Government ends coronavirus MOT extension early

Normal testing rules to return from 1 August due to fears that the easing of lockdown could mean more than a million unsafe cars on UK roads, although there will still be exemptions...

MOT garage - Mercedes C-Class being tested

The Government has announced that it is cutting short the six-month coronavirus MOT extension, with conventional testing rules applying to most cars from 1 August.

When the Covid-19 lockdown was introduced in March, forcing many garages to close, the Government decided to grant a six-month extension for many car MOTs across the UK.

This meant that if your car's MOT was going to run out between 30 March 2020 and 29 March 2021, you would automatically be given an extra six months to get it retested. The exemption was applied on a rolling basis, so if your MOT expired on 30 March you have until 30 September to get it renewed, and for those expiring later, the renewal date will be six months further ahead.

The MOT expiry date on the Government's online database of MOTs will be updated to the new extended date approximately seven days before the test certificate expires. 

Eligible vehicles will still have a valid MOT certificate for an extra 6 months, meaning owners can still tax thier vehicles, although they may have to do this a little later than usual until the online records have been updated. It means your insurance will still be valid and your vehicle’s record will be updated so the police can see you have a valid MOT. However, you will not get a new paper MOT certificate with the new expiry date on it.

However, the six-month extension has been curtailed, so it now only applies to cars with MOTs expiring between 30 March and 31 July 2020. Owners of cars with MOTs that run out on or after 1 August 2020 must boot a retest as usual.

If you want to keep the same renewal date, you can get an MOT up to a month (minus a day) before the current one runs out and keep the same renewal date. So, if your MOT runs out on 2 August, the earliest you can get an MOT to keep the same renewal date for next year is 3 July. However, if you don't want to keep the same renewal date you can get your car MOT'd more than a month before the certificate expires. So if you currently have a six-month extension on your car's MOT, but would rather have it retested sooner, this is possible. 

The two main reasons for cutting short the exemption are that MOT test centres are now all open again and that road safety organisations expressed concerns about unroadworthy cars being driven on our roads. With people encouraged to avoid public transport and use other methods of travelling, there was also a worry that traffic levels could increase. 

Roads minister Baroness Vere said: As people return to our roads, it is vital that motorists are able to keep their vehicles safe. That’s why as restrictions are eased, from 1 August MOT testing will again become mandatory.

Figures obtained by from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) show that only 2.1 million MOTs were carried out in April and May of this year, compared with 7.1 million over the same period in 2019.

DVSA figures also show that on average one third of vehicles fail their MOT on first inspection, suggesting that around 1.6 million unsafe cars could now have valid MOT certificates.

MOT garage sign

Many of the MOT centres that closed to protect staff and customers have now reopened, but if you are planning to take your car to one, it's advisable to discuss and agree in advance the protocols for how you will interact with staff.

There are also mobile MOT provider who can come to you to carry out the test and required work. Plus, many garages and car dealerships are already 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 pandemic. 

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