New MOT classifications set to come into effect this spring have the potential to put the vehicle safety at risk, according to the RAC.
The changes, which are being introduced on 20 May, include new failure and defect categories, with faults labelled, ‘Dangerous’, ‘Major’ or ‘Minor’.
Any vehicle receiving a dangerous or major fault, will automatically fail, while a vehicle given a minor fault will still pass the MOT test, with a record of the fault being noted on the certificate.
The new categories are being introduced as part of a European Union directive, known as the EU Roadworthiness Package.
Simon Williams, RAC spokesman, says the new classifications leave the seriousness of car defects open to interpretation by testers, creating ‘the potential for confusion’ – as well as inconsistencies from one test centre to another.
Simon Williams said: “While on the surface this change seems like a sensible move we fear many motorists could end up being confused by the new categories which give an indication as to the seriousness of vehicle defects identified in an MOT test.
“We do not want to see a lowering of MOT standards and a reduction in the number of vehicles failing the test compared to current levels.
“We understand the Government has little choice in the matter, but gut instinct says if the system isn’t broken, why mess with it.”
Vehicles will also face stricter emissions testing under the new rules, with limits for diesel cars being lowered. Any vehicle with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) will be issued with a major fault if it is found to emit a ‘visible smoke of any colour’.
The new MOT will also include checks to see if the DPF has been tampered with or removed. If it has, the tester must refuse to check the vehicle unless the owner can prove there were ‘legitimate reasons’ for doing so, such as cleaning.
In keeping with previous MOT rules, any car missing its DPF altogether will be rejected.