Changes to the MOT in 2018

Changes to the MOT in 2018

The MOT test is going to have an update in 2018 with tougher checks on diesel cars and new categories introduced.

The MOT test was first introduced in 1960, with the 3 year rule beginning in 1967 with the aim to improved road safety. In 2017 a consultation took place to move MOT’s for cars and light vehicles onto a 4 year cycle to reflect improvements in safety technology and manufacturing methods. Due to concerns that this change would leave unsafe cars on the road, it has been scrapped, but there are a few other changes on the way for motorists which will come into force May 20th 2018 …

New MOT Categories from May 2018

The first major change is to the categories displayed on an MOT certificate. Currently, a vehicle which fails an MOT will have a list of reasons why under the heading ‘reasons for failure’. If there are other less serious faults with a vehicle, whether it has passed or failed, these will be listed under the category heading ‘advisory notice items’.

In the upcoming changes these two categories will become three defect and failure categories as follows;

  • Minor – this category will relate to any defect with the vehicle which is deemed to have no significant impact on the safety of the vehicle or the environment.
  • Major – this category will be used when a defect on the vehicle reduces its safety, has an impact on the environment, or puts another road user at risk.
  • Dangerous – this category is used when there is a serious problem with the vehicle which creates a immediate risk to other road users or will have an impact on the environment.

Advisory notices will continue to be displayed alongside the new categories.
If your vehicle has a minor defect, it will pass the MOT test. If a major or dangerous defect is found, your vehicle will fail.

Read more: Rivervale's 10 Pre-MOT Checks

To provide drivers with more information relating to the condition of their car, the Road Traffic Act and associated penalties for any defects will be displayed. It is thought the new categories will make a car's condition clearer to the owner and the possible consequences of driving a vehicle in that condition. It is hoped this extra information will make motorists more likely to do the right thing and repair their vehicle.

New MOT Defect and Failure Categories

Minor - no significant effect on the safety of the vehicle - MOT PASS  

Major - safety of the vehicle is compromised, may risk other road users or have an adverse effect on the environment - MOT FAIL  

Dangerous - vehicle poses an immediate threat to other road users and has a negative impact on the environment - MOT FAIL  

An example of the new category system can be seen when considering brake fluid levels. If brake fluid is found to be below the minimum mark a minor defect will be recorded. If the brake fluid is significantly below the minimum mark it will result in a major defect and if the brake fluid is not visible the dangerous category will apply.

New Checks for Diesel Particulate Filters

The second major change to MOT tests will be an updated check on diesel particulate filters. The current check is visual only. Diesel particulate filters can become blocked over time and are expensive to replace. This led some drivers to remove the filtration system but leave the exterior casing, so the vehicle would still pass a visual inspection. While it is not illegal for a garage to remove a diesel particulate filter it is illegal to drive a car without one when it would have been fitted at the time of manufacture. Any driver who has done this runs the risk of a £1000 fine if discovered.

Read more: A Guide to Your Diesel Particulate Filter

To crack down on diesel particulate filter removal the updated MOT test will include a much more thorough check to ensure the filter has not been removed or tampered with.

Cars 40 years old or more no longer need a valid MOT

The third significant change comes as the Department for Transport announced any vehicle 40 years old or more will no longer be legally required to complete an MOT test. Owners of these vehicles can choose to have an MOT test carried out voluntarily if they wish to.
The reason for this change is due to the government's belief that any car of this age is of historical interest. These vehicles are mostly owned by enthusiasts who keep these vehicles well maintained. Cars of this age are also rarely used for anything other than short journeys.

There are many other tweaks in the new MOT test to ensure vehicle safety such as the addition of checks on reverse lights and more extensive inspection of brake discs, which all aim to increase the safety of cars on our roads. However, many motorists fear changes will make it harder for vehicles to pass, leading to more MOT failures and increased repair costs for drivers.


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