A series of alterations will be made to the annual MOT test from May, it has been announced.
The test will group faults into three new categories (Dangerous, Major and Minor), and will alter the requirements made of diesel vehicles.
The new MOT rules will start from May 20, 2018.
Any cars which are rated Major or Dangerous will automatically fail. Cars with Minor defects will be allowed to pass and the faults will be recorded.
Any car that has a diesel particulate filter that looks as if it has been tampered with or removed will not pass – unless it can be proved it has been cleaned.
Neil Barlow, head of MOT policy for the Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency told Auto Express the new rules will “help motorists do the right thing”.
He added: “We’re changing the wording on the certificate. We’ve done a lot of research with motorists to find out what sort of information helps.”
The DVSA hopes that by reclassifying more serious issues, drivers would be less likely to drive away from a garage in a car that’s potentially not roadworthy.
One example, set out in a draft MOT guide, uses steering to explain the new categories. A leaking steering box would be described as a minor fault, but if oil was leaking so badly as to be dripping, that would constitute a major defect and the car would fail its MOT.
Meanwhile, if the steering wheel itself was so loose that it could become detached, that would be marked down as a dangerous failure, and flagged up on the MOT paperwork with greater urgency. Guidance would be issued on MOT reports containing dangerous faults, reminding motorists that it’s a criminal offence to drive a vehicle that’s in a dangerous condition, and with the potential penalties highlighted.
Any car that has been fitted with a diesel particulate filter that gives out “visible smoke of any colour” during tests will get a Major fault and also automatically fail.
Minor defects refer to those that have no significant effect on the safety of the vehicle or impact on the environment.
Major defects may see the vehicle being less safe and have an impact on the environment, putting other road users at risk.
Dangerous defects have an immediate risk to road safety and have an impact on the environment.
RAC spokesman Simon Williams told Auto Express that it “seems like a sensible move” but did have a word of warning.
He said: “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.
“Rather than MOT failures simply being black and white, the new system creates the potential for confusion as testers will have to make a judgement as to whether faults are ‘Dangerous’, ‘Major’ or ‘Minor’.
“Motorists may also struggle to understand the difference between ‘Dangerous’ and ‘Major’ failures. The current system ensures that any vehicle with a fault that doesn’t meet the MOT requirements is repaired appropriately before being allowed back on the road.
“We understand the Government has little choice in the matter, but gut instinct says if the system isn’t broken, why mess with it?”
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