Get up to speed with MOT tests
29 May 2018
Author: Sean Keywood
Fleets need to be familiar with changes to the MOT test that have come into force. Sean Keywood reports.
Potentially confusing changes to the MOT test necessitate increased awareness among fleet managers and their drivers, industry experts have said.
Changes were introduced to the test on 20 May, including the creation of new 'dangerous', 'major' and 'minor' defect categories. The latter category will not cause a failure on the test.
According to an RAC survey, a significant number of motorists are confused about the changes and there are fears this confusion extends to fleets.
Shaun Sadlier, head of consulting at leasing company Arval, said, "Revisions to the MOT test are relatively infrequent and this is one of the biggest that has happened in recent times, with the introduction of the new defect categories.
"Our experience is that these are creating some confusion among people with responsibilities for fleet, especially around the issue of the 'minor' fault category that does not result in a fail."
Sadlier said the new category had created issues for fleets to consider beyond the strict legality of their vehicles.
He said, "There are question marks around this. For example, should fleets be fixing even 'minor' faults as part of their risk management responsibilities? Our view is yes, but there is arguably room for debate.
"Overall, we would like to see awareness among fleet managers and drivers being much higher and have been actively engaging our customers in this conversation."
Kit Wisdom, head of technical services at business mobility firm Alphabet, said, "In our experience, fleet managers and senior fleet decision makers seem to be fairly well clued up about the new MOT changes and their implications for employees and vehicles. As ever, it is an ongoing challenge to ensure this communication gets out to the wider employee population so that all fleet drivers are up to speed.
"The stronger MOT processes in place from 20 May mean that testing stations need to ensure drivers are acutely aware of the consequences of driving away a failed vehicle and have to sign to this effect.
"This should serve as an additional 'check' in the process but fleet decision makers should be sending a clear message to their drivers regarding the MOT changes and make every effort to ensure they follow the advice of the testing station and their leasing partner."
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency says that although a minor defect would not cause a test failure, it should still be repaired as soon as possible.
Testers are also still able to issue advisories about problems that need to be monitored.
According to the RAC survey, 56% of motorists said they did not know about the changes to the test. It found 49% of motorists were confused about the new minor category, thinking it would lead to a test failure, while 5% erroneously believed a dangerous defect would pass the test, with 6% believing the same for a major defect.
The survey also found that 13% of motorists thought an advisory would cause a test failure, which the RAC said was surprising, as that notification has been in use for many years. It also found that 74% of respondents believed the introduction of the minor category would lead to drivers not addressing any such faults identified on their vehicles.
RAC spokesman Simon Williams said, "It is important everyone quickly gets to grips with the changes to the MOT, and that test centres and garages do a good job of explaining the new fault categories, so motorists understand correctly the severity of faults with their vehicles."
The changes to the test have also seen stricter rules introduced for diesel cars fitted with a diesel particulate filter (DPF). A major fault will be declared if the tester can see smoke of any colour coming from the car's exhaust or finds evidence that the DPF has been tampered with.
There are also some new items included in the test parameters, including tyre inflation, brake fluid purity, fluid leaks, brake pad warning lights and whether brake pads or discs are missing.