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Will car MOT six-month extension be cancelled now heavy vehicle tests are to restart?

Time 11 months ago

The three-month MOT exemption for heavy vehicles is to be lifted from July 4 – prompting questions whether car tests will restart soon too.

The DVSA has today confirmed that MOT testing for heavy vehicles will resume on July 4 and the three-month extension will be raised in stages.

Unlike cars, which have a six month extension, heavy vehicles got a three month extension during the lockdown.

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The announcement will inevitably raise hopes among dealerships and garage owners that the six-month MOT extension for cars will be lifted imminently too.

Industry bodies – like the Independent Garages Association – have been calling on the government to lift the current six-month extension on car MOTs, saying the longer it goes on the more dangerous it could become.

They say that cars are dangerously driving around with faults that are going unchecked. They cite that a third of cars fail their MOTs with many failing on bald tyres – a serious safety defect.

Currently, anyone with an MOT due during the current 12-month timeframe automatically gets an extension of six months issued seven days before the MOT is due. The MOT extension is running from March 30, 2020, to March 29, 2021.

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With lockdown easing, the government confirmed the decision to end the six-month extension was ‘under constant review’.

Calls for lifting it will be inevitably be louder now with the announcement MOTs for HGVs has been lifted.

In a statement, the DVSA said: ‘We have issued a three-month exemption for vehicles due to be tested in June and will issue further exemptions for July tests.

‘This will help us manage demand as we resume testing. The exemptions will be applied automatically.

‘In August, vehicles which have already received an exemption will need a test.

‘All other vehicles due for a test in August will receive a three-month exemption.

‘When those exemptions expire, vehicles will need to be brought in for test.’

There was no mention of when cars MOT tests will be restarted in the announcement, but the rolling programme for heavy vehicles is likely to be how car MOT tests are reinstated.

This is the biggest problem with cancelling the MOT extension. The government is fearful of the capacity in the garage network to cope with thousands more MOTs needed on top of those already falling due later this year.

As it stands, all those that received extensions in March, April, May, and now June, would need their tests carried out in September, October, November and December – causing concerns in the government that these simply won’t be able to happen.

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Many believe it’s for this reason that the MOT extension has not been cancelled yet as the government is still working out how to phase it out.

In a letter to the Independent Garage Association last month, the transport secretary Grant Shapps said they needed to work out how to cope with the spike in demand that could come in six months time.

He said: ‘When testing is reintroduced, it needs to be done when there is sufficient capacity, not only immediately, but also when those vehicles that have been excluded become due for testing.’

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.

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