MOT delay warning as garages predict surge in demand

Drivers are being urged to book their MOT early or risk being stuck without a road-legal car as millions rush to get their vehicles tested.

Recent months have seen drivers granted an automatic six-month extension to their vehicles’ MOTs, affecting millions of cars.

However, from October these extensions will begin to expire and as a result, MOT provider Halfords Autocentres is predicting a surge in demand for tests towards the end of 2020.

It has analysed data from across the maintenance industry and expects an 85 per cent increase in demand in October as 1.7 million additional drivers look to have the test carried out. That is on top of the two million tests which are normally scheduled for the month.

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Andy Randall, managing director of Halfords Autocentres, said the pattern would continue for the rest of the year and warned that the sudden additional demand could leave drivers struggling to book a test in time.

He commented: “We’re urging drivers to beat the rush and book their vehicles in this summer.

“October and the winter months are going to be much busier than normal when motorists will be joining millions of others who have held off getting their MOT done.

“Our research shows that almost half of motorists are worried about the roadworthiness of other cars on the road so those that get theirs done can be much more confident that their cars are properly roadworthy. The MOT test remains the best way to ensure vehicles are safe to drive.”

The automatic MOT extension was introduced at the end of March to cut the need for people to travel and reduce the burden on garages during lockdown. It was due to run for 12 months but, with lockdown easing and millions of motorists returning to the road, the Department for Transport decided to end it early. Any car, van or motorbike due an MOT on or after August 1, 2020 will not get any extension.

The move came after maintenance specialists raised fears that more than one million unsafe cars could be on the road thanks to the extension.

Driving withouth avalid MOT or using an unroadworthy vehicle can carry a fine of up to £1,000.