The MOT is changing ……………

MOT_cover1Here’s what you need to know about changes being introduced to the MOT on May 20th writes Geraldine Herbert

The MOT changes this month making it harder for cars to pass, and diesel cars, in particular, will be subject to stricter rules

1) What is changing about the MOT?
New rules have been introduced to improve driver safety and improve air quality. These are tougher for diesel cars to pass, and the changes to the MOT will start from 20 May.

2) What is the difference between a ‘Dangerous’, ‘Major’ or ‘Minor’ Fault?
Faults will now be ranked as ‘Minor’, ‘Major’ and ‘Dangerous’. If your car has a minor fault it will be noted on the MOT certificate but your car will still be deemed roadworthy. Dangerous and Major faults will fail the MOT and dangerous faults will need to be dealt with before the car can be put back on the road.

3) I drive a diesel car – what do I need to know?
Diesel cars are coming under greater scrutiny and now if any smoke is visible from the exhaust when the engine is started, the car will fail immediately. Also, if your car is fitted with a diesel particulate filter (DPF), designed to capture and store exhaust soot to reduce emissions from diesel cars, it will be checked as part of the MOT test. If it has been repaired or removed in the past you must show evidence that there was a legitimate reason for this as otherwise, your car will fail the test. If you are unsure as to whether your car has one you can check its handbook.

4) Is there anything else new about the test?
A host of new items are now included in the test such as checking reversing lights, daytime running lights, front fog lights, warning lights, dashboard monitoring and fluid leaks posing an environmental risk

5) When and where do I get an MOT?
Every car more than three years old needs an annual MOT test, however, the rules are different in Northern Ireland, where the MOT is due after a car’s fourth birthday. You must use an approved MOT test centre to get your MOT.

6) How should I prepare for the MOT?
According to research by, tyres are one of the most common reasons why cars fail the MOT so you need to ensure the pressure in your tyres is correct, the tread depth on all of your tyres is deeper than 1.6mm and that they are correctly aligned. Also, almost a third of all MOT failures are down to an issue with electrics, lamps or reflectors so check all your lights and electrics before the test. As a general rule of thumb, if you notice anything not working on your car it needs to be repaired before the car’s next MOT.

7) What happens if I fail?
If your car fails its MOT you will get a list of things that need to be fixed and generally retesting is free if the faults are corrected at the test centre and the re-test completed within 10 working days of the original test. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay the test fee again and get a full retest.8) Is there anything else I should know about the MOT?
There is good news for some older cars, you will no longer need an MOT from the 40th anniversary of when a car was registered. So if your car was first registered on 31 May 1978, it won’t need an MOT from 31 May 2018.

Geraldine Herbert

15th March, 2018


Author: Geraldine Herbert

Motoring journalist Geraldine Herbert is the founder of wheelsforwomen. A jury member for the International Women’s World Car of the Year, she has been a motoring journalist for over ten years and is the motoring expert for Good Housekeeping Magazine and their “Women at the Wheel” section of You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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