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Changes to MOT Laws and Regulations

MOT laws are changing and, with the changes coming into force from 20 May 2018, drivers need to get accustomed to the new landscape sooner rather than later. Faults will be assigned to one of three categories: Dangerous, Major and Minor. Meanwhile, diesel cars face stricter tests before they can pass the MOT. Conversely, certain vehicles over 40 years of age are to become exempt from the need for an MOT.

What are minor faults?

Defects with no significant effect on a vehicle's safety or its impact on the environment. Vehicles with minor faults will be permitted to pass their MOT (subject to other requirements) although these faults will be recorded.

What are major faults?

Defects that result in the vehicle being less safe, from the perspective of both other road users and in terms of their environmental impact. Vehicles with a major fault will fail their test but, unlike with dangerous faults, can be driven on the public road to somewhere the fault can be repaired.

What are dangerous faults?

These are defects with an immediate impact on both road safety and the environment. A single dangerous fault will result in an automatic fail. The vehicle cannot then be driven until the fault has been remedied and an MOT pass certificate has been issued. If the testing centre that issued the dangerous fault cannot repair the vehicle, it must be transported via a tow truck, low loader or similar to an alternative place of repair. Once repaired, the vehicle must then be transported back to the MOT testing centre.

I'm still not sure I understand. Can you give me an example?
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) uses a car's steering system to explain the changes. A power-steering fluid leak would constitute a minor fault that would be recorded but would not prevent the vehicle from passing its MOT. Persistent dripping of fluid would mean that the fault counted as a major one, requiring repair before the vehicle can pass its MOT. Classification as a major fault would mean that the owner could choose to drive it to his or her choice of garage.
Meanwhile, a steering wheel that is so loose that it is at risk of becoming detached would be a dangerous fault. As such, the vehicle would not only fail its MOT but could not be driven to a place of repair. It would require the services of a vehicle recovery unit. Moreover, even after repair, it could not be driven on the public road until it had received an MOT pass.

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What about Advisory Notices?

MOT testers will still be permitted to issue advisory notices to warn drivers about faults that may become more serious. As is currently the case, anything listed in an advisory notice will need careful monitoring by the driver but will not prevent the vehicle from passing its MOT.

Diesel cars

Drivers of diesel vehicles need to pay particular attention to the changes to MOT law. Following environmental and health concerns, and in line with current government policy, diesel vehicles are a particular target of the changes. The draft MOT inspection manual states that "visible smoke of any colour" emitted by any vehicle that is fitted with a diesel particulate filter will result in a "Major" fail. A diesel particulate filter captures and stores exhaust soot to reduce emissions from diesel cars. If you're not sure whether your car has one, check its handbook.

What has prompted the changes in the MOT law?

There seems to be a consensus at government level that a significant minority of motorists are receiving notification that there is something wrong with their vehicle and rather than fix it immediately, are driving away on the public roads.
The potential for confusion among drivers and testers is significant. Testers will need to be confident in determining whether a fault is dangerous, major or minor. With the new system allowing for the making of judgment calls on particular faults, drivers may struggle to understand why a particular fault has been categorised in a certain way.

Are there any other changes to MOT law?

Yes, the new tests will check:

  • the reversing lights on vehicles that were first used on or after 1 September 2009

  • that tyres are not obviously under-inflated

  • whether there are any fluid leaks that might pose an environmental risk

  • the headlight washers (if they have them) on vehicles first used on or after 1 September 2009

  • the daytime running lights on vehicles first used on or after 1 March 2018

  • brake discs for signs of significant or obvious wearing, oil contamination or any indication that their attachment to the wheel hubs is less than secure

There are also other smaller changes to the way in which some existing checks are carried out. Your local Protyre MOT testing centre should be able to advise further.

Vehicles over 40 years of age

Any car, van, motorcycle or other light passenger vehicle will not need an MOT if it is over 40 years old and has not been substantially altered. This represents a change to the existing situation in which only vehicles built prior to 1960 are exempt from MOT requirements. As from 20 May 2018, the vehicles listed above will not need an MOT from the 40th anniversary of the date of their registration. You can confirm the date of your vehicle's registration online.

What is the best advice for drivers worried by the forthcoming changes?

As always, it is sensible to stay on top of a vehicle's regular service and maintenance schedules. Annual servicing can go a long way to ensuring that a vehicle remains in roadworthy condition and is as fuel-efficient as possible. At Protyre our team of experts is always happy to discuss your vehicle's servicing and MOT needs. With over 100 garages nationwide, you're sure not to be too far from your local Protyre. Why not give us a call or drop in today, and put your mind at ease.

Protyre are here to help

According to figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (formerly VOSA), 40% of cars and 50% of vans fail their MOT test check. Vehicles can fail for a number of reasons but there are measures drivers can take to ensure their vehicle is adequately prepared. 

Common Reasons for MOT Failures

For the statisticians out there...


14% of MOT check failures are down to a lack of tread depth on your tyres. Tyre damage, or a tread depth of less than 1.6 mm, will result in failure. 

At Protyre Autocare, we provide thorough MOT testing to ensure your vehicle meets all safety and environmental standards. During your MOT, it's crucial to have tyres that are in good condition. Explore our range of tyre types, including premium car tyres, rft tyres, best summer tyres, and winter snow tyres. We also offer a variety of trusted premium tyre brands such as Goodyear all season tyres, Michelin tyre, Pirelli tyres, Bridgestone turanza, Conti tyres, and many more. Ensuring you have the right tyres can make a significant difference in passing your MOT and maintaining your vehicle’s safety and performance.

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7% of MOT check failures are a result of faulty brakes. Excessive wear, or unusual wear patterns, will cause your vehicle to fail its MOT.

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17% of MOT check failures are down to headlight bulbs and the direction your headlamps are pointed. A poorly adjusted headlight direction, any faulty brake lights or indicators that don’t work will cause your vehicle to fail its MOT check.

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