Car Care

New MOT test for 2018. What do you need to know?

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Ben James

There are big changes happening to the MOT test this year. What are they, why should you care about them and how might our Miles Tracker help?

This year, the MOT test is changing. Again. From May 2018, the government are placing faults into three categories: minor, major, and dangerous. Minor faults will be noted on your MOT certificate, while major or dangerous faults will make your vehicle fail its MOT.

The good news is that these new categories should make it easier for you to choose what to fix first. The downside is that there are now lots of new ‘major’ items to look out for.

One of the biggest new ‘major’ faults that has been added relates to your Malfunction Indicator Lamps (MILs). These are the warning lights on your dash that light up when there’s a fault. There are a few MILs that need to switch on when you first turn the key, then switch off again when you start the engine. Mechanics testing your vehicle will check the following lights:

  • Engine
  • EPB (Electronic Parking Brake, if you have one on your car)
  • EPS (Electronic Power Steering, if you have this on your car)
  • ESC (Electronic Stability Control, if you have this on your car)

When an indicator lamp lights up, your car sends a fault code to its OBD-II (On-Board Diagnostics) port. So, you could go down to your local garage to help work out what the issue is, and they’d just plug their diagnostic equipment into your car’s port and read the fault code. But that quick trip to the garage for a bit of advice costs an average of £66.61. And that’s just to tell you what the fault is – not even to fix it.

That’s 14 Big Mac meals with a McFlurry for dessert you’ll never get to have.


But fear not. A Miles Tracker is included with every By Miles insurance policy. It plugs into your car’s OBD-II port, and comes with our free By Miles app.

The By Miles app and Miles Tracker come jam-packed full of handy tools to make owning a car much easier and the built-in Car Medic feature automatically tells you about any fault codes coming from your car.

This may well save you a pricey trip down to the garage to watch a mechanic plug in their own equipment, so you can get straight down to the business of getting it fixed.

“That quick trip to the garage for a bit of advice costs an average of £66.61. And that’s just to tell you what the fault is – not even to fix it.

That’s 14 Big Mac meals with a McFlurry for dessert you’ll never get to have.”

There are a few other changes to the MOT that might be useful for you to know, too. If you’ve got a diesel car, the MOT tester will now carry out a more strict emissions test, and on cars with a DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) fitted, they’ll check for visible smoke.

Thousands of used diesel cars in the UK have had their DPF removed to save on costly repair bills, and the MOT’s new visible smoke test could affect all of them.

Mechanics will also be keeping a close eye on your headlights and tail lights. All of the following will be ‘major’ failures:

  • Halogen headlamp bulbs swapped for HID (High Intensity Discharge) bulbs
  • Non-working reverse lights (on registered from September 2009)
  • Non-working daytime running lights (on cars registered from March 2018)

Tips for reducing the cost of your MOT

Got an MOT coming up soon? Read our pre-MOT checklist here, it could help you save some money.

Get help with the By Miles app

The By Miles app comes with a whole range of features like the Car Medic. Other features like Find My Car, MOT and Car Tax reminders, and budgeting tools to estimate your fuel and insurance costs all come as standard. Interested? Then get a By Miles car insurance quote.