What Are The Most Recent Updates To The UK MoT Inspection Guidelines?

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Is your car due for its MoT anytime soon? All cars over three years old are legally required to pass once a year to prove they are roadworthy and meet environmental standards. Many owners dread the stress and potential expense that come with an MoT – but our roads would be far more dangerous without the dozens of checks they involve. 

Most MoTs take around an hour and can be carried out at hundreds of authorised test centres across the UK. It’s easy to book an MoT online now too – and there are other ways that this 60-year old test is being updated to reflect modern standards. 

Knowing what your MoT inspectors will look for can help you understand what to expect and prepare your vehicle as best as possible. Read a summary of the most recent updates to inspection guidelines below.  

New defect categories

Vehicles are no longer simply awarded a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ rating on their MoT. Since May 2020, defects have been categorised as ‘dangerous’, ‘major’ or ‘minor’ – with the first two resulting in an automatic failure. These new categories were devised in 2018 and represent one of the most significant updates to the test in recent history. 

‘Dangerous’ defects are those that post an immediate risk to road safety or could cause environmental harm, while ‘major’ defects are likely to become dangerous issues without immediate repair. ‘Minor’ defects meanwhile pose less of a direct safety or environmental risk, though a quick repair is recommended. 

Two further categories are ‘advisory’, describing issues which may soon become more serious, and ‘pass’, which means a vehicle meets legal requirements.  

Older tyres banned

An update that came into force from February 2021 banned the use of tyres that are over 10 years old on the front axles of lorries, buses and coaches, as well as the single wheels of minibuses.

The change was driven by a public campaign following a fatal coach crash in 2012.

Tougher emissions checks

Another update on the horizon is stricter emissions targets. All vehicles will soon need to meet certain emissions limits to demonstrate that systems such as internal combustion engines are still performing as designed.  

No official start date has been confirmed, though the head of MoT policy at the DVSA is keen to push on. Meeting environmental targets will not only fulfil government aims but also improve our health, Neil Barlow advises. 

Advanced safety systems

Looking further ahead, advanced safety systems such as speed limiters, automatic braking and lane-keeping assistance could also become part of MoT checks. It’s similarly yet to be decided which categories of safety systems will fall under the test, however. 

The MoT test is slowly but surely evolving in line with modern vehicles and driving considerations. Is your motor up to these new standards? 

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