Drivers whose car is due an MOT in coming months are being urged to make an appointment early amid predictions of delays and a shortage of slots at test centres.
Two major vehicle maintenance specialists are predicting a surge in demand for MOT tests in the coming weeks which could leave vehicles without a valid test.
As we head into winter millions of extra drivers are expected to present their cars for an MOT following the expiring of the Government’s extension scheme.
During lockdown, more than 9.5 million vehicles were granted a six-month extension on their MOTs and data from the DVSA shows that more than half (58.7 per cent) of these have not yet had a new test carried out.
In an average year, around 6.5m MOT tests are carried out between October and December but this is expected to jump to more than 10 million this year, putting significant strain on test centres.
Garage services website Fixter has reported a surge in drivers trying to book tests, with 75 per cent of its garages experiencing an increase in demand and 45 per cent having to make customers wait longer than usual for an appointment.
Halfords Autocentres is predicting a similar increase in demand, with bosses expecting up to 85 per cent more bookings in October alone, equivalent to around 1.7m extra tests across the country.
Limvirak Chea, CEO of Fixter, commented: "The backlog of vehicles for MOTs is having significant implications on garages, which comes as a result of the six-month Government extension. We believe the current backlog is just the start, and that significant waiting lists are yet to come from October onwards. As a result, UK consumers are facing a race against the clock to get their MOTs booked in now, to avoid significant waiting lists, resulting in them potentially unable to use their vehicle."
Driving without a valid MOT carries a fine of £1,000 while driving a vehicle in an unroadworthy condition can see motorists fined up to £2,500 and given three penalty points. If you’re caught with bald tyres - one of the most common MOT failures - matters are even worse, with three points and a £2,500 fine per defective tyre.
Andy Randall, managing director of Halfords Autocentres added: “We’ve been urging drivers to beat the October rush since the beginning of summer and book their vehicles in for an MOT and service before the autumn and winter months, when motorists will be joining millions of others who have held off getting their MOT done.
“Bookings have increased over the last several months and so have services as motorists look to combine the two. As drivers are making shorter journeys, this puts a strain on the car meaning they need more services and MOTs. The MOT test remains the best way to ensure vehicles are safe to drive.”