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This year, the MoT test is changing.

New defect categories will be introduced while diesel cars will be subject to stricter emissions rules. Here’s an explanation of the main changes:

Defects will be categorised differently

Under the new rules, defects found during the MoT will be categorised as either Dangerous, Major or Minor.

  • 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. Fail.
  • 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.

Approved Test Centre - Foster & HeanesDangerous and Major issues will result in an automatic MoT failure. Minor faults will be recorded on the car's MoT certificate and online MoT record in the same way Advisories are today, but the vehicle will be allowed to pass the test.

The category the MoT tester gives each item will depend on the type of problem and how serious it is. For example, a steering box leaking oil would be categorised as a Minor fault, but if the oil is leaking so badly as to be dripping, it would be considered a Major defect and result in the car failing its MoT.

Stricter rules for diesel car emissions

Diesel cars with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) will be subject to new rules with stricter limits for emissions. A DPF captures and stores exhaust soot to reduce emissions from diesel cars.

Your car will fail its MoT under the Major fault category if the tester:

  • Can see smoke of any colour coming from the exhaust.
  • Finds evidence that the DPF has been tampered with.

New things included in MoT test

These changes will also contain some new items that will be tested during the MoT. These 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).

Your MOT tester will be able to explain more about the test and tell you about other smaller changes to how some items will be checked.

The design of the MOT certificate will also be different, listing any defects under the new categories, so you can clearly see why something has passed or failed.

Is your car due for its MoT?

At Foster & Heanes, we offer MoTs, car servicing, maintenance and repair for all makes and models of vehicles including classic and vintage cars. Free collection and delivery can be arranged if you live near our Fleet or Dogmersfield service centres.


Chatter Alley 
RG27 8SS

Hesters Garage

Upper Street
GU51 3PE


St James Road
GU51 3QH

VW Autos

St James Road
GU51 3QH