top of page

News story

    MOT rule changes: 20 May 2018

The MOT test changed on 20 May 2018, with new defect types, stricter rules for diesel car emissions, and some vehicles over 40 years old becoming exempt.

Published 20 March 2018
Last updated 20 May 2018 — see all updates


Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

The way that the MOT test works in England, Scotland and Wales changed on Sunday 20 May 2018.

The MOT test works differently in Northern Ireland.

The changes affect cars, vans, motorcycles and other light passenger vehicles.

There are 5 main changes you need to know.


    1. Defects are categorised differently

Defects found during the MOT are categorised as either:

  • dangerous

  • major

  • minor

The category the MOT tester gives each item will depend on the type of problem and how serious it is.

MOT testers will still give advice about items you need to monitor. These are known as ‘advisories’.

What the new categories mean

Item result What it means about the item

How it affects your 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. Fail


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

Repair as soon as possible. Pass

Advisory It could become more serious in the future.

Monitor and repair it if necessary. Pass

Pass It meets the minimum legal standard.

Make sure it continues to meet the standard. Pass


2. Stricter rules for diesel car emissions

There are stricter limits for emissions from diesel cars with a diesel particulate filter (DPF).

A DPF captures and stores exhaust soot to reduce emissions from diesel cars.

Check your car’s handbook if you don’t know if your car has a DPF.

Your vehicle will get a major fault if the MOT tester:

  • can see smoke of any colour coming from the exhaust

  • finds evidence that the DPF has been tampered with


3. Some new things are included in the MOT

Daytime running lights will be checked on vehicles first used from 1 March 2018.

Some new items are tested during the MOT.

They include checking:

  • if tyres are obviously 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 on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009

  • headlight washers on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009 (if they have them)

  • daytime running lights on vehicles first used from 1 March 2018 (most of these vehicles will have their first MOT in 2021 when they’re 3 years old)

There are other smaller changes to how some items are checked. Your MOT centre will be able to tell you about these.

Screenshot 2021-02-14 at 13.09.43.png
bottom of page