More than two million motorists chose to have their car MOT’d since the start of April despite the government’s six-month extension being in place, new research has found.
An FOI (freedom of information) request made by car selling comparison website Motorway.co.uk to the DVSA discovered that a total of 2,153,768 MOTs have been carried out since the grace period came into force on March 30.
That compares to 7,166,056 carried out in 2019 – a decrease of over five million.
According to DVSA figures, 1,407,611 drivers took their vehicles in for an MOT during May, almost double (89 per cent) the number of tests during April (746,157).
Despite this increase, a substantial number of motorists did decide to take advantage of the extension, with MOT tests last month down two-thirds (61 per cent) on the number of tests in May 2019, when more than 3.6 million MOTs were carried out.
The research will bring into sharp focus the problems with cancelling the six-month extension for cars.
Last week, the DVSA lifted the three-month ban for HGVs, but the government is worried that by doing the same for cars the UK’s garage network won’t be able to cope with thousands more MOTs needed on top of those already falling later this year.
Birmingham saw the highest number of MOTs, with almost 40,000 motorists taking their vehicles in for a test in May, the research found, and almost twice as many MOTs (34,469) were carried out by garages in the Sheffield postcode area last month compared to April (18,170).
Alex Buttle, director of Motorway.co.uk, said: ‘It does appear as though motorists are putting safety before saving as the number of MOT tests in May shot up compared to the previous month. With lockdown restrictions eased further, and people venturing further from home for days out, general maintenance and safety issues are likely to have been at the forefront of many drivers’ minds.
‘The cost of an MOT test is small compared to the human cost if you’re driving a car that has a serious fault or defect, and many of us have our vehicles serviced at the same time as the MOT, which could flag up mechanical and safety issues that need to be addressed urgently.
‘For those motorists with older vehicles, which tend to be more susceptible to problems due to wear and tear, they might be wise to stick to their original MOT date to give it a full check and service. It will give them the peace of mind that it’s in good condition and mechanically sound at the present time.
‘And if owners are looking to protect the value of their car for selling in the future, then a heavily-delayed MOT may be an issue for some buyers. Even if you can delay, it may be more cost-efficient to get the MOT done sooner rather than later to protect your car’s ongoing value.’
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