From 20 May 2018, the MOT will become stricter across several key areas. The changes are meant to adhere to a European Union directive called the EU Roadworthiness Package, and they will range from tougher emissions checks for diesels to new pass and fail categories. These are changes that could affect you, so read on to learn more about them.

Most importantly, faults will be more closely scrutinized and classed as Minor, Major, or Dangerous. Minor faults will be roughly comparable to the current ‘advisory’ notices; essentially, things aren’t bad enough to fail the MOT, but repairs should be conducted at some point in the near future. Any faults classed as Major will require your vehicle to be fixed and retested. If a category of Dangerous is received, it will be illegal for the car to be driven on public roads, and you’ll get an automatic failure of the MOT.

Things will be changing even more when it comes to diesel cars. Expect stricter rules on the permissible level of emission of models fitted with a diesel particulate filter (DPF). If the exhaust produces “visible smoke of any colour”, a Major fault will be automatically applied.

MOT testers will also need to see if the car’s DPF has been either removed or tampered with. If it looks like it has, the tester is required to refuse further testing unless the owner can provide an acceptable reason for why this has happened.

Beyond these main changes, there are three further areas that will be more heavily scrutinised than before. If the steering box has a heavy leak, the car fails the MOT. Additionally, reversing lights must work and brake discs must not be “significantly or obviously worn”.

So, how will these changes affect you?

Well, you’ll need to show evidence if you drive a diesel and the DPF has been replaced or repaired. If you’re buying a diesel car, best to check whether it has a DPF and if it has had any problems in the past. If an orange warning light that looks a little like an exhaust is illuminated, it means the DPF is becoming blocked. If a car has that dash warning light, don’t buy it.

Since blown light bulbs, worn out windscreen wipers, and tires with too little tread depth account for close to 50% of failures, you should check those areas before going for your MOT.

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