Last year saw a fundamental overhaul of the MOT test, categories were changed, and emissions clamped down on, consequently nearly double the number of polluting vehicles were either fixed or taken off our roads.
If your car has any sort of smoke coming from the exhaust, it now fails straight away, no matter the colour. If your diesel has had the particulate filter tampered with or removed, again, your car will fail. Further new items tested inc: underinflated tyres, contamination of brake fluid, brake pads & warning lights, fluid leaks, reversing lights, headlight washers, and daytime running lights.
Petrol still accounts for the highest number of emission failures, 292,468 last year in fact, compared to just 58,004 for diesel. Diesel vans have also been particularly hard hit.
However, the main change was the updating of the ambiguous ‘advisories’ list. Before 2018 there would simply be a list of what things need fixing, the majority of people then left these, sometimes for year after year until they broke, causing their car to fail its MOT. There was just no urgency to the list. Acting on this, the DVSA changed the categories to Advisory, Minor, Major and Dangerous.
Advisory still means keep an eye on it and repair if necessary, the fault could become dangerous in the future.
Minor should be repaired as soon as possible but doesn’t affect the vehicles safety or the environment, your car will still pass as with any advisories.
Major clearly means the issue needs to be rectified immediately, and the car will fail the MOT.
Dangerous will see your car off the road until the fault has been fixed, this is where some customers are being held over a barrel by garages.
There have been reports of higher than average repair bills to fix these ‘dangerous’ MOT failures. After all, the garage has your car, and you can’t legally drive it until the fault is fixed.
You do, however, have the right to ask another garage to quote for the work, you can also transport your car to wherever you like for it to be fixed. Garages have no power to stop you taking your vehicle away.
Just don’t drive it, driving with a ‘dangerous’ mark on your MOT failure will invalidate your insurance and could see you being stopped by the police if this happens penalty points will be winging their way to your licence.
Most MOT failures are still down to the basic checks you can perform at home before your test. So what should you check on your car before its MOT?
Lights – Check they all work, headlights, rear lights, side lights, fog, hazards and indicators. Are the number plate lamps on? Do the brake lights work when you press the pedal? Changing a bulb can cost pence and save you a lot of time and hassle.
Wheels & tyres – Make sure your tyres have a minimum of 1.6mm tread across most of the surface. A simple test is to check the markers built into your tread, if the small rubber squares are level, then you need new tyres.
You can also use a 20p coin in the tread as a tester, its outer border is 1.6mm.
Number plates – Are they in good condition? They need to be crack free with the numbers and letters perfectly visible. They also have to be of the legal standard, no fancy fonts.
Wipers – Do they clear water? If they’re smearing the rubber could be damaged or old. Replace them before your test if so.
Horn – Does it make a noise? If so, all good. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to fix it.
Warning lights – If you see an ABS, engine, brake fluid or airbag light on the dash, then your car will fail its MOT. All these lights are also dangerous to drive with, so you should get them fixed as soon as possible.
Those brief checks will take no longer than ten minutes to perform, time well spent to avoid failing then having to rebook, or a potential bill by your garage.
Finally, how do you remember your MOT is due? It's common to forget these days as it used to be tied in with our car tax renewal, now that we don’t receive a paper disk in the post, it's easy to forget that all-important yearly test.
Why not sign up for our free MOT reminder service, just enter your registration along with your email and we’ll get in touch next time you need to book a test.