Will your car fail the new MOT?

As if the annual MOT wasn’t already bad enough, the pass criteria has now (as of this month) been extended. I’ve spent many an hour waiting in dingy garage waiting rooms, knowing full well my car didn’t have a prayer of passing. Then out comes the mechanic, red slip in hand, lips already pursed to make that air-sucking sound they make just before they tell you just how badly it’s failed. It was always my fault, of course. I’d ignore strange noises and warning lights, and never took any of my cars for a service. My last car, an 03 Vauxhall Corsa, has now probably gone to the scrap heap in the sky after its last MOT fail racked up a bill of around £900. And that was under the old MOT pass criteria. The Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (VOSA) has now added an additional 16 new checks which your car must pass in order to get your MOT pass certificate. They are:
  • Headlamp levelling and cleaning devices when fitted for HID or LED headlamps.
  • Main beam ‘tell-tale’ warning.
  • Battery (including those in electric and hybrid vehicles).
  • Electrical wiring and connectors.
  • Trailer electrical socket security and damage.
  • Operation of 13-pin trailer electrical sockets
  • Operation of the steering wheel lock (where fitted) including a malfunction warning in respect of an electronic steering lock.
  • Electronic power steering malfunction indicator lamp
  • Electronic parking brake control and malfunction indicator lamp
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC) components, including the switch (if fitted) and malfunction warning
  • Brake fluid warning lamp
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS)
  • SRS components including airbags, seat belt pre-tensioners, seat belt load limiters and SRS malfunction warning lamp
  • Engine mountings
  • Speedometer
  • Indirect vision devices such as cameras (where they replace obligatory mirrors)
These were actually announced as part of changes to the MOT in January 2012, but you’d have been let off with an advisory until March 20 this year if you broke any of the new rules within the past 15 months. That’s all changed as of March 20, though, and you’ll get a fail if any of the 16 things listed above aren’t working as they supposed to. The changes are supposed to reflect all the technological advances cars have seen over the past couple of decades. VOSA says the changes need to be made to bring the UK in line with European directives. You have to remember that cars are able to cross relatively freely across European border, but we all have varying standards for what constitutes a roadworthy vehicle. These changes, VOSA says, will bring us up to speed with our European friends. In fact, according to VOSA, we’d have had to update the UK MOT test at some point because it hasn’t kept up with the pace of change, in terms of automotive technology. The Agency has done a bit of an FAQ on the whole thing which you can find here. It answers questions such as: Isn’t this just another excuse for the government to get older cars off the road? and Why do we have to comply with Europe? According to a bit of (admittedly dated) research from motoring blog honestjohn.co.uk, one in five cars will fail its MOT – at least that was the case in 2008. It’ll be interesting to see if the number goes up now the new rules are in force. The take-home message is that if you’re like I used to be and tend to ignore warning lights on your dashboard, you might want to change your ways because it could cost you at the test centre in future.

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