If your car needs its MOT soon, you might want to think about getting your test booked in sooner rather than later.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has urged drivers to book their MOTs now amid fears of appointment shortages across the UK. Particularly in major cities, testing centres are dealing with tens of thousands of extra vehicles due for testing, with the backlog set to have a significant effect across autumn 2021.
It’s a rather unique problem and one that has been created by the legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we’ll look at why autumn has seen such a surge in MOTs and what that means for owners caught up in the middle of it.
Why has there been an increase in MOTs?
The surge in MOT demand comes from action taken by the Government in the thick of the pandemic last year. Between March 30th-July 31st, the introduction of a COVID MOT extension gave cars, motorcycles and vans with their MOT due in that period an extra six months to get a test.
The thought process behind the MOT COVID exemption scheme was to help protect drivers and businesses at the peak of the pandemic, and indeed it was a sound and very understandable decision. However, the legacy of MOT exemptions across the UK was seen during autumn last year, when demand for MOT services effectively doubled as those with COVID MOT extensions booked in alongside those with tests already due across the September-December period.
Now testing windows have reverted to the traditional 12 months, that same autumn rush is set to happen again this year – and presumably for at least a few more to come – as the backlog evens out.
What does that mean if you need an MOT now?
While the current MOT situation is by no means a crisis, it does mean you may find it hard to get a quick booking – particularly if you live in a busier urban area.
The Daily Express recently reported on the 10 UK cities most heavily affected by the current appointments shortage, with Birmingham topping the list with over 22,500 additional vehicles in need of testing as a result of COVID MOT extensions. In other cities like Sheffield, Newcastle and Bristol – and indeed with all locations in the top 10 – backlogs of tens of thousands have been reported.
As such, the DVSA is urging drivers with tests due to book as soon as possible to avoid missing their MOT expiry date. Those who can’t get a slot may risk losing their ability to drive until they can secure a test. If you're caught driving without a valid MOT, you can be fined as much as £1,000.
How early can you book an MOT?
As for how far in advance you can book an MOT, the DVSA has been keen to remind drivers that MOT expiry dates can be retained for another year if a test is carried out up to one calendar beforehand. Time it right and your next MOT certificate could last for 13 months.
You do also have the option to MOT your car even earlier than the one-month window, but any test done outside of the permitted buffer period will move your expiry date to 12 months from the date of that test.
With the DVSA increasing awareness of the testing window, it’s hoped that enough drivers will take advantage of early testing to eventually level out the autumn backlog.
Get all your servicing needs sorted with Robins & Day
With the demand for MOT testing high, you’ll want to make sure your car passes with flying colours when you do manage to get a booking. Back in February, we wrote a blog on the things to check before your MOT. It offers a rather handy run-through of all the key areas you should check are in working order before test day, so we’d recommend taking a look.
As for booking your MOT, we’ve got you covered here at Robins & Day. In fact, we can help with all your car maintenance needs, from full servicing to our call and collect parts service.
Booking in with us is simple – you can arrange a service or MOT online or give us a call. Our expert staff and manufacturer-approved technicians are practising full social distancing and safety measures. We also offer a complimentary 23-point vehicle health check and car wash and vac with every service.
As the DVSA will tell you, book now to avoid disappointment! Contact us if you have any questions.