MOT shakeup may see rise in Car failures!​

In May this year, some major changes are happening to the MOT test. See below to see what they mean to you.

2018 will see a lot of changes to motoring laws.

On 20th May new changes to the MOT test could mean that it will be harder to pass.

These are being implemented to meet a new EU directive, the European Union Roadworthiness package.

The changes to the test involve a new type of emissions testing, and measuring defects within three categories.

The new changes will apply to all vehicles, but there is a debate over how effective the new test will be.

What are the new MOT Categories?

The biggest change to the MOT test is how defects will be categorised. These are "dangerous", "major" or "minor".

Minor Defects - these are the same as an advisory. These are things that will eventually need fixing on your car, but will not fail your vehicle. For example if the brake fluid is below the minimum mark.

Major and Dangerous Defects - these will need to be dealt with before the car is deemed roadworthy and will fail the MOT. For example if the brake fluid is significantly below the minimum mark.

What are the changes to the MOT emissions test?

Emission testing will also be changed. The old emissions test - the New European Cycle (NEDC) - was designed in the 1980s and has come under a lot of scrutiny in recent years.

The new emissions test - The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) will be tougher on measuring fuel economy and CO2 emissions. Supporting this will be the Real Driving Emissions test (RDE), which will measure the amount of nitrous oxide (NOx) created by the car. Diesel cars may struggle with this part of the test, as their emissions are higher in NOx than petrol. To amend this, garages will have to make changes to their diesel smoke meter setting or software. The government will be working with garage equipment manufacturers to help them get ready for this.

As of May, any diesel vehicle that has a particulate filter will fail the test if it emits smoke of any colour. Any tampering with this filter will also mean a failed MOT.

What else is changing on the MOT test?

Three other areas on cars that have the potential to cause serious accidents are also going to be scrutinised more closely than before. Testers will check steering systems – a steering box with a heavy leak will result in a MOT failure, as will reversing lights that don’t work or have blown bulbs and brake discs that are “significantly or obviously worn”.

Are older cars exempt from the MOT test?

In 2012 it was announced that vehicles that were manufactured before 1960 will be exempt from MOT tests. In May it will be extended to vehicles that were manufactured before 1977. this is because cars of this type are usually maintained by enthusiasts and statistically have lower accident and MOT failure rates than regular cars.

Are these changes a good idea?

Previous MOTs were black and white with the categories being "advisory" or "fail". The two categories meant there was little room for manoeuvre. Now test centres will have to use their own judgement to decide whether a car is fit to pass its MOT. This could lead to inconsistencies between garages.

The difference between "major" and "dangerous" faults could also be confusing for motorists. The current system classes it as a fail or pass, so having extra categories could cause some issues.