DVSA clears up confusion about new MOT defect categories

With less than a month before significant MOT change, the DVSA explains how new MOT defect categories will work

DVSA clears up confusion about new MOT defect categories
From May 20, 2018 vehicle defects will be categorised as either ‘dangerous’, ‘major’ or ‘minor’. Image: Bigstock.

The DVSA has released further information about the new MOT defect categories that are due to come into force from May 20 following reports of confusion and misinterpretation.

Writing on the Matters of Testing blog, Neil Barlow, head of policy at DVSA said “there’s been some misinterpretation in the media about how the new defect categories will work, particularly what will be classed as dangerous.”

The changes are being made as part of the European Union Roadworthiness Package and the updated MOT will pre-define what is considered as ‘dangerous’.

Defects that are failure items but aren’t deemed as ‘dangerous’ will be called ‘major’ defects.

After 20 May, defects that are dangerous will be set out for testers, and the new ‘major’ term introduced for all other failures.


Writing on the Matters of Testing blog, Neil Barlow, head of policy at DVSA said: “Moving to pre-defined dangerous defects will bring consistency to what is recorded as dangerous.

“So, we’ve taken the opportunity to make the wording on the MOT failure documents clear in reminding motorists that driving a dangerous vehicle is illegal.

“While the majority of your customers would never drive a dangerous vehicle until it’s made safe, we know not everyone will behave responsibly.

“And, while it isn’t your responsibility to try and physically stop them from driving the vehicle, it’s important you provide them with clear advice that they do have dangerous defects.”

The new ‘minor’ defect category will also predefined and will recognise vehicle defects that aren’t serious enough for a fail.

Related: DVSA “training environment” to help testers prepare for May’s MOT changes

Advisories will continue and will be similar to ‘minor’ defects but will indicate that a component will become defective soon.

Neil added: “For most defect areas, for example tyre tread depth, the defect is considered as only one level of severity, major or dangerous.

“The tester will just pick that the defect is present, and the MOT testing service will automatically include the level, major or dangerous, in the result.

“However, for some defect areas, for example hydraulic brake fluid leaks, there might be defects at more than one level, based on the severity of the defect.

“Where that’s the case, the wording of the defect describes the difference between major or dangerous.

“You should assess which set of words the defect on the vehicle best matches.

“Then, the MOT testing service will automatically include the level, major or dangerous, in the result.”

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Home Page Forums DVSA clears up confusion about new MOT defect categories

This topic contains 9 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Stef 4 months, 1 week ago.

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Author
  • #157046 Reply

    Neil swain

    Hi thanks for the update on this area.
    It sounds to me that it just making things more complicated than what thay need to be. If a part on a car has failed the mot test then that car has already been deemed not road worthy. Therefor if the customer wishes to take it away and drive it on the road there already braking the law. We are not the police,therefore it shouldnt be down to us to dictate what thay should do. At every there should be more advertising on what the law is abaut mot testing and what could happen in the event of sombody being stoped with no mot.
    Regards Neil.

    #157060 Reply

    nations garage ltd

    If the car fails we advise the owner that they are driving a car around with no MOT so you will no longer be insured , the test is updated on the vosa site the same day so your car registration will show this to the police, weather or not the car has failed test by a major default or labelled dangerous the driver is not covered by insurance and should not be on the road .
    why don’t you inform the public of this
    Jeffrey morris

    #157061 Reply

    Andrew mackie

    Hi Jeffrey Morris your insurance is still valid I have been stopped by the police and been given a ticket for no mot but let me carry on my journey in my car with no mot

    #157087 Reply


    just been on vosa training site cant find the listing for reversesing lights on there site does not look good so far

    #157088 Reply


    We as MOT testers are not given a list of the new changes is it a secret that no one should know? Does not make sense why we are kept in the dark.
    The general public can get more information than us.
    A list of every previous fail / advise item should also be shown on the screen as we log a vehicle on to the system.

    #157159 Reply

    joe digney

    have had several attempts to log on to training site without success
    not giving testers too much time to get to grips with new items coming in
    system works fine as it is
    system crashed first day new certs were introduced is this a sign of things to come?

    #157160 Reply


    It’s always been a case that a fail is deemed a vehicle unfit for road use however it’s generally accepted by insurers that you can return your car from the MOT and to a single place of repair. This new wording is in danger of being used as a scare tactic on customers not to drive away forcing the work to be carried out at the MOT centre. Assuming the defect isn’t deemed “dangerous” the customer is not committing an offence but I can see the wording being “milked” by the less honest and many owners being forced to pay for marked up repairs, not with a mechanic of their choice as a result.

    #157491 Reply


    The new certificates show the vehicle class as M1 for cars & N1 for commercial but N1 could be class 4 or class 7. How does our front of house staff who are invoicing the test know what price to charge and then explain to the customer what the difference is?

    #172378 Reply


    This just created a new beautiful milking cow for the rough garages looking to get you stuck. My MOT just failed because my GPS was still attached to the screen. Also headlight aiming to high, when I specifically adjusted then the night before. But they are counting on the law getting me exposed to the mercy of garages.

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)


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