MOTs can be a stressful time for drivers as their pride and joy is put through its paces and analysed for faults, a process that can be costly for motorists if their vehicle is not up to code.
For diesel vehicle owners the rules and regulations around car MOTs are set to change early in 2014, with the process set to be tightened up for these models.
Roads minister Robert Goodwill explained that the tests will ensure vehicles have a critical exhaust filter if one had originally been fitted as standard.
Testing stations and garages will be required to check the diesel particulate filter (DPF) in the inspection of the exhaust system as part of the MOT from February next year. Any vehicles that were originally fitted with a DPF but no longer have the component present will automatically fail the MOT.
The filter, which works by trapping solid particulate matter from exhaust gases, has been in use for more than two decades and is instrumental in helping the UK meet European emission standards, as well as improving air quality and health standards.
On some occasions firms will offer to remove the filter from the vehicle, claiming it will improve fuel economy, however, drivers should be aware that it is an offence to drive a vehicle modified in this way, as it will no longer meet emissions standards.
Mr Goodwill said: "I am very concerned that vehicles are being modified in a way that is clearly detrimental to people’s health and undoes the hard work car manufacturers have taken to improve emissions standards. It has become apparent the government had to intervene to clarify the position on particulate filter removal given the unacceptable negative impact on air quality."
The filters need to be ‘regenerated’ regularly through burning the soot to gas at a very high temperature, leaving behind a residue.
If not carried out properly, regeneration can lead to a build up of soot, which can affect performance.
This has led to some diesel vehicle owners opting to remove the filter, which makes their car illegal for road use.
Posted by Danielle Barge