Combined MOT and service rates soar in February
More motorists are booking joint MOT and service procedures and MOT failures rates are expected to increase, according to service and repair shops. Indeed, demand for combined MOT and service procedures increased almost 50 per cent last month (48%), according to BookMyGarage.com. Meanwhile, MOT-only bookings were down in February compared with February 2020
A report by the Motor Ombudsman last week revealed that service and repair outlets are expecting MOT failure rates to increase, with 58 per cent saying they are preparing for an increase in repair work as a result. This could indicate that, with motorists more hesitant to take their cars for service or repair work since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, the number of mechanical issues being found in MOT procedures could go up. With car showrooms remaining closed to all but click-and-collect customers until 12 April, the franchised network will still be reliant on its aftersales offering to secure revenue for at least another month.
The YouGov poll commissioned by The Motor Ombudsman also found that the majority of car owners took advantage of the six-month extension announced by the government in March to delay getting an MOT. The study of 765 individuals in Great Britain, who have a car of three or more years of age, and that had an existing MOT certificate expiring between 30 March and 31 July 2020, revealed that 56 per cent had exercised their right to prolong taking their vehicle to a garage for the compulsory annual test.
The research showed that of these individuals who chose to leave their MOT until a different time, just over a third (36%) stated that they would be organising for the safety assessment to be carried out either before or on the newly-extended due date. A further one in five (20%) said that they had let the original deadline given to them in 2019 pass, but had used the additional window to get their car’s MOT completed ahead of schedule, rather than waiting until the last possible day. The findings of the research echoed data provided by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), showing that nearly 4.9 million Class 4 MOTs, which includes passenger cars, were conducted between 01st April and 30th June 2020. This represents a decline of more than 50 per cent when compared to the 10.3 million Class 4 tests undertaken in the very same period a year earlier.
For owners that had opted to benefit from the MOT extension, nearly three quarters (72%) had taken heed of government advice, and had (30%) or were continuing (42%) to perform regular safety checks to ensure that the oil level and tyre pressures met vehicle manufacturer-recommended levels before taking their car in for its delayed MOT.
Those living in Scotland, and vehicle owners aged over 55 years were the most conscientious when it came to routine maintenance, with 91 per cent and 76 per cent of people in these respective groups stating that they had kept or are keeping a regular eye on their car. Conversely, 22 per cent had not paid any attention to their vehicle or could not recall doing so (6%), with 25 to 34-year-olds and individuals residing in the South being the least likely people to look under the bonnet to see if anything had to be topped up (27%).
Commenting on the research, Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and Managing Director of The Motor Ombudsman, said: “The results of our study and wider industry data clearly shows that there is cause for worry, due to the number of potentially unsafe cars on the road that have not had their MOT. This is compounded by the concern that the recent government announcement has created very little impetus to buck this trend.”
Karen Rotberg, Co-founder of BookMyGarage.com, said: “An increase in MOT failures and resulting repair work is to be expected given how much longer cars have been sitting idle on driveways in the last year. This could mean that consumers are booking additional services to give extra peace of mind as people start looking ahead to lockdown ending. Our data backs that up and it’s good news for those in the franchised sector which are now adapting to secure sector 2 & 3 work to rival the fast-fit network.”