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Coronavirus: MOT delays predicted this autumn

Mechanic working on underside of car

Hundreds of thousands of vehicles due to be tested this summer could end up causing a backlog if drivers take advantage of the six-month MOT extension, the RAC has warned.

The Government announced last week, that mandatory MOT tests for cars, motorcycles and vans in England, Scotland and Wales will be restarted from August 1

Those vehicles due an MOT before August 1 will receive a six-month exemption.

Vehicles were granted the six-month exemption from MOT testing in March, to help slow the spread of coronavirus. 

However, although every vehicle due an MOT between March 30 and July 31 is granted the six-month extension, there is no obligation to make use of it.

RAC head of motoring services, Adam O’Neill, said: “If drivers wait until the autumn, they’ll be trying to arrange MOTs at the same time as hundreds of thousands of others.

“Understandably, demand for MOTs and servicing fell sharply after the coronavirus lockdown as garages closed and the Government instructed all of us to stay at home. But as the lockdown has started to be eased, drivers may be left wondering whether now is the right time to be getting their cars checked over, or whether making use of the MOT extension is the best course of action.”

Research conducted among members of the RAC’s Approved and Accredited Garages network has found that almost all (93%) expect demand to increase from October when the first cars that had their MOTs automatically extended need testing.

More than two thirds (70%) said they anticipate demand to increase “significantly”, which could make it difficult for some vehicles to be checked before their MOTs expire.

Four-in-10 RAC Approved and Accredited Garages says they expect vehicles will need to be booked up to a week in advance, while around a quarter (27%) expect that to extend to up to a fortnight.

One in 10 garages (9%) say the wait will be even longer, with MOTs needing to be booked up to a month before they are due.

The new findings follow separate research by the RAC in June that found one-in-seven drivers plan on making full use of the MOT extension.

Meanwhile, two-in-five (40%) fleets have postponed non-essential service, maintenance and repair (SMR) work during the coronavirus crisis, according to a Fleet News survey.

More than half (57.7%), however, expect to resume SMR work in the next three months and one-in-six (16.2%) within the next six months. 

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