Dave Moss comprehensively explains what’s happening.
Various changes to the MOT test rules in England Scotland and Wales come in to force on Sunday May 20th 2018. Most of them affect all light vehicles over 3 years old, but there is also a big change for owners of classic vehicles. From that date, cars, vans, motorcycles and other light passenger vehicles won’t need an MOT from the 40th anniversary of their first registration – as long as they have not been substantially changed or modified. At present, the exemption from MoT testing applies only to most vehicles first built before 1960.
Its important to note that the new relaxation is based on the anniversary of first registration date, and no leeway has been indicated by the Driver and Vehicle Standards agency (DVSA). So a vehicle currently taxed, insured and in use, and first registered on any date after May 20th 1978, will continue to require a valid MoT until it reaches its 40th birthday. This could be rather unfortunate if the MoT history doesn’t align with the original registration date – a common situation as vehicles get older. The maximum fine for driving a vehicle without a valid MOT is £1000….
As with most pre-1960 vehicles which already have an MoT exemption, from 20th May there will be nothing preventing an owner of any vehicle over 40 years old from submitting it for an MoT test, even though it may not be legally required. MoT history gives a lot of information about the vehicle.
Though there will be no requirement to specifically apply for exemption from MoT testing, a declaration stating that no MoT is required must be made each time a licence for vehicles in the historic tax class is either renewed or applied for. Where an historic vehicle which is 40 years old or more on 20th May 2018 is currently “taxed” at £0, but has an MoT expiry date different from the tax expiry date for any reason, the DVSA has confirmed there is no need to renew the MoT to cover the remaining period up to the date of the next licence renewal. However, if the vehicle is currently licensed in the £0 taxation class and approaching 40 years old, but the MoT expires any time before its 40th birthday, another MoT will be required to allow continued legal use on the road until it reaches 40 years old.
The annual “no MoT needed” declaration is required because by law the DVLA cannot issue a vehicle licence – even in the £0 tax-exempt category – unless a valid MoT (where required) or an exemption from MoT is in place at the time of licensing. It’s necessary to declare annually that no MoT is required, since not all 40 year old vehicles will be exempt after May 20th. The Department for Transport (DfT) has issued a guidance leaflet on the exemption criteria, which is available here:
The onus is on the registered keeper to state that the vehicle meets the MoT exemption rules each year during the licensing process. If at any stage it’s modified in a way which places it outside the DfT rules, an MoT test pass will be required before a licence is issued. After 20th May 2018, if licensing any MoT exempt vehicle over 40 years old at a Post Office, a completed and signed DVLA form V112 will need to accompany the application. However, if licensing it online, the exemption declaration can be made electronically.
As long as, when new, the vehicle was originally logged on DVLA computers, and hasn’t had a number plate change or a somewhat chequered or indeterminate early career, its history can usually be checked. Its possible to do an online MoT history check back to 2005, and discover the date a vehicle was first registered, at https://www.gov.uk/check-mot-history
Other changes to MoT testing rules
New categories of faults and defects are being introduced, and there are five main additions to the list of items tested, affecting the MoT on cars, vans, motorcycles and other light passenger vehicles. All the changes come into effect on May 20th 2018.
The fees for MoT tests will remain at existing levels, currently £54.85 for a car. See https://www.gov.uk/getting-an-mot/mot-test-fees for the full MoT test rate card.
New defect categories
Defects are to be categorised differently – as dangerous, major, or minor. Problems will be rated by the MoT tester depending on what exactly is wrong, and just how serious it is. As currently, advice will still be provided by testers on items which don’t constitute a fail, but need watching. These are already well known – as “advisories.”
An MoT fail will result from any item categorised as dangerous, which the DVSA is defining as a “direct and immediate risk to road safety, or has a serious impact on the environment.” For anything in this category, the Agency says: “The vehicle should not be driven until it’s been repaired.”
A fail will also result from anything in the eyes of the tester which they feel is “major.” The DVSA says this is something which “may affect the vehicle’s safety, put other road users at risk, or have an impact on the environment.” The Agency says such items should be repaired immediately.
Issues described as “Minor” with “no significant effect on the safety of the vehicle or impact on the environment” should be monitored, and “repaired as soon as possible.” These will result in a pass, and advisories will also continue to mean a pass, with the DVSA advice being to “monitor and repair as necessary.”
New testable items to be included in the MOT
From 20th of May, Diesel particulate filter-equipped diesels will fail the MoT if the tester can see smoke of any colour coming from the exhaust, or finds evidence that the DPF has been tampered with in any way.
There will also be checks to see if…
- Tyres are obviously under-inflated;
- Brake fluid has been contaminated;
- Any fluid leaks are posing an environmental risk;
- Brake pad warning lights are lit, and if brake pads or discs are missing;
- Reversing lights work – on vehicles first used from 1st September 2009;
- Headlight washers (where fitted) are working on vehicles first used from 1st September 2009
- Daytime running lights are working on vehicles first used from 1 March 2018 (their first MoTs will be becoming due in 2021, at 3 years old)
There are a few other minor changes, involving how some items are checked: more information is available from any authorised test centre.
Changes to the MOT certificate
The current MOT test certificate (shown below, left) will change to a new style form (shown below, right) and list the new categories and types of defects. The DVSA says the aim is to improve clarity, and make the content as easy to understand as possible.