The way the MOT test works in England, Scotland and Wales will change from tomorrow.

According to research by Green Flag, six in 10 drivers are unaware of the upcoming changes to MOT tests.

Here’s a guide on everything you need to know.

What’s happening?

The old style ‘pass or fail’ MOT is being replaced by a new system with stricter limits for diesel car emissions.

There will instead be three categories for defects; dangerous, major and minor and the category will be applied depending on the type and seriousness of the problem.

The MOT certificate will be updated to reflect the new result categories.

Will it affect me?

The changes will affect cars, vans, motorcycles and other light passenger vehicles. Cars, vans, motorcycles and other light passenger vehicles won’t need to have an MOT if they’re over 40 years old and have not been substantially changed.

What do the new categories mean?

Dangerous (a fail)

A direct and immediate risk to road safety or has a serious impact on the environment. Do not drive the vehicle until it’s been repaired.

Major (a fail)

It may affect the vehicle’s safety, put other road users at risk or have an impact on the environment. Repair it immediately.

Minor (a pass)

No significant effect on the safety of the vehicle or impact on the environment. Repair as soon as possible.

Advisory (a pass)

It could become more serious in the future. Monitor and repair it if necessary.

Pass (a pass)

It meets the minimum legal standard. Make sure it continues to meet the standard.

What else has changed?

Some new items will be tested during the MOT. They include checking:

  • if tyres are obviously under-inflated
  • if the brake fluid has been contaminated
  • for fluid leaks posing an environmental risk
  • brake pad warning lights and if brake pads or discs are missing
  • reversing lights on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009
  • headlight washers on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009 (if they have them)
  • daytime running lights on vehicles first used from 1 March 2018 (most of these vehicles will have their first MOT in 2021 when they’re 3 years old)

There will be other smaller changes to how some items are checked. Your MOT centre will be able to tell you about these.

What if I have a diesel car?

There will be stricter limits for emissions from diesel cars with a diesel particulate filter (DPF).

If you have a diesel car, your vehicle will get a major fault if the MOT tester can see smoke of any colour coming from the exhaust or finds evidence that the DPF has been tampered with.

What does it mean for me?

There are fears more cars could fail the new test. In addition to safety concerns, drivers caught without an up-to-date MOT also risk invalidating their car insurance.

As well as facing penalties for uninsured driving - a prosecution/fine of at least £300 and six penalty points - motorists involved in an accident without a valid MOT would be liable for any costs arising from the accident.

Matt Oliver, spokesperson for GoCompare Car Insurance said: “If your car’s MOT has expired, it’s illegal to drive it on the road and you could be prosecuted for doing so. The only exception allowed would be if you’d already booked an MOT and were driving to the test, which you would have to prove to the police.

He added: “Drivers caught without an up-to-date MOT also risk invalidating their car insurance. This could lead to penalties for driving uninsured, leaving the driver liable for any costs if they were involved in an accident and adversely impact the cost of and their ability to buy insurance in the future.”