MOT changes deadline approaches

Published:  01 May, 2018

With the updated MOT test due to go live from 20 May,  up to 4,000 garages may still be waiting for a new diesel smoke meter (DSM) or software update needed to conform to the new rules.

On 20 May, the new Roadworthiness Directive will update the MOT test. One of the most significant changes will be the stricter rules governing diesel emissions for some vehicles. This will involve testing vehicles to the manufacturer’s plate value if present, along with a lower default limit for newer vehicles. As a result, the examiner will be prompted to look for the plate value first, before using the default limits.

To conform to the new rules, garages will need to make sure their DSMs are able to test to the new limits. In most instances, this means either obtaining a software update to make existing equipment compliant, or in some cases purchasing entirely new equipment.

Speaking to Aftermarket, Garage Equipment Association (GEA) Chief Executive Dave Garratt said: “A lot of garages have been ordering updates, and a lot have been ordering new machines. There is quite a backlog as a result, and some garages who have ordered a new machine won't get it in time for 20 May. There's also some machines where the software update is only just becoming available.

“If a garage has ordered their machine or ordered their software, the majority will be ok, but there could be roughly 4,000 that may still be waiting on 20 May.  The Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA) have already informed those businesses that providing they can show proof that they have ordered the machine or ordered the software update,  they will allow them to continue testing.

Dave adds: “As I speak to suppliers, they are surprising themselves that they are actually getting round quite quickly. Some always give you the worst case scenario because they don't want to over-promise.”

A list of DSMs that shows if they can be upgraded is available from the GEA website in the ‘Technical Library’ section:

The DVSA does not believe the delays will cause significant issues. In the statement sent to garages, DVSA observed: “Although most of you are fully prepared for the changes to the MOT, some of you aren't able to upgrade the software on your equipment, or have new equipment installed, because of delays from the equipment manufacturers.”

On testing from 20 May, DVSA advised: “If you’re affected by the delay, you'll still be able to continue testing from 20 May 2018.We'll be issuing a workaround procedure for anyone affected soon, to explain the equipment models that it applies to and details of the procedures.

“If you haven’t contacted your manufacturer to arrange an upgrade or order new equipment, it’s important that you do. The workaround will only be usable for the equipment or software affected by the manufacturer’s delay.”

DVSA MOT Service Manager Neil Barlow added: “We are working with garages to ensure the new MOT tests can continue as normal when they are introduced on 20 May.”

Other changes include the phasing in of a new MOT certificate, new items to be checked during the test, and changes to the way defects are categorised. Meanwhile, cars over 40 years old are being exempted from the test.

Apart from the need to update equipment, the changes will mean that MOT testers need to undertake training as a matter of urgency, perhaps bringing it forward.

Stuart James, Director of the Independent Garage Association (IGA)  observed  “The changes brought about by EU Directive 2014/45 which introduces the ‘Categorisation of Defects’ as part of a new MOT Testing Manual as well as changes to the emission testing of diesels will present a number of challenges for MOT stations.

Stuart concludes: “As a result, we join with the DVSA in urging testers to consider taking their 2018/19 Annual Training and Assessment early this year to ensure that they are prepared for the very significant changes which come into force on 20 May.” [ends]

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