As MOT exemption comes to an end, UK garages are expecting a surge in demand. We advise booking sooner rather than later.
Back in March, the Department for Transport announced a six-month exemption from MOT testing. The idea was to make it easier for key workers to get to their jobs during lockdown. Getting an MOT during that period could have interfered with their essential work, and in any case many testing and repair facilities were forced to close. The measure also allowed garages to focus on essential repair work for key workers’ vehicles.
However, with the lockdown drawing to a close, the MOT holiday will soon be over. On 29th June, Roads minister Baroness Vere announced that mandatory testing would return from 1st August.
The MOT backlog
The end of the MOT extension means that there will be a backlog of people whose cars need testing. How many? According to motorway.co.uk, MOT testing dropped from 3.7 million tests in March 2020 to just under 750,000 in April. There were regional variations in this. In the Swansea area, for example, the number of tests declined by 83.7%.
It might seem surprising that the drop wasn’t even greater — after all, why did 750,000 people book an MOT when it wan’t legally mandated? Presumably the answer is to do with roadworthiness. Even during the lockdown, all drivers were legally required to ensure their vehicle was in a safe and roadworthy condition. Having an MOT continued to be the most straightforward way of checking this.
Whatever the reason, the extension means that from April alone, there are almost three million MOTs that never took place. For those drivers, their new MOT deadline will be October. Although many won’t wait for the extension to run out, research shows that around 14% of drivers are intending to wait until the bitter end until they get their car booked in.
And that’s going to be a lot of extra demand for testing.
The RAC recently carried out research on garage owners’ predictions about the surge. They found:
- 93% expect demand will increase from October.
- 70% anticipate so much demand that drivers will have difficulty booking a slot before their MOT expires
- 27% expect owners will need to book two weeks ahead.
- 9% anticipate even greater delays, with some predicting the need to book up to a month in advance.
Our advice? Avoid the rush
Of course, just like every other garage, we don’t know for sure that there will be a massive October rush.
However, at the moment, it does seem a fair bet that there will be a shortage in testing capacity. For that reason, we reckon its prudent to plan ahead a bit during the forthcoming months. Booking your car in early is the easiest way to avoid any last-minute panic and, potentially, a lot of inconvenience.
Need an MOT in Cardiff/South Wales?
Throughout the pandemic, Welsh VW Specialists continued to support key workers with their MOT and servicing needs. We are delighted to say we’re now open for MOTs and servicing for all.
We strive to be the MOT centre of choice for customers throughout South Wales – including Cardiff, Rhoose, Barry and Penarth. With 25 years in the trade, we focus on offering main dealer levels of service at realistic rates.
If you choose to wait during your MOT, you’ll find a comfortable waiting area, with free wifi, tea and coffee.
Of course, the protection of our customers and staff is paramount, so we follow all government guidelines for infection control.
To book your vehicle in, or for any enquiries, get in touch.