New MOT rules are due to come into force this spring, but there is already concern that they could put the safety of vehicles at risk. Under the new system, a new set of failure and defect categories will be introduced labelling problems as ‘dangerous’, ‘major’ or ‘minor’. The RAC is concerned that while any dangerous faults will lead to failure, vehicles with minor problems will pass the test.

EU roadworthiness package

The new measures are part of the EU Roadworthiness Package that is being introduced in May 2018. There are concerns that the classification will leave the seriousness of defects open to the interpretation of the tester, and this could lead to confusion.

RAC Spokesman Simon Williams said that while the new changes might seem sensible, they are concerned that many motorists could become confused by the system when indicating how serious a fault is with their car.

Rather than creating a straightforward black and white system of pass or fail, the new system leaves the status of the vehicle open to interpretations and could vary from one test centre to another. There are also other changes coming in that could further confuse matters.

Changing status

For example, under the new guidelines, there will be new criteria for steering mechanisms. A steering box leaking oil would be a minor fault, but there is room for interpretation on the part of the tester. So, while some might see it as trivial, others might see it as dangerous and fail the car.

The RAC went on to say that while they acknowledged that the government had little choice in the new regulations, they believe that the current MOT system works fine and doesn’t need to be amended.

Emissions again

Another area to see a change is emission testing for vehicles, following the scandal in recent years with the diesel cars. Any car that has a diesel particulate filter or DPF will be issued with a ‘major’ fault if there is any visible smoke from the vehicle, regardless of the colour.

There will also be checks to see if the DPF has been ‘tampered’ with or ‘removed’ and if the tester finds it has, then the owner must prove ‘legitimate reasons’ for this action such as cleaning. But any car without one can be failed without any further reason.

This highlights the ongoing anti-diesel movement from the authorities with new measures being harsher on diesel vehicles than on petrol. Garages have been required to check the DPF as part of the MOT since 2014, but the new standards will see an instant fail if the vehicle is producing smoke of any kind and the filter is missing or altered.

Maintaining a DPF

The DPF is designed to capture and store those harmful exhaust particles that cause so many problems when they escape into the air. The issue is they only have a finite lifespan and need to be emptied or burned off to regenerate and continue to function correctly.

In most cases, a good run down the motorway is the solution for removing the excess emissions soot in the DPF. It ensures that the car doesn’t emit smoke of any colour, especially the tell-tale black smoke associated with diesel engines.

Euro 5 regulations introduced in 2009 made them compulsory. If you have one on your vehicle and you haven’t had a good run down the motorway, you might be best to have a garage check the DPF before your MOT comes around.

Get your new MOT

So, under the new test, if your vehicle has any dangerous or significant faults it will be an automatic failure. These new measures with the DPF could condemn diesel cars to a retest. But for minor problems, your car could still pass – but be wary as it could need some more work doing to keep it running in top condition.

How do you feel about the new MOT? Do you think that it is safe? Let us know in the comments below

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