New MOT Testing rules

Jonathan Brown

12 Sep 2018, Blog Post

The UK Government has a desire to rid the UK roads of the most polluting cars. With ever tightening rules for new cars with the introduction of the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), older cars now have a tougher MOT testing regime to contend with.  Since 20 May 2018, there have been a number of notable changes to the MOT test.

New items that are part of the test from 20 May 2018 are:

  • brake fluid contamination
  • additional braking device performance
  • daytime running lamps
  • front fog lamps
  • reversing lamps
  • bumpers
  • prop shafts
  • all rear drive shafts
  • cab security
  • cab steps
  • floors
  • passenger hand grips (quads and heavy trikes only)
  • noise suppression material
  • under tray security
  • emission control equipment:
    • oxygen sensor
    • NOx sensor
    • exhaust gas recirculation valve
    • other emission control equipment
  • engine malfunction indicator lamp
  • diesel particulate filter (DPF) tampering
  • fluid leaks - engine, transmission and so on

Feedback from MOT stations shows the first notable change raised is that vehicles with illuminated engine management lights fail the test. Feedback from dealers already suggests buying habits within the motor trade are adjusting, with cars affected by short MOT tests or engine management light issues becoming significantly less desirable.

Although just at the beginning of how the new regulations can affect the market, looking forward to forecast an outcome, lower prices could become prominent for vehicles indicating any issues. Service history will be further scrutinised with partial history or cars without history becoming even less desirable. The best-presented vehicles with all documentation will achieve higher values and the expectation is that more vehicles will meet their maker sooner due to uneconomical repair costs.

The Car Parc 2000-2015



% of all Fuel


% of all Fuel

Total All Fuel

2000 - 2010






2011 - 2015






There are still in the region of 21 million cars on UK roads registered between 2000 and 2010. These cars are the most likely to succumb to the changes to the MOT test. A third of these vehicles are diesels. The scrappage rate of these older cars will rise, with highest polluting vehicles no longer able to pass the new MOT test. This will undoubtedly lead to improvements to air quality.

There are another 9 million cars on the UK roads registered between 2011 and 2015 now requiring an MOT test, of these, 50%, are diesels. The scrappage rate from failed MOT tests will be lower as their engines are newer and built with better technology. The owners are also more likely to be prepared to cover the cost of repairs to keep them on the road.

With the average age of cars in the UK around 8 years old, the outlook for large numbers of older cars in the UK is a tough. Due to these changes, it is possible that the average age of cars will decrease as owners upgrade because of the revised MOT test. This would be an unexpected but ultimately welcome boost to the Industry as a whole.

Unfortunately, the millions of owners of older cars face at best, more expenditure trying to coax their vehicles through the tougher MOT test. Alternatively, perhaps even greater short-term expense buying a newer more reliable car. Ultimately, purchasing a newer car may be the cheaper long-term option.

About the author

Jonathan Brown

Jonathan BrownUK Car Editor

Originating from Farnham in Surrey, Jonathan was educated at the Guildford and Farnborough Tech Colleges before he acquired his expertise in manufacturer and dealer network liaison. Jonathan is one of many who has built a colourful and lengthy career with Glass’s having joined the company back in 1989.