The list below is taken from the draft MOT Inspection manual and includes all the main additions, amendments, or clarifications to testable items involving Class 4 (M1) cars. At the time of writing, the changes listed are yet to be finalised and are expected to run beyond the implementation date. Yet, alterations are likely to be minor. The MOT inspection manual is replaced by an online web service in html form http://bit.ly/MOT18changes.
New defect categories
Unless informed beforehand, the first thing that a customer will notice is a new format pass/fail certificate, especially if their car has failed on a new testable item. The public, testers and the Vehicle Testing Station (VTS) will have to become familiar with four defect categories and the DVSA advises strongly that testers study the finalised online html version of the MOT Inspection Manual carefully, prior to determining a particular fault’s classification. In practice, the distinction between categories can be blurred, not helped by certain ambiguous phrases being used in the draft version of the Inspection Manual that we have scrutinised (the final version being unavailable at the time of writing) but it is hoped that any issues will be solved as the new system is implemented.
A ‘Pass’ is fairly straightforward to understand. Although ‘Advisories’ remain, the eventual intention is to remove free-text entries altogether, because the DVSA is enhancing the number and quality of pre-defined items available on the secure MTS system. Not every tester is in favour of this.
‘Minor’ defects still result in the car passing the examination. Some of these were former Reason For Rejections (RFR), such as direction indicator flash rate, tyre valve condition, or a trailer electrical socket being insecure, but these examples will not fail the test any more. Yet, they must be itemised. A tester that fails to identify and record them risks disciplinary action. Yet, ‘Minor’ defects can be used to improve customer service and, possibly, profitability as well. It needs to be remembered that, as a Road Traffic Officer has instant access to a chosen vehicle’s MOT history, your customer can be at risk of road traffic offences (such as driving an unroadworthy vehicle) unless you highlight, in your duty of care obligations, the need to have the ‘Minors’ fixed, before the car leaves the workshop.
Unsurprisingly, ‘Major’ defects are serious faults, not dissimilar to the previous RFR, which will cause the vehicle to fail, as will the most severe ‘Dangerous’ classification. In the latter case, the defect is so critical that the customer should be advised strongly not to drive the car away.
Speaking to Autotechnician, the DVSA advises that the criminal offence of driving vehicles with dangerous defects has not changed and Neil Barlow (Head of MOT Policy for the DVSA) told the retail motoring press that the ‘Dangerous’ category,
“…helps motorists do the right thing – i.e. not drive away from a garage.”
Eric Smith, Kwik Fit’s MoT scheme manager concurs that the new MOT terminology is more in line now with the wording of the Road Traffic Act, in that a test failure on a ‘Dangerous’ item means that the vehicle should not leave the premises.
Yet, the refusal to release a customer vehicle risks courting conflict between the car owner and the testing station, as well as raising the question of legal liability, should a garage permit a dangerous car to leave its premises and an incident occurs afterwards, particularly as an insurance policy might well be voided. Fortunately for the VTS that has to break the news to the presenter, this advice is repeated on the MOT failure certificate, which gives garage official back-up to justify a potential reluctance to release the keys, until the defects are repaired. Autotechnican queried the DVSA about how this ‘enforcement’ of existing British law would affect certain VTS, such as those run by local authorities, which do not carry out repairs. The answer received was that the vehicle should be recovered by a suitable company. Legally, this would mean that the car is removed from the premises, presumably with all four wheels off the ground.
Section 0: Identifying the Vehicle
If a VIN has been falsified, a Major fault results.
Section 1: Brakes
A handbrake pivot that is too tight can be failed; it must release correctly (Minor or Major, depending on performance)
Parking brake control missing, defective or inoperative is a Major fault.
Parking brake efficiency: below minimum requirement is a Major fault; less than 50% of the required value is a Dangerous fault.
Insufficient brake vacuum – the brake must hold four applications of vacuum after warning has operated (which indicates a Major fault) or two applications (indicating a Dangerous fault). This may indicate, on some cars (such as P38 Range Rovers with Teves Mark II ABS) that the brake pressure accumulator is faulty.
Electronic park brake warning lamp indicates a fault – Major.
Incorrect functioning of a brake fluid level warning lamp is a Minor.
Low brake fluid can be either a Minor, or Major fault, depending on how significantly below the minimum mark it is on the reservoir.
A defective/ineffective brake servo is a Major fault. An inoperative one is a Dangerous fault.
The defect category of Dangerous has been added for brake pipe wall thickness, if reduced by more than 1/3. It can be used if there is an imminent risk of brake failure. If the pipe is excessively corroded, then this would be a Major. The DVSA admits this is hard to judge, in which case the benefit of the doubt must be given.
Brake pad wear indicator illuminated – Major.
Missing pad or incorrectly mounted brake pad – Dangerous.
Missing drum or disc – Dangerous.
Brake cable guide defective affecting operation – Major.
Unsafe braking system modifications – Dangerous, if affecting brake performance, or Major if not.
ABS but not be disabled on cars used on or after 1st Jan 2010
Brake fluid contaminated – Major defect. A visual check of transparent reservoirs is needed only, for example, sediment. Do not remove the cap.
The check for reserve pressure on full-power hydraulic systems has been removed.
Section 2 – steering
The steering sector shaft cannot be twisted, have worn splines or exhibit excessive movement – if any are present, a Major fault results. If functionality is affected, this is a Dangerous defect.
Elongated steering gear fixing holes – Major. If the attachment is likely to fall off, this would be Dangerous.
Steering with an unsafe modification that is affecting the steering adversely is a Dangerous fault. If likely to affect the steering, it’s a Major fault.
PAS – likewise, a power steering component with an unsafe modification can be classed as Major, or Dangerous for the same reasons.
Power steering pipe, hose or wiring that’s damaged, or corroded, is a Major, or Dangerous.
Unsafe modification to the steering column – Major fault.
Fly by wire steering – If the angle of the steering wheel and road wheels are inconsistent to the extent that the steering is adversely affected, this would be a Dangerous fault.
Section 3 – Visibility
Front side windows are now tested, as is the view of exterior mirrors.
A new failure for excessively tinted glass includes side windows when it affects the view of an obligatory external mirror.
Windscreen damage: Failure is only justified where the damage materially affects the driver’s view of the road. It is not necessary to speculate on the effects on tall or short drivers.
If a front windscreen wiper is missing, or obviously not clearing the windscreen, a Major fault results.
Section 4 – Lamps, reflectors and other electrical equipment
An LED headlight can earn a Minor for less than 50% of modules being inoperative, or Major for more than 50% of the light sources do not function.
A new major failure on headlamps, where the light source and lamp are not compatible (Major) means that HID and LED conversion kits fitted to halogen lamp housings will now fail the test.
Headlight cleaning is required only for cars thus fitted used on, or after, 1st Sept 2009.
Daytime running lamps to be included on passenger cars used after 1 March 2018.
Front fog lamps included on cars used after 1st March 2018
Reversing lamps not working on cars used after 1st September 2009 is a Minor, if they are likely to become detached, or there is a switching fault (i.e. they do not switch off when a forward gear is selected), a Major defect results.
Information added about the interaction between position lamps and other lamps. Where the role of the front position lamp is carried out by the DRL, they may dim when the rear position lamps are switched on and may extinguish when the headlamps, or front fog lamps, are illuminated.
If the vehicle width exceeds 2.1 metres, end-outline marker lamps are included.
Section 5 – Axles, wheels, tyres and suspension
Wheels – any fracture or effect on the wheel or a wheel not compatible with its fixings is a Major, not a Dangerous defect.
Tyre cuts can be assessed now using a blunt instrument – if cords are revealed, a Dangerous defect results, as are large cuts, where the cord can be felt but not seen.
Stretched tyres are not a cause for rejection in themselves but check sidewall condition. The DVSA had issued advice here but, as checks for valve condition and tyres being seated correctly on the bead rim have been removed, it is harder to fail an over-stretched tyre.
If the TPMS is malfunctioning it may give an indication of low tyre pressure, although an obviously underinflated tyre without any warning would indicate it is not working correctly, This is a Minor fault. Inoperative TPMS is a Major fault on cars used after 1st January 2012.
Checks for tyre structure between front and rear axle is removed (i.e. crossply and radial) but tyres must still be of the same construction across an axle.
Underinflated tyre is a major fault.
A missing spring, where modified vehicles run on their bump stops is a major. Modified (including ‘cut’) springs is also a major, unless if directional control is affected, then both are ‘Dangerous’.
Section 6 – Body, structure and equipment
Clarification is provided on fractured, or deformed, load bearing structural members and vehicle structure.
Exhaust fumes entering the cabin is classed as Major, if entering the cabin, or Dangerous if causing danger to health.
If a fuel tank is holed, or the filler neck split, it should be classed as leaking, even if the leak is not evident.
Missing fuel or exhaust shields – Dangerous, if creating a fire risk.
Any part of lpg/cng/lng/hydrogen fuel system defective – Dangerous
Spare wheel carrier and bumpers that are either insecure (Major) or likely to become detached is a Dangerous defect.
A towbar safety device damaged / not operating or the towbar coupling indicator not working is a Major fault.
Issues with transmission shafts (now including propshafts) are all Major, or Dangerous defects. These include worn bearings, joints, chains/belts, loose or missing bolts, bent shafts, insecure, or fractured bearing housings. Only severely deteriorated CV joint boots are Minor items, although missing/split boots are still Major faults.
Bodywork with an unsafe modification, especially if it affects steering or braking, can be either Major, or Dangerous.
The condition and security of the driver, passenger and boot floor are now included as either Major, or Dangerous fails.
Driver and passenger seats with defective structures, are either Major, or Dangerous defects
Any sound deadening material, or undertray, insecure or likely to become detached is either Major, or Dangerous.
Floor condition is included for corrosion checks (including boot floor), regardless of how far away a load bearing component is located.
Section 7 – Other equipment (SRS, seat belts, speedometer, horn, stability control)
If folded seats cannot be raised to check for seatbelt condition, you can refuse to test the vehicle.
All seat belts are inspected, including child seats/restraints that are attached to the vehicle using nuts/bots, or ISOFIX mountings. Any anchorages used to secure disabled persons’ belts or wheelchairs are also subject to examination.
Section 8 – Nuisance
This new section includes noise, exhaust emissions and fluid leaks.
Leaks are considered excessive if they form a 75mm diameter pool in 5 mins – Major fault. It would be a Dangerous fault if the leak is continuous. This excludes engine coolant, Ad Blue, air conditioning water discharge and screenwash.
Emissions equipment emissions check includes not only catalysers and DPFs but also EGR valves and other equipment. If not present, modified, defective, or there is an induction leak, a Major fail results.
Aside from a visual inspection for the presence of a DPF, if evidence of a canister that has been cut open, it should be rejected unless evidence can be provided by the presenter that the canister was cut open for legitimate reasons, such as filter cleaning.
For diesels, there is no ‘fast pass’. Pre-1980s diesels will be subjected to a visual test only.
Post 1980 diesels are assessed on the emission level provided on the manufacturer’s plate, if known.
Smoke emissions limits cut for certain diesels on cars depending on age and with/without turbochargers:
1981 – June 2008: Non turbo – ≤2.5m-1 Turbo – ≤3.0m-1
July 2008 – December 2013 (Euro V) – All types: ≤1.5m-1
January 2014 onwards (Euro VI) – All types: ≤0.7m-1
No visible smoke should be emitted from vehicles fitted with a DPF during the metered check.
An illuminated engine management fault light that does not extinguish after the engine has started is a Major defect.
Exhaust noise – a silencer in such condition, or of such a type, that the noise emitted from the vehicle is clearly unreasonably above the level expected from a similar vehicle with a standard silencer in average condition, then a Major defect results. This remains mainly unchanged, since it was added in 2014.
Any sound deadening material must not be insecure (Major fault) or about to fall off (Dangerous fault).
Where a load bearing panel was originally spot welded, it is acceptable for a replacement panel or patch repair to be spot welded along that flange, provided that the original panel or section has been removed.
Sections 9 and 10 are not normally used for passenger cars.
Read more in the May issue of Autotechnician