Changes to the MOT test - May 2018

From 20th May 2018 the MOT changed, with new defect categories, stricter rules for diesel car emissions and some vehicles over 40 years old becoming exempt. The changes affect cars, vans, motorcycles and other light passenger vehicles.

Why the changes were made

The changes were introduced as part of EU Directive 2014/45, which came into effect on 20 May 2018.

The UK voted to leave the EU in the 23 June 2016 EU referendum. The government is now preparing to leave the EU in the best possible way for the UK’s national interest.

However, the UK was still an EU member on 20 May 2018 when the directive came into force. The UK government could have faced ongoing substantial fines if it didn’t introduce the changes.

There’s also a risk that vehicles without a compliant EU MOT would not be allowed into other EU countries.

Below we have listed some of the new MOT rules so that our customers have a clearer understanding of it. 

The new MOT defect categories are:

DANGEROUS                                           MAJOR                                                    MINOR 

Your vehicle will fail if it has any DANGEROUS or MAJOR defects. 

What the new categories mean:


- If your vehicle fails its MOT on a DANGEROUS defect and you drive on public roads you could be fined up to £2,500 and receive 3 penalty points! 

The design of the MOT certificate has also changed.

It lists any defects under the new categories, so they’re clear and easy for drivers to understand.

                                            OLD                                                     NEW

Vehicle classifications

Vehicle categories now align to the European type-approval categories, and these appear on the MOT certificate.

From the 20th May 2018 some additional items will be checked during the mot test including;

New items for your car to fail on have also been introduced

New rules for diesel vehicles 

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

-You can check your cars handbook if you don't know if your car has a DPF-

Your vehicle will FAIL on a MAJOR fault if the MOT tester:

  • can see smoke of any colour coming from the exhaust
  • find evidence that the DPF has been tampered with

Older Vehicles - 40 Years +

Cars, vans, motorcycles and other light passenger vehicles don’t need to have an MOT if they’re over 40 years old and have not been substantially changed in the previous 30 years.

Previously, only vehicles first built before 1960 were exempt from needing an MOT.

Since the rules changed on 20 May 2018, vehicles meeting the criteria no longer need an MOT from the 40th anniversary of when they were registered.


If a car was first registered on 31 May 1978, it won’t need an MOT from 31 May 2018.

What drivers need to do

Drivers don’t have to apply to stop getting an MOT for their vehicle.

However, each time they tax their historic vehicle (even if they don’t pay a fee), drivers will have to declare it meets the rules for not needing an MOT.


Drivers must still keep their vehicle in a roadworthy condition. You can be fined up to £2,500 and get 3 penalty points for using a vehicle in a dangerous condition.