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What You Need to Know About the New MOT Defect Categories

11 May 2018

Category: Articles, Industry News

Why is the MOT Changing?

The MOT is one of the main legal safety requirements for a vehicle, complementing the requirement for a vehicle to be considered roadworthy. As most of us should know, it is illegal to drive a vehicle which is deemed as dangerous. The new defect categories will remove any ambiguity around what is, and is not considered as a dangerous defect. Currently, an MOT tester can either pass or fail a vehicle and provide advisory notices for specific components. New defect categories will ensure motorists are clear on what is and isn’t safe, and the MOT certificates provided to customers will also be changing to reflect the new categories. The change comes as part of EU Directive 2014/45, and will come in to force across all EU member states.

When Will the New MOT Categories Come into Force?

The new MOT defect categories will become effective from the 20th May 2018. The DVSA will be launching a new training environment into the MOT testing service to help garages and workshops get to grips with the new categories. The MOT inspection manual for testers will change in May to include the new, changed and removed failures and checks. The new MOT inspection manual will also feature improved and updated information. Keep an eye on the DVSA website for news about the new testing environment.

What are the New MOT Defect Categories?

The current system allows testers to pass or fail vehicles with advisories where applicable. The new categories will include Dangerous, Major and Minor. The table below provides information about the new defect categories, and what it means for motorists.


Item result What it means about the item How it affects the MOT result
Dangerous* A direct and immediate risk to road safety or has a serious impact on the environment.

Do not drive the vehicle until it’s been repaired.

Major* It may affect the vehicle’s safety, put other road users at risk or have an impact on the environment.

Repair it immediately.

Minor* No significant effect on the safety of the vehicle or impact on the environment.

Repair as soon as possible.

Advisory It could become more serious in the future.

Monitor and repair it if necessary.

Pass It meets the minimum legal standard.

Make sure it continues to meet the standard.


(DVSA, 2018)

*New MOT defect categories


What Does this Mean for MOT Testers?

Garages and MOT testers will have new MOT certificates at their disposal. The new design of the MOT certificate will help drivers understand which vehicle components are in need of urgent attention to ensure roadworthiness, and which components have minor defects that are likely to cause problems in the near future.

Example of the new MOT Test Certificate:

New MOT Test Certificate


How Will the New MOT Test Affect Motorists

The new dangerous defect categories are predefined by the DVSA. This will help motorists by bringing consistency to the testing process which may have resulted in testers interpreting dangerous defects differently. The new MOT Test Certificate also clearly informs the driver that driving a vehicle with dangerous defects is illegal, whilst most drivers know this, the new certificate reiterates the message.

Diesel Vehicles

If you drive a diesel vehicle, the MOT test is about to get tougher for you. Any vehicle with a DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) that emits visible smoke of any colour will receive a major fault and an automatic MOT failure. There are also new checks for emission control equipment, which includes checking AdBlue systems for defects and leaks.

New Checks

There are a number of new checks which are due to be added to the MOT testing process, these include inspection of daytime running lights and front fog lights (for cars first used after March 2018). Motorists can also expect new checks on prop shafts and reversing lights.

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