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Vasstech Team Memebers

22nd February 2018

2018 new MOT requirements

By law, every vehicle in the UK requires an MOT, to prove that it meets road safety and environmental standards. However, as of May 2018, drivers will have to meet stricter MOT standards, especially, those driving diesel cars.


Earlier this month, the Ministry of Transport announced significant changes that will apply to the current MOT test, amending the way in which it works and the cars that are subject to undertake these yearly checks.

Under the new plans, all cars that are over 40 years of age, will no longer have to undertake the annual test, resulting in around 1.5% of cars in Britain, omitted from requiring an MOT certificate, while remaining road legal. The government states that vehicles older than 40 years old are low risk, due to owners maintaining them well and the cars regularly being for display purposes. However, if the owner would prefer a professional inspection, it is up to their discretion to have MOTs.

Changes to the MOT system

From May 2018, all cars will be subject to a new MOT category system. Test faults will fall into three categories; Minor, Major and Dangerous, with Major and Dangerous issues resulting in a failed MOT. Vehicles that fall under the Minor category will be allowed to pass their MOT. However, faults will be recorded, and a recommended future repair date will be issued to the owner.

The new MOT system does not only introduce a new grading system, but it also demands more from garages when they are carrying out checks, in particular, car lights. Currently, if a car’s external light features are functional, no matter the quality of light, the car is eligible to pass its MOT. However, as of May 2018, a car can fail its MOT if the garage deems the car as having significantly low light power. Components such as the steering box and brake discs will also be required to undergo more rigorous testing.

All cars will be required to adhere to this new MOT system. However, drivers of diesel cars will need to undergo an additional test. Many diesel vehicles are now fitted with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) to remove diesel particulate matter or soot from the exhaust gas. During the test, if the DPF emits visible smoke, the car will be classed as an immediate fail.

Things to check before an MOT

To ensure that you don’t encounter any additional, unnecessary costs, is it recommended that you complete some simple DIY checks, including:

  1. Lights – check all internal and external lights, including brake lights. Any bulbs that need replacing can be cheaply replaced from your local garage or stores such as Halfords. Installation is also relatively easy and is not required to be carried out by a professional.
  2. Tyres – always check your tyre pressure before an MOT. The legal tread limit for minimum depth is 1.6mm. You can check tyre tread by putting a 20p coin into the main groove, and if the outer band of the coin is covered by the tread, your tyres should be categorised as legal to drive in your MOT.
  3. Windscreen – ensure there are no surface chips. This can be avoided if you regularly top up your screen wash reservoir. Screen wash contains softener and antifreeze, formulated to help the windscreen transition from cold to warm temperatures, which can help to prevent chips and cracks.
  4. Exhaust and fuel – for your car to pass an MOT, it must first pass an emissions test. You can check this by regularly checking there are no leaks deriving from the car’s exhaust. Remember, garages have the right to turn you away if you arrive for an MOT with an empty fuel tank.
  5. Brakes and oil – always monitor brake fuel and oil levels, and top up when necessary.
  6. Final checks – ensure general fixtures such as horn, seat belts, and number plates are all in working condition.

What happens if your car fails its MOT

The majority of vehicles fail their MOT as a result of faults in lights, suspension and brakes. DIY safety checks will not be able to ensure the quality of all of these features, but regular inspections can reduce the risk of an expensive repair or replacement.

If you do fail your MOT, you will be issued with a ‘refusal’ MOT certificate, detailing the reason for MOT failure. It is illegal to drive your car without a valid MOT certificate, but there are few instances where you can drive with an expired or failed MOT, such as taking your vehicle for an MOT retest, or taking your vehicle for repairs after it failed its MOT. You would need your refusal certificate present in case of any police stoppages during our journey.

Therefore, it is always recommended that if any element fails in your MOT, it is resolved immediately. Once you have been informed of the necessary repairs, you are allowed to source a different garage if it is offering a cheaper service. Once repairs have been made, you can return to the original garage that carried out your MOT for a retest.


At Vasstech, we aim to provide the best motoring knowledge for our customers, so that you can confidently embark on your journey’s. If you are still unsure about 2018’s new MOT requirements, or you would like to book an MOT with us, contact us today.