There are some important changes to the Ministry of Transport test, or MOT, coming into force in May 2018. This might be a cause for concern for some drivers, especially those who own a diesel. For some, it will mean that their car won’t need an MOT certificate at all.

Faults will now be given a category of either Minor, Major or Dangerous. Cars which have only Minor faults will still pass the test, but the faults will be recorded both online and on the MOT certificate in the same way that advisories are currently recorded. Major and Dangerous faults will cause the test to be automatically failed. These new categories will apply to all cars and are designed to meet the new European Union Roadworthiness Package.

Tougher emissions tests are also being introduced. Any diesel car which has a diesel particulate filter (DPF) which produces “visible smoke of any colour” will receive a Major fault and will, therefore, fail its MOT. Any diesel vehicle which looks like its DPF has been tampered with or its DPF has been completely removed will automatically fail the test.

Another change to be introduced is that cars over 40 years old will be exempt from the test. That means that almost 300,000 cars in the UK won’t need an MOT certificate. Countering arguments that this could be unsafe, the Department for Transport said that older vehicles are usually well looked after by their owners and that they are not driven regularly.

There have been mixed reactions to the new test. Neil Barlow, the DVSA’s MOT service manager, said: “The changes to the MOT will help ensure that we’ll all benefit from cleaner and safer vehicles on our roads.”

However, an RAC spokesman, Simon Williams, argued: “While on the surface this change, which is part of an EU directive due to come into force in May, seems like a sensible move, we fear many motorists could end up being confused.” He says that the new categories for faults add to the judgements that testers have to make and this “creates the potential for confusion”. He concluded by saying “if the system isn’t broke, why mess with it?”

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