Classic car MOT test changes will make historic vehicles ‘more usable’ and ‘safer’

DVSA explains 2018 MOT test changes

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Experts at Classic Car LEDs have warned the new update will be able to “weed out poorer performing products” and will ensure classic cars can “compete” with new vehicles. The new changes mean drivers can upgrade their cars and ensure they meet up to date MOT guidelines. according to the specialists.

Earlier this month, the DVSA said halogen headlights should not be converted to be used with HID or LED bulbs.

They previously said any such conversions would guarantee drivers failed the headlamp test.

However, the DVSA has since amended the rules meaning the new law will only apply to owners of some vehicles.

The changes now mean those who own cars built and first used before 1 April 1986 will not fail their test but those built afterwards could still be at risk.

Duncan Rickards, spokesperson for Classic Car LEDs previously said the rules surrounding headlight conversions were confused.

However, he said the new amendments were a “welcome step” for owners and would help ensure road safety.

Speaking to, he said: “The changes made to the MOT regulations with effect from Monday 22 March to allow LED conversion that meets the beam pattern test for halogen headlamps for Class 3, 4, 5 and 7 vehicles with halogen headlamp units first used before 1 April 1986 and all Class 1 and 2 Motorcycles are a very welcome step forward in making our Classic vehicles more useable and therefore safer on the roads.

“What it also does is weed out the poorer performing products that are flooding the market that will not pass this test and therefore are likely to give glare to other road users.

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“Classic vehicle lighting was never the best and competing with modern vehicle light outputs is a struggle.

“We hope that customers will now be able to upgrade in the knowledge that they can meet the MOT guidelines and have safer and more comfortable enjoyment of their vehicles.

“The changes do not mean though owners should not have to inform their insurers of the modification.

“It is a notifiable change that needs to be made.”

Before 1 April 1986 headlights were not subject to Type Approval meaning drivers could change their headlights to any specifications.

The DVSA said any new headlights must be road legal but do not need to be the same as the previous part.

However, cars built after this date were subject to Type Approval meaning any new headlights must be the same specifications as the previous lights.

It is understood the new rules were introduced to increase road safety among owners.

The DVSA said: “DfT (Department for Transport) has recently reviewed the lighting regulations in line with the UK road lighting regulations 1989 and the interpretation now concludes:

“If you swap your headlamp bulb from a halogen to an HID or LED bulb this is an MOT failure for cars and vans first used on or after 1 April 1986

“This conversion failure doesn’t apply to motorcycles

“Converted headlamps are not a failure item for cars or vans if a vehicle was first used before 1 April 1986

“Any lighting will still need to comply with the MOT’s standards on beam spread etc.”

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