Garages warn MOT test rates have collapsed as drivers pushed to ‘catch up on maintenance’

DVSA explains 2018 MOT test changes

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More than 4.2million MOT tests were postponed between April and June last year as drivers desperately took advantage of the six-month extension. In many areas, motorists were still able to book a test if they wanted one done but latest DVSA figures show this was not popular among road users.

Experts at BookMyGarage warns the new data suggests hundreds of thousands of motorists could have been driving a car with dangerous faults last year in a major safety risk.

They say 70 percent of road users book a service at the same time as their MOT test meaning many would have gone a whole year without any vehicle maintenance.

A Freedom of Information Act request to the DVSA by BookMyGarage showed MOT rates collapsed by 79 percent last April and 61 percent last May.

Just over half a million tests were carried out in April last year compared to over 2.6million 12 months previously,

The data shows test numbers were still down by around 16 percent in June and four percent in July when extensions were ended.

A month later, demand for tests actually exceeded the same month in 2019 by around nine percent as drivers began returning to garages for their rearranged tests.

Karen Rotberg, Co-founder of BookMyGarage said drivers needed to “catch-up on missed maintenance” as soon as possible.

She said: “Many motorists have put off getting vehicles serviced and even repaired.

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“This hasn’t presented much of a problem in recent months since millions of people have only used their cars for short and essential trips.

“But, with lockdown restrictions easing, now is the time to catch-up on any missed maintenance.”

She added: “Motorists can beat the garage rush expected later in the year by getting services and repair work completed now.”

The figures show MOT test rates then accelerated between September and January with rates up by nearly a third.

The number of tests carried out in December 2020 was 50 percent higher than the previous year with almost 2.5million booking in for car exams.

October was the busiest month of the year with over 3.6million booking ions for tests compared to 2.6million in October 2019.

The news comes days after KwikFit claimed the number of drivers missing their MOT expiry date more than tripled in the last six months of 2020.

Just nine percent of road users booking their test in the last half a year did so three or more weeks after their current certificate had run out.

This compares to just three percent of drivers who missed their expiry date in the whole of 20129.

KwikFit’s Roger Griggs said they were seeing “many more drivers plan in advance” and get tests booked in “well ahead” of their expiry date.

But he warned there had been a “big increase” in those leaving tests until after their expiry date which could be “dangerous”.

He said: “Unfortunately, we are also seeing a big increase in owners not getting their car tested until three or more weeks after it has become illegal to drive.

“This is especially dangerous at the moment as people will not have been driving their cars as much over the last year.

“As a result, any safety issues may not be as apparent to them as they would be with more frequent use of their car.”

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