Following the end of the MOT extension policy on 1 August, new analysis by the UK’s largest MOT tester reveals that 4.3 million drivers are at risk of driving illegally this autumn.
The automatic MOT extension introduced by the government in response to Covid-19 has created a massive spike in the number of vehicles whose MOT will expire in the coming three months. The move has effectively doubled the number of tests required in September, October and November, with a total of 11.28 million vehicles now needing an MOT over this period.
Research by Kwik Fit, which has the largest MOT network in the country, shows that 38% of drivers book their test three days or fewer before their MOT expires. With the doubling of demand for MOTs, Kwik Fit predicts that the average garage across the country will be fully booked for MOTs at least three days in advance. This means that if drivers follow their usual habits, over the coming three months up to 4.3 million car owners will be at risk of having to drive when their MOT has expired, an offence which can lead to a £1,000 fine.
Kwik Fit has also analysed the number of vehicles needing tests across the country in proportion to the number of MOT test centres in each location, to show where appointments may be most scarce. Its analysis found that drivers in Reading, Dumfries, Paisley, Swindon and Sheffield are likely to find it hardest to secure an available MOT appointment at short notice. Indeed, in Reading there will be nearly three times as many vehicles needing an MOT per test centre as there will be in Blackburn, the location where drivers will be best served, as it has the lowest number of tests required per centre.
To support drivers, and to encourage them to book as early as possible, Kwik Fit has introduced a wider choice of online booking options. Drivers can now book an MOT up to seven months in advance, and Kwik Fit will provide availability in the driver’s five nearest centres in order to offer maximum flexibility.
Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said: “The MOT is a vital safety check, but it is something that many drivers leave to the last minute to sort out and in previous years that has left some car owners driving without an MOT. The impact of Covid-19 and the MOT extension will make this problem much worse as finding available MOT appointments at short notice will be a lot trickier over the coming months.
“At Kwik Fit we already provide more MOTs than anyone else, and we are expanding our capacity wherever possible. However, we still recommend that drivers book as soon as they can. We have made it possible to book online up to seven months in advance, so drivers can put it in the diary and not have to worry about a last minute panic.”
Whether their test is at Kwik Fit or any other MOT centre, the company advises drivers to ensure they keep to their booking time, as many garages across the country will have a full test schedule and no flexibility to accommodate late arrivals. Owners should also ensure their locking wheel nut is easily accessible and to wear a mask and observe social distancing when visiting the centre.
To book an MOT test or check for availability in their nearest centres, drivers should visit the website.
For the latest news and updates from Kwik Fit, customers can also follow the company on Twitter at @kwik_fit.
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