How does the MOT work?
You can be fined up to £1,000 for driving a vehicle without a valid MOT so it’s important you know the updated rules for getting one for your vehicle.
Defects found during the MOT are categorised as either:
The category the MOT tester gives each item will depend on the type of problem and how serious it is.
|Category||What it means about the item||MOT result|
|Dangerous||A direct and immediate risk to road safety or has a serious impact on the environment. You must not drive the vehicle until it has been repaired.||Fail|
|Major||It may affect the vehicle’s safety, put other road users at risk or have an impact on the environment. Repair it immediately.||Fail|
|Minor||No significant effect on the safety of the vehicle or impact on the environment. Repair as soon as possible.||Pass|
|Advisory||It could become more serious in the future. Monitor and repair it if necessary.||Pass|
|Pass||It meets the minimum legal standard. Make sure it continues to meet the standard.||Pass|
Rules for diesel car emissions
Rules for emissions from diesel cars with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) have been made stricter. A DPF captures and stores exhaust soot to reduce emissions from diesel cars. Check your car’s handbook if you don’t know if your car has a DPF.
Your vehicle will get a major fault if the MOT tester:
- can see smoke of any colour coming from the exhaust
- finds evidence that the DPF has been tampered with
Additional items included in the MOT
Checks to see if:
- tyres are obviously underinflated
- the brake fluid has been contaminated
- there are fluid leaks posing an environmental risk
- brake pad warning lights and if brake pads or discs are missing
- there are reversing lights on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009
- there are headlight washers on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009 (if they have them)
- there are daytime running lights on vehicles first used from 1 March 2018 (most of these vehicles will have their first MOT in 2021 when they’re 3 years old)
There will be other smaller changes to how some items are checked. Your MOT centre will be able to tell you about these.
The MOT certificate
The design of the MOT certificate now lists any defects under the new categories, so they’re clear and easy to understand.
The service to check the MOT history of a vehicle will be updated to reflect the changes.
Some vehicles over 40 years old won’t need an MOT
Cars, vans, motorcycles and other light passenger vehicles won’t need to have an MOT if they’re over 40 years old and have not been substantially changed. You can check the date the vehicle was registered online.
If a car was first registered on 31 October 1978, it won’t need an MOT from 31 October 2018. You won’t have to apply to stop getting an MOT for your vehicle. However, each time you tax your historic vehicle (even if you don’t pay a fee), you’ll have to declare it meets the rules for not needing an MOT.
The maximum fees MOT centres can charge won’t change.
In January 2018, the government decided to keep the age a vehicle needs its first MOT at 3 years, rather than extend it to 4 years.
You can get a free MOT reminder by text message or email a month before your MOT is due.