The government should keep the option of a second MOT extension on the table as the country is locked down for a third time.
Independent Garage Association chairman Stuart James said it would be ‘unwise’ for the government to rule out a further extension to tests even though he thinks it would be the wrong thing to do.
The IGA boss said he had been contacted by a ‘small number’ of garage owners who believe a second MOT extension is needed, but said workshops were operating in a Covid secure manner.
He said: ‘I think the government at the current moment in time has to consider everything [including an MOT extension].
‘It would be unwise for the government not to include every option.
‘However, if they were to consider an MOT extension then they would see that the processes adopted by the motor trade are actually robust.’
It comes as Suffolk garage bosses told ITV News that they think an MOT extension is necessary to bring down interactions between customers and mechanics.
Richard and Joy Mattock, who have run Mattock’s Motors in Boxford for 20 years, believe another MOT extension is the right thing to do.
Joy Mattock said: ‘We’ve got much higher transmission rates now, it doesn’t seem to make sense. They’ve got the technology to review it week on week, so they could do it, say for four weeks, and then review it weekly thereafter.
‘If we can put men on the moon we can extend MOTs.’
She told the news channel how an 85-year-old man had to wait outside their garage for an hour while his MOT was carried out because he needed his car to get to a vaccination centre.
The Mattocks also said they do not think garages should be picking up cars from customers who are shielding either.
IGA boss James disagrees and told Car Dealer that garages have been working hard to make sure they are operating in Covid Secure ways.
He said: ‘We know the efforts that garages have put in to ensure their sites are actually safe for consumers to go into. Keys are usually handed over outside the building or through a safety screen.
‘They have put a great deal of effort into making their sites secure and the back end, the workshops, are completely isolated and cars are cleaned down.’
James said the IGA has carried out ‘hundreds’ of Covid audits at garages to ensure they are operating safely and has not experienced any problems.
And he said a recent survey of 400 garages revealed that 88 per cent of them were offering a pick-up and delivery service for vulnerable customers.
James said he didn’t think an MOT extension was sensible considering one-in-three vehicles fail their MOT and are potentially driving around with dangerous faults.
James added: ‘The MOT extension caused a level of confusion to consumers. We fully support the government’s drive to eradicate the virus and the pandemic, however I think the garages have had a lot of time to establish themselves in this environment and they are working in a safe way for customers and their staff.’
Last year drivers were given a six-month extension if their MOT fell due between the end of March and September.
It was put in place during the first lockdown to reduce the number of people who need to leave the house, despite the fact garages were allowed to stay open and continue carrying out MOTs.
A DVSA spokesman told Car Dealer: ‘DVSA is committed to stopping the spread of coronavirus while helping everyone keep their vehicle safe to drive. The MOT test helps motorists ensure their vehicle is safe and roadworthy.
‘MOT garages are open and are following government guidance about working safely during the coronavirus.’
First published: Jan 18, 12:09; Updated: Jan 19, 08:47