Second MOT extension unlikely, despite new coronavirus lockdown

MOT test centres will remain open during the second lockdown, but book up early because many are still dealing with a backlog of vehicles...

Coronavirus servicing

During the UK's national lockdown that was introduced in March, the Government decided to grant a six-month extension for many car MOTs. This was because many garages had decided to close in order to protect staff and customers, even though they weren't legally bound to, and many people were finding it difficult to get their car tested. 

However, during the lockdown in England that runs from 5 November to 2 December, garages and service departments are not being told to close again, and this time it's expected that most of them will stay open, operating on Covid-safe guidelines implemented earlier in the year. This means it's unlikely that a new MOT extension will be introduced. 

Although car showrooms must close during the second lockdown, many dealerships are saying they will continue to sell cars, using the online and other remote practices introduced when they reopened in the summer. 

MOT garage sign

If your car is due for an MOT test during the second lockdown, it's advised that you book it in as early as possible, though. 

The six-month extension on MOTs applied to all cars with certificates expiring between 30 March and 31 July 2020; owners of cars with MOTs that ran out on or after 1 August 2020 had to book a retest as usual.

With cars eligible for the extension not needing to be retested until six months after their original MOT expired, that means many owners of these cars will be getting their cars tested now and that's likely to mean test centres are busier than usual.

Figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) show that only 2.1 million MOTs were carried out in April and May 2020, compared with 7.1 million over the same period in 2019.

They also show that on average a third of vehicles fail their MOT the first time, suggesting that around 1.6 million unsafe cars could now have valid MOT certificates.

If you own one of the millions of cars that qualified for an MOT extension and you want to get a new MOT for it before the extra six months expires this is possible.

However, if you want to keep the same annual renewal date for your car's MOT as it had prior to the coronavirus pandemic, you can only get an MOT up to a month (minus a day) before the current one runs out. So, if your MOT runs out on 2 December, the earliest you can get an MOT to keep the same renewal date for next year is 3 November. 

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