As any MOT test station worth its salt will know, offering diesel particulate filter removal services is not the smartest of moves. Unfortunately though, for two Sheffield mechanics, their advertising of an emissions filter removal service has earned them a two-year MOT tester ban.
Since 2014, garages and testing stations have had to check for a diesel particulate filter in the inspection of the exhaust system as part of the MOT test (or annual test for heavy vehicles). In addition to this, the DVSA formally notified MOT garages that if they offered a DPF removal service, the agency would consider that this brought the MOT Scheme into disrepute.
If a vehicle is modified in this way – i.e. if the DPF is removed – it will no longer meet the emissions standards the car achieved when it was approved for sale in the UK. This makes it an offence to drive this vehicle on UK roads, with drivers facing fines of up to £1000. This quick-fix mentality not only brings the MOT scheme into disrepute, but surely casts a shadow over the professionalism of the industry as a whole as well, reaffirming the public’s negative impressions of the mechanic. Government figures last year reported that over 1000 diesel cars had been caught without any essential pollution filter suggesting that this practise could well be more widespread.
“This quick-fix mentality not only brings the MOT scheme into disrepute, but surely casts a shadow over the professionalism of the industry as a whole as well, reaffirming the public’s negative impressions of the mechanic.”
Stopping MOT garages from removing diesel particulate filters is one of a number of measures the DVSA is taking to support the government’s strategy to improve air quality.
DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said:
“DVSA’s priority is helping you keep your vehicle safe to drive. We take the quality of MOT testing extremely seriously, have carried out almost 10,000 visits, assessments and re-examinations and continue to work with the industry to improve test quality.
“We’ll withdraw the right to provide MOTs, and even prosecute garages who fail to meet the required standards, including those who pose a risk to air quality by removing DPFs or installing other emissions ‘cheat’ devices.”
It’s unlikely that many drivers are aware of the hefty fine they may receive if caught driving a vehicle modified in this way, but if they are slapped with a £1000 fine, you can bet your bottom dollar who the DVSA will be visiting next.
As we already know, some customers will always chase the cheapest solution and others will be completely unaware of the issues affecting their cars. But, when it comes to issues with DPFs, we need to be able to educate, which in turn should turn a DPF removal request into a service booking which should hopefully be far more profitable to your business.