checking headlight aim during an MOT test

Is MOT testing back to normal?

Covid has affected many areas of all our lives during the last 18 months but many vehicle owners don’t realise the impact the government’s MOT exemptions have had on workshops, in particular MOT testing stations.

Garages throughout the UK are preparing for a surge in demand for MOT testing as over half of tests that would have been due in March now expire in September thanks to the government MOT exemption.

Surge in demand for MOT tests

In the 2020 lockdown, the UK government announced a 6 month MOT extension for all vehicle’s who had an MOT due between March 30th and July 31st. In this time period, 5.3 million fewer tests took place compared to the previous year. It wasn’t until September 2020 that vehicle owners began to get back on the roads and re-book their postponed tests, on top of tests already due. This increase in MOT tests started to create a bottle-neck of MOT bookings and the beginning of seasonal MOT demand between the months of September & December.

The impact of this “bottle neck” on MOT bookings is concerning. It’s expected to cause extremely high demand for MOT tests in September, leading to many drivers being unable to get an MOT booking on time.  In fact this new “seasonal MOT demand” may take over 10 years to level out.

Historically there has been a relatively consistent demand for MOT testing throughout the year. However the impact of Covid and the exemption scheme means this is no longer the case. It’s expected that more than 5 million additional tests will take place in the second half of 2021, leading to garages across the UK being unable to meet the demand for tests. This is likely to impact all drivers, including businesses and fleets who will find themselves unable to use their vehicle legally without a valid MOT certificate

Continental tyres have analysed MOT data which predicts that between 800,000 and 1.2 million additional tests are due to take place each month from September to December 2021, with test rates peaking in September and October at around 4.4 – 4.5 million tests a month.

When did MOT testing start again?

MOT testing officially started again on the 1st August 2020. Drivers with vehicle’s requiring an MOT between March 30th & July 31st 2020 were granted a six month MOT exemption. Whilst many vehicle owners stuck to their original test date, many utilised the exemption period. This exemption period has therefore increased MOT demand between September & January which is a pattern expected to occur every year for the next decade.

How soon can you have an MOT test?

MOT tests can be carried out up to a month (minus 1 day) before the actual expiry date and we would encourage all customers to take advantage of this and not leave tests until the last minute. Vehicle owners won’t lose out by having an MOT up to a month in advance as the existing expiry date will be preserved and the MOT certificate will be valid for up to 13 months.

Drivers are encouraged to prepare in advance and expect MOT testing appointments to be in higher demand from September.

  • Book earlier – don’t leave your test until the last minute
  • Pre-plan in case your vehicle fails the MOT
  • Prepare your vehicle
  • Consider an early test date

What does MOT stand for?

MOT actually stands for Ministry of Transport. All vehicles over 3 years of age have to have an annual MOT test.

MOT tests are designed to ensure you vehicle meets the standards necessary to be safe on the roads and as a driver, you’re responsible for ensuring it meets this standard. 

How much does an MOT cost?

Class 4 MOT tests are capped at £54.85. All our branches charge £44.95 for all MOT tests including Class 5 & Class 7 tests for minibuses and commercial vehicles up to 3.5 ton.

How to prepare for an MOT

There’s no doubt that there will be a surge in demand for MOT’s from September. If your MOT is due around this time and you’re reliant on your vehicle we would urge you to consider booking an early test.

Making sure your vehicle is prepared for the MOT will help avoid delays caused by failures. A few checks you can carry out at home are:

  • Check your tyres are legal. 1.6mm is the legal limit however testers will advise tyres below 3mm
  • Check bulbs are all working
  • Check wipers are in good condition & clear the windscreen sufficiently
  • Look out for windscreen chips and get them repaired in advance.

Another good tip is to take advantage of the free checks on offer in garages. Brake checks, exhaust checks, suspension checks & battery checks are all available and may pre-empt a problem during your MOT test.

If you need help or advice on booking an MOT for your vehicle, contact your local Eden Tyres & Servicing branch or book online below.