REAR VIEW by Lucy Hargrave
1) Categorisation of defects: This is the first and biggest change. The simplicity of a pass or fail is gone and is replaced by an intricate 5-tier structure; Dangerous (fail and not driveable), Major (fail and repair now), Minor (pass, but repair asap), Advisory (pass, but monitor), and a straight Pass.
2) Stricter rules for diesel vehicles: The second change sees stricter rules put in place for diesel cars fitted with diesel particulate filters (DPF). From now on, if a diesel car with a DPF emits smoke from the exhaust or the DPF has been tampered with in any way, the vehicle will (Major) fail.
3) New areas of testing: The third change is the introduction of new areas to test, ranging from a close inspection of brake fluid to the condition of the vehicle floorpan. An especially important one for many, is that aftermarket HID lamps fitted to halogen headlamp units, will now fail the MOT.
4) Exemptions over 40: Previously, cars pre-dating 1960 were exempt from MOTs. From now on any car over 40 years old, which has not been substantially changed, is exempt.
5) MOT Certificate: Naturally, with this large overhaul of the rules, the certificate required alteration. Now, MOT certificates will list defects under the new categories in an easy to understand format.
What do we think? Whilst the five-tier scheme may initially appear complex, by adding additional layers understanding the severity of a problem is made easier compared to the old ‘advisory’ notes. That said, added complexity could lead to confusion as testers will be required to make their own judgement as to what category a fault lies. However, as long as the tester is experienced and follows the MOT guidelines there should not be a problem.
These toughened new laws will potentially see a dramatic increase in failures and consequently expensive repairs, particularly for diesels. Though this isn’t great for the pocket of the average diesel car owner, the aim is to improve our environment for us and future generations. DPFs have suffered bad press and notoriety due to their high cost of repair and some deceitful garages that offered the removal of internal filters leading to worsened real-world emissions and ultimately damaging our health and the environment. The new MOT changes should put an end to this skulduggery. On the whole the changes should be positive, but let’s reserve judgement until our next MOT!