MoT test changes – communication with fleet operators vital

Kwik Fit, with around 500 authorised MoT centres, is the UK’s largest MoT tester

Communication and clarity with company car and van owners and drivers will be more critical than ever with this month’s introduction of MoT test changes with the new rules potentially contradicting the established Road Traffic Act, according to Kwik Fit, the UK’s largest automotive repair company.

The new MoT comes into effect on 20 May. Instead of vehicles being given a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’, defects found will be categorised as ‘dangerous’, ‘major’ or ‘minor’ with the first two resulting in a test failure. Additional items being introduced within the test include stricter rules for diesel car emissions.

Kwik Fit is the UK’s largest MoT tester. Across its approximately 500 authorised MoT centres, 82 per cent of company cars and vans tested pass their MoT first time without requiring any rectification work. A further 17 per cent of company vehicles fail their MoT – typically due to tyre, light bulb and wiper blade defects – but following repair undertaken by Kwik Fit subsequently pass the MoT on the same day.

With the Europe-wide introduction of the new MoT in accordance with EU Directive 2014/45, vehicles deemed to have a ‘minor’ defect will still pass the MoT. However, under the Road Traffic Act 1988 vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition, with drivers failing to comply facing a maximum £2,500 fine and three penalty points on their driving licence.

Furthermore, as explains Dan Joyce, service, maintenance and repair (SMR) business manager for Kwik Fit Fleet, existing owner/operator, contract hire and leasing management company fleet policies may contradict what is deemed to be a ‘dangerous’, ‘major’ or ‘minor’ defect under the new MoT rules.

“We have an obligation to adhere to MoT rules, but we also have an obligation if a known defect is identified during an MoT test to report that to the vehicle owner and adhere to the fleet policy,” says Joyce. “Communication is critical to comply with both the MoT and Road Traffic Act rules as well as individual fleet policies.

“We will make vehicle owners and maintenance decision makers aware of defects, whether ‘dangerous’, ‘major’ or ‘minor,’ and empower them to make the decision on authorisation of any repairs. It is worth noting that all ‘dangerous’, ‘major’ and ‘minor’ faults along with any MoT tester additional advisories will be published immediately following the completion of the MoT test on the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) site ( ).

“It is then up to vehicle owners and maintenance decision makers whether the vehicle is allowed to continue to be driven or a repair is undertaken. If a vehicle is driven on the road with a known defect, drivers could be subject to road traffic offences.

“If a vehicle is presented for its MoT early, the Road Traffic Act would be enforced if there is a noted defect. If the vehicle is driven on the road and is stopped by the police, or is involved in a crash, then the law will intervene,” Joyce continues.

Among a host of other changes to the MoT Inspection Manual, Dan Joyce identifies four items as being critical to fleets:

  • Stricter limits for emissions from diesel cars with a diesel particulate filter (DPF). A vehicle will get a ‘major’ fault and thus result in an MoT failure if the tester can see smoke of any colour coming from the exhaust or finds evidence that the DPF has been tampered with.
  • A dashboard warning light defect will result in a ‘major’ defect being flagged up and thus an MoT failure.
  • Some changes to braking definitions regarding classification of brake discs.
  • Front and rear vehicle fog lights now included within the new MoT.

“Communication between the MoT test centre and the vehicle owner/fleet maintenance decision-maker is essential because there is scope for fleet operator confusion with the introduction of the new MoT regime and the defect categories and contradiction with the Road Traffic Act,” concludes Joyce.

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