This year sees a major shake up to MOT rules (Ministry of Transport test) which will affect motorists, and in particular those with diesel vehicles.
As of May 2018, there will be three new failure category ratings; dangerous, major and minor. The changes also close a loophole which has existed for diesel vehicles, making it harder for them to pass the MOT.
The new rules are being introduced to ensure the UK meets an EU directive, nicknamed the European Union Roadworthiness Package.
New category ratings
The new category ratings are intended to give drivers greater foresight into preventing problems before they occur, depending on the severity of a fault.
Cars deemed to have defects in the ‘major’ or ‘dangerous’ categories will fail the MOT automatically.
Problems deemed to be ‘minor’ will be passed, and these are then flagged up on the MOT certificate with other advisory notices from the garage.
Diesel loophole closed
A large number of drivers with a diesel car remove the engine’s particulate filter (DPF) so they don’t have to deal with the common issue of it becoming clogged and needing changing.
However, the filter will now be checked more closely, and if it’s been removed or tampered with the car will fail the test.
Diesel vehicles will also suffer from more stringent smoke test limits and dirtier diesels can expect a ‘major’ fail it they don’t meet the right standard.
Other areas to take note of
Steering will also be looked at more carefully, as will reverse lights and brake discs to see if they are ‘significantly or obviously’ worn.
MOT penalty reminder
Drivers should note that driving a vehicle deemed as being in a ‘dangerous’ condition is a criminal offence.
They can also be fined £1,000 if they’re caught driving without valid MOT certification.
Fortunately, drivers can now sign up for a free reminder service from the DVAS (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) and can opt for an annual text message or email around 4 weeks before an MOT is due.
RAC gives its verdict
The highly respected RAC (Royal Automobile Club) has commented on the new rules, saying “While on the surface this change… seems like a sensible move, we fear many motorists could end up being confused.
“Rather than MOT failures simply being black and white, the new system creates the potential for confusion as testers will have to make a judgement as to whether faults are ‘Dangerous’, ‘Major’ or ‘Minor’.
“Motorists may also struggle to understand the difference between ‘Dangerous’ and ‘Major’ failures. The current system ensures that any vehicle with a fault that doesn’t meet the MOT requirements is repaired appropriately before being allowed back on the road.
“We understand the Government has little choice in the matter, but gut instinct says if the system isn’t broken, why mess with it?”
So for those with an MOT coming up soon, prepare for a little confusion.
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Published 1 March 2018