Over a million cars fail MoT for ‘Dangerous’ defects
Over a million cars have failed their MoT for ‘Dangerous’ faults, under new classification rules introduced in May 2018.
The recent MoT test changes see faults judged as Minor, Major or Dangerous, and data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has revealed 32 per cent of cars – equivalent to 1,131,376 vehicles – that failed the test since May did so because of dangerous defects.
Cars fail their MoT if they have a Major of Dangerous defect, while Minor faults act as more emphatic advisory notices (these still remain a part of the test). The DVSA deems a dangerous fault to be one that “has a direct and immediate risk to road safety or has a serious impact on the environment, and the vehicle cannot be driven again until the defect has been repaired.”
Examples of dangerous defects include:
- • Leaking hydraulic fluid – leaks from a brake value such that brake functionality is affected
- • Brake problems – brake disc or drum missing and/ or the brake lining or pad is missing or incorrectly mounted
- • Dangerous wheels – a wheel with more than one loose or missing wheel nut, bolt or stud or the wheel is distorted or worn to the extent it is likely to become detached
The data was revealed by car-buying comparison site Motorway.co.uk, which uncovered the figures through a freedom of information request made to the DVSA. Alex Buttle, Motorway’s director, said he was “really surprised” by the number of cars classified as having a Dangerous fault, adding he considered that “owners are hanging onto cars for longer – and because of that, the UK’s used car stock will get older year on year unless that trend is reversed. That means more dangerous cars, requiring frequent safety checks.”
The MoT test changes – which also include tougher checks on diesel cars – were revealed by Auto Express in January last year, with the DVSA’s head of MoT policy, Neil Barlow, telling us at the time that the changes were intended to “help motorists do the right thing – i.e. not drive away from a garage” with dangerous faults.
Diesel MoT failures quadruple under new emissions test rules
Previous research into MoT failures linked to Mays rule changes found more than four times as many diesel cars failing their MoT test for substandard emissions.
Some 58,004 diesels failed the emission portion of the MoT test between 20 May and 19 November 2017, but this figure increased to 238,871 in the same period this year. The new emission tests have proven so tough on diesels, in fact, that 17 per cent of all MoT failures for diesel cars were due to emission faults this year - up from 10 per cent in 2017.
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Diesel cars fitted with a particulate filter (DPF) that emit visible smoke of any colour now automatically fail their MoT, while petrol cars that emit dense blue or clearly visible black smoke for more than five seconds when idling also fail.
Some cars would seem to be struggling to meet these new requirements, with data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) showing almost 750,000 cars failed their MoT for emissions between 20 May and 19 November 2018 – up from around 350,000 in the same period last year. But while twice as many petrol cars failed in 2018 compared to 2017 (up from 292,468 to 505,721), diesel cars were more severely affected.
Diesel vans had a similar experience to diesel cars. Some 448 per cent more diesel vans failed their emission checks over the same period, up from 3,585 in 2017 to 19,648 in 2018.
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Despite these increases, the overall failure rate across all defect categories has largely remained stable, with 34.7 per cent of petrol cars and 33.2 per cent of diesels failing the test since May 2018. Over the same period in 2017, those rates were 35.7 and 33.8 respectively.
Commenting on the figures, the DVSA’s chief executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said the organisation was “committed to making a real difference to those in society whose lives and health are blighted by poor air quality.” Llewellyn added that since the new test criteria were introduced in May, “nearly 750,000 vehicles have been taken off the road or fixed.”
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