Thursday 7 March 2013

Road - New MOT test

And here’s a timely reminder. Changes to the annual MOT test are due to come into force later this month on the 20th of March, and you can thank the Europeans for that!

These changes were actually introduced in January this year to give testers a chance to work with the new legislation, but were advisory only. However, from the 20th these will become mandatory.

We’ve all been aware for some time that faulty warning lamps on the dash display were coming under MOT jurisdiction, and that has now been formalised with this new EU test.

The requirement to comply with European legislation will make our own test just a bit more comprehensive, although there are no plans to increase the cost of the test – as yet!

Light and lighting will come under increased scrutiny from now on, especially the headlamp levelling systems where HID, LED or Xenon headlamps are fitted. On the dash board display the warning lamp for main beam will also be checked along with those for power steering malfunction, ESP, brake fluid level and seat belts.

Of particular interest to rallyists, will be checks to the 13 pin trailer sockets, and the testers will use an ‘approved’ trailer socket tester for this. And having followed some weirdly wired trailers in the past, best check that this is working properly.

Speedometers will also be checked, but for operational efficiency as opposed to accuracy! That’s because a calibration test would be out of the question given the parameters detailed in the ‘The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986’ and the ‘EC Community Directive 75/443(97/39)’ and the need not only for specialised equipment, but a requirement that the recommended tyres and wheels were fitted, with recommended tyre pressures, and the speed tests conducted on ‘flat pave’!

Suffice to say, that the ‘10% rule’ would appear to be perfectly acceptable whereby speedos are allowed to read up to 10% faster than actual speed, but not any slower!

It’s also worth noting that engine mountings will come under the new MOT test rules. Apparently these were not individually assessed in the past even if they were broken. However the ‘get-out’ clause was that if they impacted on braking and/or safety then the vehicle would fail.

And just in case you are interested, over 37,000,000 tests (pass and fail) were conducted last year by 55,000 testers at nearly 22,000 MOT garages.

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