MOT test changes have been on the cards for some time, but this Sunday the changes are finally coming into force.

Over 30 million cars are MOT tested annually, with any car over three years old requiring a mandatory MOT test to be road-worthy. Cars over 40 years old also do not require a test under the new changes.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Authority (DVSA) announced that it was making the changes in March, to comply with a new EU directive.

Changes include new categories, further emissions testing and other measures to make vehicles on British roads even safer.

Here’s what you need to know, and how it may affect you.

New safety categories

Instead of reasons for failure, vehicles will now be tested and faults will be placed into three categories – Minor, Major and Dangerous.

A car with Minor faults can still pass, but the problems must be sorted as soon as possible.

Major and Dangerous faults will see the car automatically fail the MOT test. Major faults will need to be repaired for the car to be able to pass a test, although it can be driven to another garage to be fixed.

As for Dangerous faults, cars with these cannot be driven away at all, and they must be towed or repaired at the site. Driving away a car with Dangerous faults could equate to a hefty £2,500 fine and points on your licence.

Even with the new categories, the advisory category still exists in a similar form as it did before, and is used to class less-serious faults which could become major in the future.

New measures being checked

In a bid to modernise the test, several new measures are being introduced by the DVSA to modernise the test. These include checking the reversing lights of cars registered from September 2009, looking at daytime running lights on cars first used in March 2018, as well as front fog lights, too. The condition of brake discs will also be looked at.

Clearer documentation

The MOT certificates may not have been too difficult to read for car nuts, but if you didn’t have a major interest in motoring, they could be quite confusing. Advisories or reasons for failure were both badly worded and complex to work out, which is why the DVSA has committed to ensuring that the certificate and new defect categories are clearer to understand.

Tighter emissions testing and environmental impact concerns

With an increasing turn towards cleaner, electrified vehicles and away from polluting ones, the DVSA has made changed to the MOT test to lessen the environmental impact of cars. This includes emission testing. Any vehicle fitted with a diesel particulate filter (DPF will be tested and if it produces visible smoke of any colour will automatically fail.

MOT testers will also be required to inspect whether DPF filters have been modified or removed, too. If there is proof of this, the tester can refuse to test the vehicle.

Vehicles will also be checked to see if fluid leaks pose an environmental risk.

Your car won’t need an MOT if it’s 40 years old

This means that if you have a classic car, as soon as it reaches its 40th birthday since registration, it will no longer require an MOT to be road-worthy. This has been increased from before, when it was only cars registered before 1960 which no longer required an MOT.

This is providing that the car has not been “substantially changed”.

When are the measures being introduced?

This Sunday (May 20) is when the measures are being introduced. The changes include MOT tests for cars, vans, motorcycles and other light commercial vehicles.

While your car may only need an MOT once a year, it’s very important to regularly check your car and its mechanicals. These include the condition of brakes, exhausts, tyre tread depths and that they are correctly inflated, as well as looking at fluid levels, too.


Ted Welford


May 16, 2018