The new round of changes made to the MOT process, post Coronavirus

The Government in the United Kingdom made it mandatory for people to annually register their vehicles for an MOT test after they complete three years. However, with the Coronavirus pandemic, the Government decided to extend all the MOT tests by six months so people would not have to leave their house when they were likely to catch the virus. They also provide an extension to vehicles with expiring MOTs between 30th March to 31st July, for a few months.

What is the MOT?

The MOT tests are a series of tests that vehicle owners have to put their cars through to make sure they are roadworthy, safe, and that their emissions are under control. To keep these three aspects in place, they have to go through multiple smaller tests, including checking the clarity of the windscreen, the functioning of all the lights, and the air pressure of their tires.

What are the rules about the MOT tests now?

Mandatory MOT testing began from 1st of August as COVID-19 restrictions are slowly lifted, post the Government extension. Although there were restrictions put in place, the Government reported that about 1.6 million vehicle owners registered their vehicles in June, despite the option of benefitting from the extension. Furthermore, all cars need MOT certificates, post lifting restrictions, but there are long queues to get this done, so they could even ​check MOT​ online.

Some registered centres are allowing people to ​book MOT​ online, and are even open to sending a representative to collect the vehicle, test it, and drop it back after taking all the necessary precautions. Drivers who are vulnerable or self-isolating should contact their local garages to avail of this feature and get their vehicles back on the road, without visiting a garage.

Furthermore, people are encouraged to get their vehicles fixed at service centres around the country and only come to the registered MOT centres to get it certified for MOT to keep up with the number of cars to get through the process.

Even during the extension, vehicle owners had to maintain their cars well, keeping them roadworthy. People who were driving vehicles that did not meet the requirements were fined and penalised. There was an option for people to voluntarily ​check MOT online​ if they wanted, although it was legally exempt for some time.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has also issued guidance to all MOT testers about safely conducting tests in line with the latest government advice. The last time that these rules were changed was about half a decade back with millions of cars failing the test and being marked unworthy to ply on the roads. The vehicle owners had to fix them and re-apply for the test. Car owners can only have their cars plying on roads if they have a current MOT certificate.

Only some garages stayed open to conduct essential services during the coronavirus outbreak, but now more than 90% have opened across the country. The testing capacity has already reached 70% of their normal levels and should plateau soon.