September 23, 2020 The home of UK car culture

MOT error can leave you with a £2,500 fine

It has always been illegal to drive a dangerous vehicle, but following a number of changes made to the rules surrounding MOTs in 2018, drivers could now be left facing a £2,500 fine and 6 penalty points if a car fails it’s MOT with a dangerous result.

The main change introduced last year was three new failure and fault categories which rate the severity of an issue the car is having. The three failure classes are now; minor, major and dangerous. Stricter testing for diesel vehicles and checks for items like tyres, brake pads and reversing lights were also introduced. Diesel cars with a DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) must not produce smoke of any colour out of the exhaust – this will be an automatic fail.

March is one of the busiest times for MOT testing which means since the changes were made in May, a lot of motorists wouldn’t have necessarily been aware of the new rules for almost a year.

Driving a car that has failed its MOT is a legally grey, and somewhat confusing, area. The government website says it’s ok to drive after the car has failed an MOT as long as the current MOT certificate is still valid and the car hasn’t failed on a dangerous fault. The website also says however that the car must meet the minimum standards of roadworthiness at all times. So which is it?

Do remember to check with your insurance company what their stance on this is to make sure your policy would still be valid. Minor faults are similar to advisory notices issued previously during MOT tests. The refer to issues that won’t stop your car passing the test but will need fixing at some point in the near future. Both major and dangerous faults will result in an instant fail. The difference between them is that with a Major fault you can legally drive to an alternate garage to have the repaired if you want to, with a fail due to a dangerous fault driving to an alternate garage could land you with a fine and penalty points.

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