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MOT rules are changing – what does that mean for you?

The MOT test is having a major shake-up on 20th May 2018 and new rules are being introduced that will make it harder for vehicles to pass their yearly MOT inspection.

We think it's important you know what these changes are, so you can make sure you've prepared your car for its MOT and given it the best possible chance of passing.

What are the new rules?

new MOT rules

From May, all faults will fall under three new categories: dangerous, major and minor. If you get a major or dangerous rating, your car will fail automatically. Minor defects will be recorded on the MOT certificate and you'll be advised to get the faults repaired. As the gov.uk website confirms, you'll still get a pass certificate (known as a VT20).

If your car's a diesel, these changes may mean you're left more out of pocket than petrol car owners, as there are set to be stricter rules around emissions testing. Auto Express says "any car with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) that emits smoke of any colour during the test will get a major fault and fail the MOT test".

The DPF filters will be checked to see if they've been removed or tampered with and testers will refuse any cars where the filters have clearly been cut open or re-welded, unless there's evidence it was for legitimate reasons, such as filter cleaning. At the moment, they'll only reject a car if the DPF filter is missing.

Why are the rules changing?

Neil Barlow, head of MOT policy for the Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency, says the new rules will "help motorists do the right thing – ie not drive away from a garage".

However, RAC spokesman Simon Williams argues the new process won't be as effective, saying "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".

Major faults mean the vehicle needs to be repaired and re-tested and vehicles with dangerous faults have to stay at the garage until the fault is fixed. This is causing concerns that drivers might not understand the difference with this new system, as the current process makes sure that all faults that don't meet the MOT pass requirements are fixed before the vehicles allowed back on the road.

What you can do to prepare for your MOT

It's important you do all you can to check on your car ahead of its MOT. There are lots of common fail items that are really easy to sort out yourself – so taking the time to fix them before the test can mean the difference between a pass and a fail. You should be making sure:

  • All your lights are working – including headlights, indicators and hazard lights.
  • Your brakes and steering wheel are working correctly.
  • Tyres are inflated and the tread depth is above the legal minimum of 1.6mm.
  • All windscreen wipers work as they should and aren't worn down.
  • Mirrors and registration plates are in good condition.
  • The vehicle identification number (VIN) matches the one in your log book (V5C).
  • Your dashboard warning lights are working correctly.
  • Your horn works loudly and clearly.

One final tip is to give your car a good spring clean! A tester may refuse to carry out the inspection if your car's full of rubbish and is dirty.

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