More than half of car owners skipped MOT in lockdown

More than half of car owners whose vehicle was due an MOT during lockdown chose to take advantage of the government’s MOT extension scheme, according to new data.

Figures from the DVSA show that 4.9 million cars had MOTs carried out between April 1 and June 30. That’s less than 50 per cent of the 10.3 million that were tested in the same period in 2019.

The data was echoed by research from the Motor Ombudsman, which found that 56 per cent of drivers whose car was due an MOT between the end of March and July 31 - when the extension was cancelled - had not had their car tested.

Chief ombudsman Bill Fennell warned that this meant a high number of potentially dangerous cars were on the road unchecked.

Rush on test centres

The Motor Ombudsman research also found that less than a third (29 per cent) of those with an extension had rebooked their test, despite warnings of a rush on test centres in coming months.

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The DVSA has urged drivers not to wait until the last minute to book an MOT as it expects demand to double in September, October and November with regularly scheduled tests being joined by those of vehicles which qualified for the extension.

The Motor Ombudsman study found that nearly three-quarters of drivers had followed government advice to maintain their vehicles during lockdown, with those in Scotland, and vehicle owners aged over 55 years the most conscientious, with 91 per cent and 76 per cent respectively saying they had kept a regular eye on their car.

Conversely, 22 per cent had not paid any attention to their vehicle, with 25 to 34-year-olds and drivers in the south least likely to stay on top of maintenance.

Cause for worry

Commenting on the research, Bill Fennell, chief ombudsman, said: “The results of our study and wider industry data clearly shows that there is cause for worry, due to the number of potentially unsafe cars on the road that have not had their MOT. This is compounded by the concern that the recent government announcement has created very little impetus to buck this trend.

“If their personal situation allows, and with many garages and repairers once again opening their doors following the lifting of recent lockdown restrictions, we are urging consumers to take their cars for the annual assessment as soon as possible. This means that they will have a better chance of securing a booking, and will also help to alleviate a large build-up of outstanding tests that could leave MOT stations unable to cope at a later date.”