an unsafe move, by saying owners of older cars usually keep them in the good condition and don’t use them regularly enough for an MOT test to be necessary.

Other changes include vehicles needing to be put through tougher emissions tests and faults rated in three defect categories – Dangerous, Major and Minor.

Cars with Minor defects will be allowed to pass and the faults will be recorded, but those that fall into the Dangerous category will be subject to an automatic fail, The Sentinel Reports .

Vehicles with diesel engines will also face a tougher test as any car that has been fitted with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) that give out “visible smoke of any colour” during tests will get a Major fault and also automatically fail.

Any vehicle that has a DPF that looks as if it’s been removed or tampered with will not pass – unless it can be proved it has been done so for filter cleaning.

Steering will also be looked at. A steering box leaking oil would get a Minor fault but if the oil was dripping badly it would be pushed up to Major and fail.

Reverse lights will be checked and brake discs also inspected to see if they are “significantly or obviously worn”.

Neil Barlow, MOT service manager at the DVSA, said: “The changes to the MOT will help ensure that we’ll all benefit from cleaner and safer vehicles on our roads.”

But RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “While on the surface this change, which is part of an EU Directive due to come into force in May, seems like a sensible move, we fear many motorists could end up being confused.

“Rather than MOT failures simply being black and white, the new system creates the potential for confusion as testers will have to make a judgement as to whether faults are ‘Dangerous’, ‘Major’ or ‘Minor’.

“We understand the Government has little choice in the matter, but gut instinct says if the system isn’t broken, why mess with it?”

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