The UK has always been at the forefront of motoring, and being the inventive nation that we are, motoring safety. We were the first nation to invent and implement the highway code in 1931, and up until recently had the strictest maintenance codes for vehicles. That mantle had been taken over by other European countries such as Germany and Spain, who’s tests focus more on environmental impacts, but in an effort to regain the crown, the UK recently introduced much revised MOT rules.
Although they haven’t been widely publicised, next time you send your car in for an MOT you will notice the difference. Five new sections – ‘Pass’, ‘Advisory’ and ‘Minor’ to the more serious ‘Major’ or even ‘Dangerous’ now replace the simple pass or fail. These indicate whether you have minor faults that could develop into more major ones in the future (what used to be called advisories), or downright dangerous ones that will need to be fixed before a certificate is issued. The wording from the DVLA runs as follows:
Pass, Advisory or Minor – A problem that poses no significant effect on the safety of the vehicle or impact on the environment.
Major – A problem that may affect the vehicle’s safety, put other road users at risk or have an impact on the environment.
Dangerous – A direct and dangerous risk to road safety or has a serious impact on the environment.
As well as this, in the light of all the emissions scandals that have raged over the past few years, stricter rules and more thorough tests will be conducted, especially on diesel cars. If coloured smoke is found to be coming from the exhaust or the particulate filter tampered with, this means an instant failure.
One way to mitigate these new rules, as it was before, is to take good care of your car. Lot of guides can be found online with detailed information on how to check various parts of you car, such as this very thorough infographic from Autodoc, but even knowing the basics can help you a lot. For instance:
– Keep all fluids (oil, brake, washer etc) topped up on a regular basis
– Check your tyre pressure and wear regularly
– Ensure no odd noises or smells are coming from the engine or brakes
These three tips cover a lot of the early signs of major car problems, so if you keep an eye, ear and nose out for those you can save yourself a lot of trouble!