Drivers advised to book MOT tests early to avoid long delays

The MOT extension granted during the UK's first national Covid-19 lockdown has dramatically increased the number of vehicles that must pass the test in the coming months...

MOT feature

Drivers with cars due an MOT test in the next few months are being urged to book as soon as possible to avoid being caught out by a surge in demand.

Many garages decided to close during the UK's first national Covid-19 lockdown, leading to the Government granting a six-month MOT extension for vehicles that were due to be tested between 30 March and 31 July last year. As a result, a large number of vehicles now need the test at the same time.

According to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), nearly seven million MOTs are due to expire across England, Scotland and Wales during September and October – 1.3 million more than during the same two months of 2019.

The AA’s head of roads policy, Jack Cousens, said: “MOT centres are already feeling the strain and with ‘Super September’ looming, savvy drivers should get ahead of the game. Usually people leave booking their MOT to the last possible moment, but they won’t have that luxury this time.”

An MOT test involves the inspection of several areas of a vehicle to ensure they meet legal standards, including the brakes, lights, fuel system, mirrors, wipers and seatbelts.

The test for cars costs a maximum of £54.85, and is required when a vehicle reaches three years old, and then every 12 months subsequently.

Drivers can be fined up to £1000 for using a vehicle without a valid MOT certificate.

MOT garage sign

The most common reasons for MOT test failure

1. Lights and indicators 29.5%
Includes blown bulbs and incorrectly aligned headlights.

2. Suspension 20.2%
Broken or corroded suspension springs are the main culprit, caused by Britain’s poor roads and cold, wet weather.

3. Brakes 17.2%
Covers worn-out brake pads or brake discs and leaks in the braking system.

4. Tyres and wheels 10.9%
Tread depth below the legal limit is the main issue, followed by bulges or cuts in tyre sidewalls and damaged wheels.

5. Driver’s view 8.7%
Includes any items that obscure the view forwards and cracks in the windscreen.

6. Fuel and exhaust 5.4%
Cars aren’t allowed to emit any visible smoke, plus emission levels are checked. A locking fuel filler cap and a fuel tank in reasonable condition are also required.

7. Steering 3.0%
Covers worn racks or other components.

8. Seatbelts 2.2%
Frayed or worn seatbelts, insecure anchorage points and belts that don’t retract properly are common issues.

9. Bodywork and structure 1.9%
Rust can be a major issue on older cars, especially if it’s on structural components.

10. Number plates/VIN 0.9%
Includes broken numberplate lights and plates that flout the legal requirements.

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