MOT rule changes: 20 May 2018
From 20th May 2018 the MOT test will be changed to detect new defect types and apply stricter rules for diesel cars. Vehicles over 40 years old could also be exempt from the annual MOT. The change will affect cars, vans, motorcycles and other light passenger vehicles.

What does this mean for you?
The MOT will use a new style of certificate, illustrating very clearly the defects. These defects are categorised in a new way to help the owner understand the actions they need to take or monitor to maintain the vehicle.

The MOT categories:

Item resultWhat it means about the itemHow it affects your MOT resultWhat should you do?
DangerousA direct and immediate risk to road safety or has a serious impact on the environment.FailDo not drive the vehicle until it’s been repaired. 
MajorIt may affect the vehicle’s safety, put other road users at risk or have an impact on the environment.FailRepair it immediately.
MinorNo significant effect on the safety of the vehicle or impact on the environment.PassRepair as soon as possible.
AdvisoryIt could become more serious in the future.PassMonitor and repair it if necessary.
PassIt meets the minimum legal standard.PassMake sure it continues to meet the standard.

Together with making the test results easier to understand for the owner, new items will be tested in the MOT, including:

  • If tyres are obviously underinflated
  • If the brake fluid has been contaminated
  • For fluid leaks posing an environmental risk
  • Brake pad warning lights and if brake pads or discs are missing
  • Reversing lights on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009
  • Headlight washers on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009 (if they have them)
  • Daytime running lights on vehicles first used from 1 March 2018 (most of these vehicles will have their first MOT in 2021 when they’re 3 years old)

There will be other smaller changes to how some items are checked. Your Robinsons Motor Group MOT centre will be able to tell you about these.


Did you know?



Blown light bulbs, worn out windscreen wipers and tyres with too little tread depth account for nearly 50% of failures, so it’s well worth checking these areas before taking your car for its MOT.


Stricter rules for diesel car emissions

There will be stricter limits for emissions from diesel cars with a diesel particulate filter (DPF). A DPF captures and stores exhaust soot to reduce emissions from diesel cars. You can simply check your car’s handbook if you don’t know if your car has a DPF.

Your vehicle will get a major fault if the MOT tester:

  • Can see smoke of any colour coming from the exhaust
  • Finds evidence that the DPF has been tampered with

Some vehicles over 40 years old won’t need an MOT

Cars, vans, motorcycles and other light passenger vehicles won’t need to have an MOT if they’re over 40 years old and have not been substantially changed, see Gov.UK for more info. At the moment, only vehicles first built before 1960 are exempt from needing an MOT.

When the rules change on 20 May 2018, vehicles won’t need an MOT from the 40th anniversary of when they were registered. You can check the date the vehicle was registered online.


More information

  • The maximum fees MOT centres can charge won’t change.
  • In January 2018, the government decided to keep the age a vehicle needs its first MOT at 3 years, rather than extend it to 4 years.
  • You can get a free MOT reminder by text message or email a month before your MOT is due.
  • You can be fined up to £1,000 for driving a vehicle without a valid MOT

Receive reminders from Gov.UK