What you need to know about the new 2018 MOT test

Written by Ellie

Changes to the MOT test will introduce stricter rules for diesel car emissions and a three-tier defect system.

The revised MOT test will take effect from Sunday May 20th in England, Scotland and Wales but not Northern Ireland. These are the key changes you need to know about:

Diesel emissions

Stricter emission limits for diesel cars with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) will be introduced as part of the revised test.

A DPF captures and stores exhaust soot to reduce emissions from diesel cars and vehicles will receive a major fault and instant fail if the MOT tester can see smoke of any colour coming from the exhaust or finds evidence that the DPF has been tampered with.


Defects discovered during the test will be categorised as either dangerous, major or minor and will depend on the type of problem and how serious it is.

Dangerous and major defects will result in an instant fail and require immediate repair before being allowed back on the road. Vehicles with minor defects may still be passed but testers will advise that the fault is addressed as soon as possible.

MOT testers will still give advice about issues motorists need to monitor, also known as advisories.

New items

Seven new items have been introduced to the MOT test.

Testers will now check:

  • if tyres are significantly 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 and headlight washers on vehicles used from September 2009
  • daytime running lights on vehicles first used from March 2018
    (although most of these vehicles won’t have their first MOT until 2021 when they turn three years)

Certificate design

The actual paper MOT certificate has been redesigned to make it clearer and easier to understand.

It will now list any defects under the new categories, while the service to check the MOT history of a vehicle will be updated to reflect the changes.

Classics will be exempt

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.

Previously, only vehicles first built before 1960 didn’t require an MOT, but the new changes extends this to vehicles that were registered more than 40 years ago.

Ellie Baker, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, reacted to the changes by saying: “This revised MOT test includes some real common sense measures and shows that the Driver and Vehicle Standard Agency is moving with the times.”

Subscribe to our newsletter here

Posted on 16th May 2018

< Back to Latest News