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Diesel particulate filters: protecting the environment and the MOT’s integrity
Since February 2014, when an MOT tester inspects a diesel vehicle’s exhaust system they have to check if there’s a diesel particulate filter. Diesel particulate filters are important in maintaining acceptable levels of air quality.
Diesel particulate filters trap particulate matter, like soot, from exhaust gases. They have been used for more than 20 years and have been fitted on all diesel vehicles since 2013, as part of the Euro 5 emissions standard. If they are not filtered out, diesel particulates pollute our air and can damage our health, so these filters are vital in keeping our air clean and protecting us from pollution.
There are two main reasons for which some people might want to remove a vehicle’s diesel particulate filter.
MOT ‘friendly’ removals
The DVSA enforcement team recently investigated 2 linked companies, who were offering to remove diesel particulate filters from vehicles – describing their services as being “MOT friendly” and “hard to notice”.
Both companies regularly recommended each other on social media, but claimed to DVSA’s investigators they had no official relationship, despite sharing the same address, staff and directors.
As a result of DVSA’s investigation, it was found that the directors of the diesel particulate filter removal company were authorized testers. These MOT testers were banned from conducting MOT tests for 2 years and the owner of the MOT station was banned for 28 days.
The bans give a clear message about the importance of maintaining the integrity of the MOT. Remember, the consequences of turning a blind eye to a missing diesel particulate filter (or worse, actively taking part in their removal) can be serious for an MOT tester.
A vehicle that needs a particulate filter and does not have one should fail its MOT. If you pass it knowing that it does not have one, you are harming the environment and committing fraud.
For drivers, the penalty for driving a vehicle with the diesel particulate filter removed, are fines of up to £1,000 for a car or £2,500 for a light goods vehicle. Undeclared illegal modifications (like removing a diesel particulate filter) could also invalidate a vehicle’s insurance, so it is not just garages who could face serious consequences.
During 2016 to 2017, the DVSA issued 761 warnings or disqualifications to MOT garages or testers who carried out improper tests, putting all road users at risk. That is a tiny proportion of the 60,000 or more MOT testers in Britain.
DVSA said, “We know the vast majority of you wouldn’t ever consider making modifications to cars that make them unsafe – and illegal – to drive. It goes against everything the MOT stands for, and as MOT testers, you’re at the forefront of making sure the MOT’s integrity is maintained.”