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The MOT is changing

Only 5 days remaining until the MOT changes come in to effect on 20 May 2018.

There has been much reported in the press over the last few months about the changes, and with it there has been some misinterpretation about how the new defect categories will work - particularly what will be classed as a dangerous defect.

So, to help clarify what really is and isn't changing I've added some details below.


Legal Requirements

There are 2 main legal safety requirements for a vehicle to be driven on UK roads.

It must be roadworthy and for most vehicles of a certain age, it must have a valid MOT. Whilst they're connected, they are not actually the same thing, and they both have to be met independently. Even if a vehicle is roadworthy, it may not necessarily have an MOT (this doesn't automatically get issued – the car needs to go to a garage and get one!). Similarly, just because a vehicle has an MOT, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is roadworthy.  It may have a defect that has developed after the MOT test certificate date.

These 2 requirements will still need to be met under the new rules that come into play on 20th May 2018.

‘Major’ and ‘dangerous’ defects

Previously it was the job of the MOT Tester to determine any defects that they felt were dangerous, mark the test accordingly and advise the vehicle owner. Currently, a vehicle will either pass or fail its MOT.

From the 20th May, the new directive will pre-define what is considered as ‘dangerous’. Defects that are failure items but aren’t deemed as ‘dangerous’ will be called ‘major’ defects.

So, after 20th May, defects that are dangerous will be set out for you, and the new term ‘major’ is introduced for all other failures.

What does the change to ‘dangerous’ defects will mean for motorists

Having pre-defined dangerous defects brings consistency to what is recorded as dangerous. The wording on the MOT failure documents is meant as a clear reminder to motorists that driving a dangerous vehicle is illegal.

This applies whether the vehicle has a current MOT or not. A dangerous vehicle should never be driven on the road.

'Minor' defects and advisories

The other new category coming into play is ‘minor’. As the word suggests, this is where the vehicle is found to have a defect – but it isn’t serious enough for the vehicle to fail. The category of minor defects is also pre-defined.

Advisories will remain the same as they are currently e.g. they are an indication of where a component will become defective soon.

Diesel vehicle emissions

There will be stricter limits for emissions from diesel cars with a diesel particulate filter (DPF).

A major fault will also be issued if:

  • smoke of any colour can be seen coming from the exhaust

  • evidence is found that the DPF has been tampered with

Historic vehicles

Cars, vans, motorcycles and other light passenger vehicles now won’t need to have an MOT if they’re over 40 years old and have not been substantially changed in the previous 30 years.


If you are confused or worried about these changes and how they will affect your next MOT, please don't be afraid to ask us when you book your car in.