Motor Trades and The New MOT Rules

Motor Trades, New MOT RulesNew MOT rules were introduced in May 2018 to improve vehicle technology and maintenance across Europe, aiming to reduce road-related fatalities by 2050 and improve emission control systems to save the environment from further damage.

However, there is still confusion among drivers and those in garage motor trades alike. With theoretically higher costs and more scrupulous assessments, are you confident your front of house team and your backroom mechanics have all the facts? Not keeping up with the latest rules could affect your motor trade insurance.

What is the MOT Test?

At the moment in the UK, all cars over three-years-old must legally have a MOT test carried out every year by an approved Test Centre. The MOT test checks the technical specifications of a vehicle to make sure it’s safe to drive and identifies toxic emissions that could potentially harm the environment.

The latest shake-up of the rules is designed to keep you and other drivers safe. Failure to obtain a MOT certificate usually invalidates the owner’s car insurance, so the MOT inspection is an important annual date for car owners to remember.

And that goes for those in the motor trades such as garages, dealers and fleet managers too because If you handle vehicle sales and servicing, motor mechanics or breakdown services you may be impacted by the changes to MOTs.

Recent changes introduced new stricter criteria for vehicles, but a lot of people are struggling to comprehend just how this all works. A survey from the RAC shows that more than 50 per cent of people didn’t even know about the changes when they were first introduced. In the motor trade some garages are finding it tough to categorise vehicle faults and legal drivability under this new MOT criteria.

The New MOT Defect Categories

The biggest change to the MOT has been with defect categories. The MOT now requires traders to test specific parts of a vehicle and evaluate them more thoroughly.

  • Pass – the vehicle meets the minimum legal standard.
  • Advisory – a defect that could become more serious in the future.
  • Minor – no substantial effect on the safety of the vehicle or the impact on the environment, but repair is recommended ASAP.
  • Major – the item should be repaired immediately. It may affect the vehicle’s safety or put other road users at risk or impact the environment.
  • Dangerous – it is prohibited to drive the vehicle until this item is repaired due to the immediate risk to road safety or impact on the environment. If a car is classed as having a dangerous defect, the owner won’t be able to drive it away from the garage and repairs will need to be done onsite.

    In addition, there are some new factors to look at in the MOT test itself. These include:

  • Checking whether the tyres are underinflated.
  • Testing the headlight washers.
  • Looking to see if the brake fluid has been contaminated.
  • Reversing lights (for vehicles newer than September 2009)
  • Daytime running lights (for vehicles newer than March 2018)
  • Analysing any leaks to see if they might pose an environmental risk.


A Word on Diesel Emissions

The new MOT rules see diesel hit hard too. Any car fitted with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) that projects visible smoke during testing will receive a major fault resulting in an automatic MOT fail. Unlike the previous MOT, which involved a visible inspection of the DPF filter, the new rules require that the particular vehicle component must be removed and examined for the new assessment to be valid. The test will also fail if the DPF has been tampered with in any way.

For those in the motor trade who deal with large volumes of vehicles, this means learning and applying a whole new set of rules to keep their businesses on the right side of the law. MOT centres need to very quickly educate both themselves and their team on the changes.

For more information please give us a call on 0333 313 1111.

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