MOT Test Changes – May 2018

From 20 May 2018, there will be new MOT test changes, including; new defect categories, new items being checked, stricter rules for diesel car emissions and some vehicles over 40 years old being exempt from having to take the test altogether.

If your car is ready or due for its MOT soon, you can book your request online now. 

Below we will explain the main changes to the current MOT testing, which will affect cars, vans, motorcycles and any other light passenger vehicles.

New MOT Test defect categories

Any defects found during the MOT will be categorised as either dangerous, major or minor. You will also receive ‘advisories’ as there is with current testing or a complete pass result.

Categories explained:

Category  What this means  Action / Advice  MOT result 
Dangerous Defect will have a direct and immediate risk to road safety or will have a serious impact on the environment. Must not drive the vehicle until it has been fully repaired. Fail
Major Defect will affect the vehicle’s road safety and put others at risk or have an impact on the environment. Must repair the vehicle immediately. Fail
Minor There are no serious or significant safety issues with the vehicle and the impact on the environment. Repair the defect as soon as you can. Pass
Advisory Defect may become more serious in the future. Monitor the defect and repair if this worsens Pass
Pass The vehicle has no defects and meets the minimum legal standard. Ensure the vehicle remains at the minimum legal standard. Pass

New rules for diesel car emissions

For diesel vehicles that have a diesel particulate filter (DPF) there will now be new, stricter rules for emissions.

These new rules mean that your vehicle will receive a ‘major’ fault category if the MOT test finds either of the following:

– Coloured smoke from the exhaust
– Evidence of DPF tampering

New items included in the MOT

Other changes to the MOT testing include item checks such as the following:

– Daytime Running Lights (only on vehicles first used from 1 March 2018)
– Reversing Lights (only on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009)
– Headlight Washers (only if the vehicle has them and were first used from 1 September 2009)
– Brake Pad Warning Lights
– Missing Brake Pads and Discs
– Underinflated tyres
– Brake Fluid contamination
– Fluid Leaks

In addition to this list, there will be some changes to how some items are currently checked. If you would like more info on this, please ask when you book your MOT.

40-year-old vehicle exemption

Any cars, vans, motorcycles, and other light passenger vehicles that are over 40 years of age and have not had any substantial changes done to them (check here) will not require an MOT test.

You do not need to do anything to stop your MOT testing, however, when you tax your vehicle you will have to declare that it meets the rules of MOT exemption.

Other key information
– The design of the MOT certificate will change, listing the new categories in a clear and concise manner

– The maximum fee (£54.85 for a car and £29.65 for a standard motorcycle) will not change

– In January 2018, the proposal to change the MOT testing to begin when the vehicle is 4 years old was not approved, this will continue at the 3-year mark as before

Video overview 

Neil Barlow, Head of MOT Policy at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), briefly explains what the MOT changes are.


These changes will come into effect from 20 May 2018, until then the current MOT testing will continue as before. For further information, please visit

If your car is ready or due for its MOT soon, you can book your request online now. 

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