New MoT fault categories: Minor, Major and Dangerous
The new Minor, Major and Dangerous categories will be applied to all cars, and are being introduced to meet a new EU directive, dubbed the European Union Roadworthiness Package. Neil Barlow, head of MoT policy for the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) told Auto Express the new categories would “help motorists do the right thing – IE not drive away from a garage. We’re changing the wording on the certificate”, Barlow said; “We’ve done a lot of research with motorists to find out what sort of information helps”.
One example of the new criteria, set out in a draft DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) MoT guide, concerns steering: a steering box leaking oil would get a Minor fault; if the oil is leaking so badly as to be dripping, that would constitute a Major defect, causing the car to fail its MoT.
If the steering wheel itself, meanwhile, was so loose as to be “likely to become detached”, that would constitute a Dangerous failure, and the MoT certificate flag this up to the car’s owner with greater urgency. Barlow added that more explicit safety warnings would be included on certificates for cars with serious faults, with the Road Traffic Act and penalties for dangerous vehicles likely to be highlighted.
Eric Smith, MoT scheme manager at Kwik Fit, which carries out almost a million MoTs a year clarified that this would bring the terminology in line with the wording of the Road Traffic Act, “A Dangerous item means that vehicle should not be driven away from the garage,” adding: “Driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition is a criminal offence.”
New MoT diesel emissions tests and other changes
Emissions testing will also get tougher, with changes that will, according to a Government blog on the subject: “lower the limits for diesel cars”. The draft MoT inspection manual for May’s changes explains that if the “exhaust on a vehicle fitted with a diesel particulate filter emits visible smoke of any colour” the car should be marked as having a Major defect, and fail its test.
Other changes to the MoT test include the addition of a check for reverse lights, while brake discs will be inspected to see if they are “significantly or obviously worn”, as well as taking in current checks for oil contamination of the disc, and how securely they are attached to the wheel hubs.
Commenting on the changes, RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “While on the surface this change, which is part of an EU Directive due to come into force in May, seems like a sensible move, we fear many motorists could end up being confused.
“Rather than MOT failures simply being black and white, the new system creates the potential for confusion as testers will have to make a judgement as to whether faults are ‘Dangerous’, ‘Major’ or ‘Minor’.
“Motorists may also struggle to understand the difference between ‘Dangerous’ and ‘Major’ failures. The current system ensures that any vehicle with a fault that doesn’t meet the MOT requirements is repaired appropriately before being allowed back on the road.
“We understand the Government has little choice in the matter, but gut instinct says if the system isn’t broken, why mess with it?”