The Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is making changes to the way your MOT test is carried out. This will take effect from 20th May 2018 and will alter the testing procedures and standards for MOT tests in England, Scotland and Wales.

A lot of drivers are still confused as to what this means so read on to find out exactly what you need to be aware of.


If you took your car for an MOT today, it would simply be given a ‘pass’ or a ‘fail’ but this will all change come 20th May 2018 when each defect found will be categorised as either dangerous, major or minor depending on the severity.

Minor defects can be considered as being similar to advisories in the current test, and a vehicle will still pass its MOT if it only has minor defects.

Major and dangerous faults however will result in an MOT fail and will require the car to be repaired and re-tested. Owners will be advised not to drive the vehicle away in its current condition.

The idea of the new changes and defect categories by the DVSA is to make it clearer to owners what condition their car is in regardless of whether the issues are big or small, and to make them consider whether they should be using it on the road.


Included in the big list of changes to the MOT test is stricter limits on emissions. This will mainly affect owners of diesel cars. Cars with a diesel particulate filter (DPF), which removes soot from the exhaust of the car’s engine to reduce emissions, will face tougher checks under the new rules.

If the MOT tester sees smoke of any colour coming from the exhaust, it’ll be deemed a major fault and the car will be labelled as a fail.

Cars will also be failed if there is evidence that the DPF has been tampered with in any way. If you’re not sure if this affects you, check your vehicle handbook to find out if it has a DPF.

New checks

Alongside all the other changes, there will also be new components in your car that are subject to checks. These include:

  • Emission control features
  • Fluid leaks that may have an environmental risk
  • Brake pad warning lights and if brake pads or discs are missing
  • Obviously underinflated tyres
  • Contamination of brake fluid
  • The security and condition of your bumper
  • Noise suppression material
  • Reversing lights (on vehicles first used from September 2009)
  • Daytime running lights and front fog lights (on vehicles first used from March 2018)
  • Headlight washers (on vehicles used from September 2009)

If an issue with any of these areas is found during your MOT test, you may be subject to a fault or even an MOT fail. These new components will now be added along with all the existing checks a car undergoes currently.

Cars will also be failed if there is evidence that the DPF has been tampered with in any way. If you’re not sure if this affects you, check your vehicle handbook to find out if it has a DPF.


Currently, all cars on the road are required by law to have an annual MOT test. The new changes mean that cars over 40 years old may be exempt from the yearly tests. But this doesn’t neccessarily mean that all cars older than 40 years will automatically become exempt: owners of cars, (e.g. – classic cars) will first have to register their vehicle as a “vehicle of historic interest” – to the DVLA before they can start skipping their MOT.

Owners who do still want to get their cars MOT tested for their own peace of mind will still be able to do so on a voluntary basis.


The design of the certificate will be changed so that defects will be shown under the new fault categories clearly.

Hopefully the changes won't impact too much on you and your vehicle but if you do have any questions about the new test, our friendly service advisors will be happy to help.