Motorists whose cars are due an MOT before the end of the year are being urged to book a test early or risk being stranded with an unroadworthy vehicle.
An estimated 12.3 million cars are due their MOT between now and the end of 2021, with additional demand caused by last year’s MOT extension and more than 750,000 three-year-old cars requiring their first test.
As a result, drivers are being told to expect longer waiting times to get a test and to make sure they give themselves plenty of time to make an appointment before their car’s MOT expires.
Last year’s extension scheme meant that many drivers put off having an MOT until the final quarter of the year, with the AA estimating that as many as 5.5m drivers took advantage of the scheme.
On top of this, September brings a surge in demand linked to the traditional jump in new car sales around the registration plate change. An estimated 783,000 cars first registered three years ago are now due their MOT between September and December.
Paul Evans, head of Co-op Motor Insurance, said: “We’re urging motor vehicle owners to check their vehicle’s MOT and if it’s due in the next three months, to get it booked in with a reputable mechanic as soon as they can.
“Due to last year’s national lockdown, between March and July, cars, motorcycles and vans were given a six month extension to their MOT. Over 12 months on, we could see a huge glut of people rushing to get their car through testing and figures from the DVSA would support this, with almost a third of all the vehicles in the UK will see their MOT expire by New Year’s Eve.
“We know how much people rely on their cars which is why we offer a handy pick up and drop off service which means your car can get checked while you work at home or in the office.”
The AA previously warned that September would bring a spike in demand for tests as 338,000 cars registered in September 2018 became due for their first MOT. The group’s head of road policy, Jack Cousens, said: “Usually people leave booking their MOT to the last possible moment. Drivers won’t have that luxury this time.”
Driving without an MOT is a serious offence and carries a fine of £1,000, and all cars between three and 40 years old must have a valid test.