Drivers reminded of MOT changes that have come into force

The new MOT took effect yesterday (Sunday May 20), and motorists are being reminded again of the changes, which will bring cleaner, safer vehicles to Britain's roads.

Every year 30 million vehicles take their MOT and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is expecting more than 900,000 vehicles to take the new test in its first week.

It says that new tighter limits for smoke on diesel vehicles and clearer fail categories that set out that vehicles should not be driven until a dangerous defect is repaired, will help improve air quality and make roads safer.

Other changes include:

- new checks, including:

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- reversing lights on vehicles first used from September 2009

- daytime running lights on vehicles first used from March 2018

- front fog lights on vehicles first used from March 2018

- emission control equipment

- fluid leaks posing an environmental risk

- the MOT failure documents and certificate will be clearer and show the new defect categories

- vehicles which are more than 40 years old and have not been substantially changed will be exempt from the MOT test

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DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said: “DVSA’s priority is to help you keep your vehicle safe to drive.

“The new MOT is about to take effect. Some people whose vehicles are not due their next MOT until next spring won’t see the direct impact of the changes for nearly a year. But they can look forward to cleaner, safer vehicles with greater clarity for motorists on any defects identified by the tester.

“A properly maintained vehicle should have no problem passing the new MOT.”

MOT testing stations and testers are fully prepared for the changes. All testing stations have the final version of the new MOT Testing Manual and testers can access an on-line training package on the changes.

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The MOT is a once a year health check but motorists must keep their vehicles safe to drive all year round. To do this and prepare for the MOT, Motorists should make sure that:

- brakes work smoothly and that the vehicle doesn’t pull to one side

- tyres are correctly inflated, have no cuts or bulges, and that they all have at least 1.6mm of tread

- headlights and other lights work - give them a tap to check they’re not loose or damaged and check the colours are correct and match

- windscreen wipers and washers work

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- the driver’s view of the road is clear of any obstruction, such as stickers, toys or air fresheners

Each year around 30 million MOTs are carried out in Great Britain.

With 28% of cars turning up late for test, DVSA also provides a free service for drivers to receive MOT reminders by text message or email 4 weeks before their car’s MOT is due.

Over 600,000 drivers have signed up for the service since it launched in November 2017. The service can be found here - Drivers can check the date their car’s MOT is due and view its MOT history at

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The changes to the MOT defect categorisation (minor, major, dangerous) are focused on making it simpler for motorists to know if their vehicle is safe to drive.

Our is that a vehicle with a “dangerous” defect should not be driven until the defect is repaired, because it’s dangerous both to the driver and other road users.

In addition, any driver attempting to do so runs the risk of being fined or receiving points on their licence. This would apply whether they were not aware of the defect or had found out through the MOT. This re-affirms the importance of keeping a vehicle well maintained all of the time

The law is not changing in respect to driving dangerous vehicles. It is illegal today and will remain so after the changes to the MOT. This applies whether or not the vehicle still has a valid MOT certificate

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The changes to the MOT defect categorisation (minor, major, dangerous) are focused on making it simpler for motorists to know if their vehicle is safe to drive. MOT testers will make decisions based on clear pre-defined lists in the MOT inspection manual. So the changes allow greater consistency and provide clearer information to motorist

There will be stricter rules on emissions from diesel vehicles fitted with a diesel particulate filter (DPF). Diesel cars will automatically fail their MOT if there’s any smoke coming from the exhaust, if the DPF has been removed or there is evidence it has been tampered with. If legitimate work has been carried out on the DPF, the tester will need to see proof of that, like a receipt from the garage that did the work

The top ten reasons for car MOT fails are:

1. Lighting and signalling – 18.3%

2. Suspension - 12.2%

3. Brakes – 10%

4. Tyres - 7.4%

5. Driver’s View of the Road - 6.8%

6. Fuel and Exhaust – 4%

7. Steering - 2.6%

8. Seat Belts – 1.9%

9. Body and Structure – 1.3%

10. Registration plates and VIN – 0.7%