Stringent new rules for MOT tests in England, Scotland, and Wales come into force this Sunday (20 May 2018).
The old style ‘pass or fail’ MOT is being replaced by three defect categories - dangerous, major and minor. The category applied will depend on the type and seriousness of the problem.
However, there will now be two 'failure' classes – dangerous and major. If a car fails with a dangerous result, it will be illegal to drive it on the public road, with the owner facing a £2,500 fine and up to six penalty points if they drive it to another garage to be repaired or to the scrapyard.
Under the new rules, checks will include: whether tyres are obviously underinflated; if brake fluid has been contaminated; for fluid leaks posing an environmental risk; brake pad warning lights and if brake pads or discs are missing. New rules will also be introduced to test emissions which will be much harder to pass, particularly for diesel cars that came with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) to clean up its emissions.
Matt Oliver, car insurance spokesperson at comparison website GoCompare says: “If your car’s MOT has expired, it’s illegal to drive it on the road and you could be prosecuted for doing so. The only exception allowed would be if you’d already booked an MOT and were driving to the test, which you would have to prove to the police.”
He adds: “Drivers caught without an up-to-date MOT also risk invalidating their car insurance. This could lead to penalties for driving uninsured, leaving the driver liable for any costs if they were involved in an accident and adversely impact the cost of and their ability to buy insurance in the future.”
See the table below for the new MOT categories:
|New MOT result category||What this means about the item||How this affects a MOT result|
|Dangerous||A direct and immediate risk to road safety or has a serious impact on the environment. Do not drive the vehicle until it’s 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|
Source: Gov.uk, 17 May 2018
2.6 million cars need a MOT for the first time this year
A record 2.6 million cars will need a MOT for the first time in 2018.
Research carried out by Driver and Vehicle Standard Agency (DVSA) shows that around 28% of cars, at any one time, are overdue for a MOT, with three-quarters of them being late simply because their owners had forgotten the date. While there’s no universal system of MOT reminders, last November the DVSA launched its ‘Get MOT reminder’ a free service which drivers can sign up to.
According to DVSA figures, in the last financial year, the initial MOT failure rate was 35.4%. The most common initial failure faults were for: lighting/signalling (18.3%); suspension (12.2%); tyres (7.4%); driver’s view of the road (e.g. rear-view mirrors) (6.8%), and steering (2.6%).
Approximately 1.8 million cars a year are scrapped in the UK, the majority being between 10 and 16 years old. It's possible that the tougher new MOT test will lead to a rise in this figure.
“Motorists who make the decision to scrap their car might worry about how to get it from the garage to the scrap car recycling centre, especially given the changes to the MOT rules,” says Rebecca Currier, spokesperson for CarTakeBack.com, the UK's largest scrap car recycling network.
“But fortunately, everything can be sorted out online. By entering the postcode and the registration number of the car you'd like to scrap into our website you'll be given an instant online quote. We can collect your vehicle from the garage.
“Scrap car prices have fluctuated in recent years. But now they are looking very healthy – 40% up on this time last year. Currently, the average price offered through CarTakeBack for a medium sized car is about £100 including collection although it could be more if there are any re-usable parts to add to its scrap value.”
Motorists should, however, shop around for the best price before scrapping their car. They also need to be wary of unlicensed scrap car recycling centres run by dodgy dealers. One way to spot a dodgy dealer is if they offer cash for your scrap car. That has been made illegal in England, Scotland, and Wales to cut down on scrap metal theft. Except for Northern Ireland, any payment for a scrap car should be made by made by cheque or bank transfer.
If the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) isn't notified that a car is scrapped or repaired and returned to the road, the registered keeper remains liable for the vehicle and will be responsible for making sure it's taxed or registered with a Statutory Off-Road Notice (SORN). Failure to do so will result in an automatic fine of £80.