Motorists are being urged to get MOT tests booked immediately as new research reveal the majority of car owners have used the government’s six-month extension to delay their cars’ MOTs.
A new poll commissioned by The Motor Ombudsman found that most car owners took advantage of the six-month MOT extension announced in March.
The study of 765 individuals in the UK who have a car of three or more years of age and had an existing MOT certificate expiring between March 30 and July 31, 2020 revealed that 56 per cent opted to prolong taking their vehicle to a garage to be tested.
Over a third (36 per cent) stated that they would be booking an MOT to be carried out either before or on the newly extended due date.
A further one in five (20 per cent) said they had let the original deadline given to them in 2019 pass, but had used the additional window to get their car’s MOT completed ahead of schedule, rather than waiting until the last possible day.
Speaking to Car Dealer, Independent Garage Association chief executive Stuart James said the UK’s garage network was ready to tackle an extra workload, but he urged car owners to ‘beat the rush’.
‘We have been working with the DVSA to spread the message of “beat the rush” and getting garages to communicate with their customers to book as quickly as possible,’ he said.
‘If owners decide to not act now, there will be a rush on top of the two-to-three million cars garages would normally have to test.
‘The UK’s independent garages are prepared to burn the midnight oil to get through the work and we are confident they will manage it.’
James added that the number of MOTs carried out was ‘picking up’, though.
The findings of the research backed up data provided by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), showing that nearly 4.9m Class 4 MOTs, which includes passenger cars, were conducted between April 1 and June 30, 2020.
This represents a decline of more than 50 per cent when compared with the 10.3m Class 4 tests undertaken in the same period a year earlier.
Of those who took advantage of the extension, nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) had taken heed of the government’s advice, performing safety checks and ensuring that the oil level and tyre pressures met vehicle manufacturer-recommended levels before taking their car in for its delayed MOT.
Those living in Scotland and vehicle owners aged over 55 years were the most conscientious when it came to routine maintenance, with 91 per cent and 76 per cent of people in these respective groups stating that they had kept or were keeping a regular eye on their car.
Conversely, 22 per cent hadn’t paid any attention to their vehicle or couldn’t recall doing so (six per cent), with 25-to-34-year-olds and individuals residing in the south of England being the least likely to look under the bonnet to see if anything had to be topped up (27 per cent).
The Motor Ombubsman poll also found that despite the announcement in June that the six-month extension would end, only two per cent of respondents stated that they had organised the annual test for their vehicle.
The garage industry is stressing that car owners must act immediately and not wait until their six-month extensions come to an end, otherwise there will be a backlog.
Commenting on the poll, Bill Fennell, chief ombudsman and managing director of The Motor 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.’
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