MOT exemption means many cars will not be checked for up to six months and 49 per cent of drivers receiving an MOT extension will go to the end of the period without getting car tested, according to Kwik Fit’s analysis. However, the leading fast-fit chain also reports that the majority of drivers think the MOT extension should be ended now.
At the same time that the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), Independent Garage Association (IGA) and Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) published post-lockdown garage reopening advice, they also echoed earlier calls from the tyre aftermarket business to support MOT tests.
Drivers in Northern Ireland whose MOTs are due during the pandemic shutdown will enjoy a one-year exemption, a Stormont minister said. It would not be possible to accommodate the backlog as well as conduct normal business at testing centres, infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon said. Drivers will instead apply for MOTs as normal next year. The announcement caps a year of turmoil for MOT testers in the region. In January, all tests were suspended due to faults with vehicle lifts used in MOT centres. Anti-Coronavirus lockdown measures had already led to further extensions for the MOT exemption.
Venson Automotive Solutions is urging fleet managers to encourage company car drivers to ensure their vehicles are road ready as the nation anticipates an easing of lockdown. The advice from Venson follows its latest survey of UK motorists which revealed that one in five do not know when their MOT is due, and 69 per cent are unclear about when the Government’s six-month MOT exemption came into play.
Many garages have responded to the drastic decline in business under lockdown conditions by offering discounts on MOTs. However, the Independent Garage Association (IGA) argues that such a measure cannot be sustained. The associations says that it is campaigning against the practice of discounting MOTs to help garages recuperate costs from the loss of revenue throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
A survey of 510 suppliers, motor factors and garages has shown that more than 60 per cent of garages in the UK have closed their doors during the coronavirus pandemic. While these UK closures seem a high estimate at first glance, many that said they have temporarily closed are still offering emergency work to customers and key workers. The survey, which was conducted to highlight the current state of the automotive aftermarket as it responds to unprecedented challenges, was carried out by automotive aftermarket PR and marketing agency Impression.
The UK Government exemption on MOTs for six months from 30 March 2020, may have come as welcome news to many motorists, but the NTDA has also raised serious concerns about its impact on future vehicle roadworthiness. The fact that the emphasis has been placed on motorists to ensure their vehicles are kept in a roadworthy condition, further raises concerns. In short, the NTDA believes this general exemption will create long-term problems.
Tread depth is essential to keep a vehicle in contact with the road in wet conditions and it remains a legal requirement, despite the introduction of a six-month exemption on MoT for Britain’s motorists. TyreSafe is reminding motorists that a tyre being driven below 1.6mm is illegal and if found by the police could result in a fine of up to £2,500 and three-points being added to a driver’s licence – per tyre.
The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has said the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA) decision to extend MOTs for a six-month period causes “huge challenges” for the sector, arguing that the industry needs to ensure vehicles continue to be kept safe in these challenging times.
Following talk of a possible MOT suspension, the government has clarified the position. Cars, motorcycles and vans will be granted a six-month MOT exemption from 30 March 2020 in order to allow people to carry on with essential travel. This means vehicles that would usually would require an MOT test won’t need one from 30 March. However, the government does say “vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition, and garages will remain open for essential repair work”, adding that “drivers can be prosecuted if driving unsafe vehicles.”
The Covid-19 lockdown prompts the question of whether getting an MOT test is permitted as a reason to leave the house. As Tyrepress has reported, garages are allowed to stay open under the terms of the lockdown, so does it follow that MOTs will continue to be required? The latest information is that MOTs for the vast majority “lorries, busses, and trailers” are currently suspended (see below or click here for more details), but this could be extended to private passenger vehicles as the situation develops. The Department for Transport states that it is keeping MOT testing for cars, motorcycles and light vans under review.[UPDATE (25/03/2020): the government has announced that cars, motorcycles and vans will receive an exemption from Monday 30 March 2020. Click here for further details.]