What if my car’s MOT runs out during the coronavirus outbreak?

Six-month exemption granted for car MOTs, so people who are self-isolating or can't find a garage that's still open can wait to get a new MOT for their car...

George is one of three Cordwallis Mobile Service Technicians – based in Oxford, Heathrow and Maidenhead – who cover the area around the M4 and M25 corridors

The Government has granted a six-month exemption period for car MOTs due to the coronavirus outbreak. With many garages closing due to the Covid-19 outbreak, anyone whose car MOT expires from 30 March will have six months to get it renewed. 

Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, made the announcement, and added: "You must still keep your car in a roadworthy condition, and garages will remain open for repairs." 

This means if you're staying at home to comply with the current lock-down situation, or you're self-isolating or suffering from coronavirus symptoms, and your car's MOT is going to expire soon, you don't need to get it renewed until the lock-down is over. 

MOT tests for busses, trailers and HGVs have already been suspended for three months due to coronavirus. 

At present, MOT centres and garages are allowed to remain open, but many are closing to protect staff and customers, and some people have been finding it difficult to get their car serviced or MOTd. However, many companies are still offering to service cars belonging to key workers, so they can keep using their car.  

If you are a key worker and are planning on taking your car to a local garage for an MOT test, we would advise you to discuss and agree the protocols for how you will interact with garage staff prior to dropping it off. If you are in a higher risk group, such as being over 70, pregnant or suffering from other conditions, either get someone else to drop off and pick up the car for you or use a mobile MOT provider who can come to you and carry out work any required work at your home or another location that's convenient for you.

Thanks to the adaptability of UK businesses, big and small, a growing number of businesses are offering a mobile MOT service. And many garages and car dealerships are offering free collection and delivery services to customers, in order to keep cars roadworthy and stem the slump in business that’s been caused by the coronavirus. 

It’s easy to book your car in for an MOT either online or over the phone, and most businesses can also take payment remotely, too. 

BUYING

To avoid contact with garage staff, you can leave the car keys in a secure place to be collected. We’ve been told that garages are ensuring collection and delivery staff wear gloves and other protective clothing. Once you get the car back, as a precaution, we’d advise wiping the key fob, and the car’s handles, steering wheel, gear lever and other controls down with disinfectant. 

You can get a new MOT test done up to 28 days before your current one expires, so you can get in early if you're concerned about getting ill.  

However, if your car's MOT does run out and you aren't able to get it renewed, you can keep the car off the road, tell the DVLA that's it's not being used. This is done by completing a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN), which can be done online at the Government website, or by calling the DVLA on 0300 123 4321. To do this with immediate effect, you'll need the 11-digit number from your car's V5 registration document. 

When you're feeling better you can then take it to a garage for to get a new MOT as long as you have pre-booked the test; if you're stopped by the police on the way to the garage, you'll have to prove you have an appointment or you'll get a £1000 fine. 

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Read more: all the latest coronavirus advice for drivers >>