From May 20th, the MOT test will undergo the biggest shake up since it was introduced back in the early 1960’s.
The old Ministry of Transport test (hence the MOT) has gradually evolved over the years from its early incarnation as a basic safety examination to a pretty comprehensive inspection that includes safety issues, environmental issues, and legal compliance.
From 20th May the test will be radically overhauled, there are many new testable items, many changes in how existing items are tested and a significant tightening of regulations. On the other hand, unmodified vehicles that are over 40 years old will no longer require a test at all to remain legal.
It will take a while for the 60,000 mot testers to get accustomed to the new regulations, training has to be continued throughout this year, but some people are liable to find that vehicles that have passed the test in previous years will now fail because of new tighter rules or because faults that previously didn’t lead to a failure are now included.
A good example of this is the engine Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL), previously a MIL that didn’t work or indicated a fault in the engine systems would not have failed the test, from May 20th a engine MIL not working, not following the manufactures sequence, or indicating a fault will be classed as a Major Defect and the vehicle will fail the test.
Defect categories are also changing, no longer will the certificate be Pass, Fail or Advise, in the future there could Advisories attached to items that are not tested, (spare wheel for instance), but testable items will either Pass or be recorded as a Minor Defect, Major Defect or Dangerous Defect.
Minor Defects will pass the test but need to be rectified in the near future, Major Defects fail the test, and Dangerous Defects mean the vehicle should not be driven away from the test station. The garage can’t enforce this, but there are clear implications for your insurance if you drive a vehicle with a dangerous defect on it.
The full list of changes run to over 100, so I won’t detail them all here, so in addition to those I’ve already mentioned here is a taste of some of the others.
Diesel Exhaust emissions for 2008 on vehicles reduced. Vehicles with an emissions plate will now be tested to the manufacturers limit not the default limit. Tampering with emissions equipment is likely to now lead to a failure, any visible smoke from a vehicle fitted with a Particulate filter will now fail, the test is more rigorous and the limits significantly lower.
Reverse lights fitted to 2009 on vehicles are now testable.
All Propeller shafts and drive shafts are now included.
Just about any dashboard warning light showing a malfunction will now fail the test.
Front fog lamps and day running lamps are included for 2018 on vehicles.
Some tinted windscreens and side windows could now fail the test where they wouldn’t have before.
Much stricter rules on Tow Bars and Tow Balls including removeable tow balls, upgraded rules on trailer electrics.
Tightened rules on braking systems especially targeting those that try to disconnect ABS or stability control systems, brake pad warning lamps can now fail if they are now working, disconnected, or displaying that the pads are low (even if the pad material is above the minimum limit.
Fluid leaks that can contaminate the environment are now a reason to fail the test.
So, all in all this is a radical and, in my view, much needed update to the MOT test regime. Along with Sweden, the UK has the lowest Killed or Serious Injury accident rate, caused by vehicle defects, in the developed world. Similarly, along with Sweden we test the majority of our vehicles at 3 years old and then every year afterwards until they are 40 years old.
The UK and Sweden 3% of road deaths are caused by vehicle defects, in Germany it is 9%. In 2015 39 people were killed on UK roads because of vehicle defects, if we copied Germany it is likely we would have killed 120 people.
The MOT is there to make our roads safer and to protect the environment, the new regulations will help to do just that.
For more information contact The MOT Professional