The New MOT Test | Helston Garages

The NEW MOT Test – What’s Different?

For those of you that don’t know (and we suspect that there may be a few of you), the annual MOT test for vehicles changed on 20th May 2018.

Some will tell you that they’ve tried to simplify certain things, others will tell you that it’s to crack down on environmental issues that cars contribute to, but the long and the short of it is that there are five main changes that you should know before having your vehicle tested.

​Defects will be categorised differently; Dangerous, Major and Minor

  • ​Dangerous: The vehicle should not be driven until a repair is carried out, the vehicle poses an immediate risk to yourself or other road users, or the environment. FAIL
  • Major: An issue that could affect the safety of the vehicle, put other road users at risk or have an effect on the environment. Needs immediate repair. FAIL
  • Minor: No significant effect on the safety of the vehicle, other road users or the environment, it should be repaired as soon as possible. PASS
  • Advisory: Similar to the previous test, an issue that could become more serious if not monitored, best course of action is to monitor and repair if necessary. PASS
  • Pass: The vehicle meets the minimum standard for a pass, no action needed other than ensuring that it continues to meet that standard. PASS

Stricter Emissions

  • A vehicle (but particularly diesel) will get an immediate MAJOR fault if the MOT testing station sees smoke of any colour from the exhaust system, or if the tester finds signs of the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) having been tampered with. 

Ancillary Checks

  • The new test includes such things as checking for obvious underinflation of the tyres, contamination of the brake fluid, fluid leaks of any sort that pose a risk to the environment, brake system warning lights and also time-relevant checks – reversing lights fitted to cars after 1st September 2009, headlight washer systems on vehicles from 1st September 2009 and Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) on vehicles first used from March 2018. 

New Certificate Design

  • The certificate will be redesigned with the aim of being easier to understand, although we’re not sure that’s ever been a problem. 

Exclusion for Some Vehicles

  • Currently, a vehicle that was registered before 1960 doesn’t need an MOT certificate, but the new changes mean that a vehicle that is over forty years old will now no longer need an MOT certificate, providing that it hasn’t had significant changes over the course of its lifetime. 

The Difference

As to what real and practical difference the new MOT will make, aside from the emissions, isn’t that clear – an MOT tester has always had the ability to say if something posed an immediate danger to health, thereby giving an instant fail, and we don’t really know what classifies as MINOR; a split balljoint rubber? Minor play in the steering rack?

We see that the emissions testing could be an issue for older diesel drivers, although most testing stations give the engine a good clear out before testing, but you’ll only need slightly worn piston rings or valve guides and it will fail due to oil burning.


For more information or to make an enquiry, please contact a member of our team.

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