No plans for second MOT extension as UK garages are ‘moving heaven and earth’ to support customers

Time 7:08 am, November 19, 2020

There were ‘no plans’ to introduce a second MOT extension because the government was happy garages could deliver a safe level of service during the second lockdown.

During the first shut down, drivers were given an extra six months if their car’s MOT was due, effectively giving them an 18-month MOT period.

But despite England being locked down for a second time in 2020, another MOT extension is not on the cards.

Garages are busy carrying out MOT and servicing work in safe and secure way, according to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

‘The DVSA is happy with the service the test stations are able to provide in a secure and safe environment,’ Independent Garage Association (IGA) chief executive, Stuart James, told Car Dealer.

James said that a ‘large number’ of its members have reassured their customers by carrying out the IGA’s Covid-19 compliance audits, which consists of garages having to meet a set of guidelines.

If they pass and operate a safe and secure service, they receive a poster to display showing they comply with government guidance.

Although not spelled out by the DVSA, another crucial reason why a second MOT extension is not being considered is garages are busy working through the backlog created by the first lockdown.

Confusion surrounding whether garages were deemed ‘essential’ and were allowed to be open during the first lockdown meant some 50 per cent of businesses were closed, but that’s not the case second time around says James.

He said: ‘All garages are open – there is plenty of MOT work out there and garages are busy doing MOTs.

‘Interestingly, garages have got used to catching up with the backlog and putting the extra effort in, and they are satisfying consumer demand.

‘The independents in particular have really embraced it and geared themselves up to accommodate the demand.’

James confirmed that to work through the backlog created by the first lockdown and the usual influx of MOTs, garages are working more efficiently and longer hours.

‘The tests aren’t being done any quicker and there are no shortcuts happening,’ James said.

‘Garages have refined their processes raised their game to meet the consumer demand.’

James revealed that the MOT failure rate dropped earlier this year as owners of newer and better maintained cars continued to have their MOT tests carried out, while drivers of less quality cars opted for the extension.

The failure rate is normally one in three cars,’ he said, ‘but we are expecting this to rise back to normal levels.’

James applauded the hard work of the garage sector in stepping up to the challenge of clearing more MOT work but maintaining high levels of service.

‘The great thing about the independent sector is that they have great relationships with their customers – they know which of their customers are vulnerable and they are part of the community,’ he said.

‘Many businesses have adjusted what they do – picking up and delivering, for example – to accommodate their customers’ needs and concerns.’

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However, James did warn that customers should not be putting off MOT or serving work.

He said: ‘We know that some people have delayed services on their cars because of the lockdowns, but what will happen is that there will be a backlog of service work after the lockdown.

‘If you need a service, book your car in for an MOT and get it serviced at the same time. Local garages are moving heaven and earth to support their customers and they will always find a solution.’

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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