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Peace of mind concerning Motorcycle MOT's 2018

Peace of mind concerning Motorcycle MOT's 2018

2018’s new MoT laws: What they mean to bikers

From 20 May 2018, the Ministry of Transport (MoT) test is changing, with stricter rules and new failure categories coming into effect. BR Special Tuning looks at the new legislation, and asks what it means for bikers. 


  • Homologated - This means that the exhausts are road legal and E mark stamped Euro 3/Euro4
  • Non Homologated - This means that the exhausts are not road legal and are meant for race and track days
    • Please note - If you are stopped by the police and they prove that you have a non homologated exhaust, you may be liable for an on the spot fine but no points on your license.


The laws on emissions are getting stricter

This only applies to diesel cars, so bikers don’t need to worry. If you do own a diesel car, you need to be aware that if a DPF (diesel particulate filter) is fitted, you’ll receive a major fault (a fail) if your MoT tester finds evidence that the DPF has been tampered with, or if smoke of any colour is coming from the exhaust.

BR Special Tuning says: There are still no emissions tests carried out on bikes, besides the noise levels, which are purely down to the tester’s discretion. As long as there’s no mark saying ‘race use only’ or ‘not for road use’, an aftermarket exhaust could pass, though a current reason for rejection is if ‘the type of noise emitted is clearly in excess of that which would be produced by a similar machine fitted with a standard silencer in average condition’.”

Ultimately, there are few issues in the new MoT laws to really worry bikers. From personal experience, we’d always recommend using a trustworthy and thorough inspector for your MoT – you’re paying for the work to be done, and if – like us – you do a lot of your own bike maintenance, having an expert check your motorcycle can help keep you, and those around you, safer on the roads.


What are the changes to the new MoT?

The first thing you need to know is whether your bike (or car) needs an MoT; as before, your first MoT is due three years from the date of first registration, so if it was registered on 1 April 2016, it’ll need its first MoT on 1 April 2019.

Now however, any motorcycle, car, van or other light passenger vehicle that’s over 40 years will not need an MoT… as long as it hasn’t been substantially changed.


How Mot Testers check your Exhaust Noise?

  • Mot Testers will assess the exhaust noise by revving the engine to approximately half the maximum engine speed. The engine will need to be warm before the check is carried out.
  • The exhaust system and silencer will be in a condition that the noise emitted from the motorcycle isn't clearly unreasonably above the level expected from a similar motorcycle with a standard silencer fitted.



How can my bike fail?

An MoT pass might currently have advisories, but defects will now be listed as ‘Dangerous’, ‘Major’ or ‘Minor’. While your MoT tester might still give advisories, here are the new categories in full:



What it means Pass or Fail
Pass Your bike (or car) meets the minimum
legal standard at the time of the test
Advisory A defect that might become more serious, 
and should be monitored or repaired
Minor The issue has no significant effect on the safety 
of the vehicle, or an impact on the environment, 
but should be repaired as soon as possible
Major This is something that could affect the vehicle’s 
safety, put other road users at risk, or have an 
impact on the environment. 
It must be repaired immediately
Dangerous This fault has an immediate and direct risk 
to road safety, or a serious impact on the 
environment. The vehicle should not be 
ridden or driven until it’s repaired


BR Special Tuning says: “Too often, riders haven’t taken advisories seriously enough, and it’s not unusual to see a bike fail the next year for something that should have been sorted out; the new categories will tighten this up a bit.

“Always remember when buying a used bike or car that an MoT is only a certificate of road worthiness at the time it was issued. It’s NOT a guarantee that the vehicle is safe after that moment.

“The most important thing to take away from this is that if a defect is reported as dangerous, the guidance says that you must not ride or drive the vehicle at all until it's been repaired.”


New tests in the MoT from 2018

Some extra items will be tested during your MoT, which include checking the following:

• if the tyres are obviously underinflated

• if the brake fluid is contaminated

• for fluid leaks posing a risk to the environment

• brake pad warning lights

• for missing brake pads or discs

• daytime running lights on bikes (and cars) first used from 1 March 2018

New items checked that don’t apply to motorcycles:

• reversing lights on vehicles used from 1 September 2009

• headlight washers (if fitted) on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009

There will be other, smaller changes, which your MoT tester will be able to explain.

BR Special Tuning says: “It has been known for people to, for instance, remove a disc and caliper from a twin-front-disc bike in order to avoid failing on a seized piston. An MoT tester can now use their knowledge in order to identify when parts are missing, rather than simply not being able to test what’s not there. The new legislation is going some way to closing some of the loopholes.

“Checking the brake fluid for contamination will still only be a visual check as we’re not permitted to remove the cap. Of course, some bikes’ reservoir viewing windows look black, so there’s little that can be done here besides identifying if the fluid is low.

“One of the key items not listed above is that aftermarket HID (High Intensity Discharge) lamps will fail. Of course, machines like the BMW K1200GT had them as standard, which is fine, but any standard halogen lamp that’s been converted to take HIDs won’t get a pass. There can be numerous issues with incorrectly fitted lamps, from the fact that the reflectors won’t focus the beam correctly, to serious electrical problems.”


Your MoT certificate will change

Your MoT test certificate will be redesigned to list any defects under the new categories. In addition to this, the online check of a vehicle’s MoT history will be updated. This is a valuable resource for anyone looking to buy a used motorcycle (or car), as you just need to know the registration to get information on any advisories on a pass, the recorded mileages, and why a vehicle failed. You can check an MoT history at

BR Special Tuning says: “It shouldn’t be considered a definitive guide, but checking a bike’s MOT history can help identify a machine that’s been neglected if it has repeated advisories relating to poor maintenance.

“The mileage records can show when peak use of the bike has been during its life, while if it’s got a low mileage but keeps getting picked up on things like worn tyres, chains and sprockets, it could have been ridden very aggressively. Or perhaps even on track, with the speedo disconnected.”

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