MOT test demand hits record numbers after lockdown announcement as drivers fear shutdown

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MOT test demand hit record numbers on Monday through to Wednesday as drivers desperately secured slots to get their cars tested, according to Book My Garage. The rush started almost immediately after Boris Johnson’s second lockdown announcement as drivers rushed to secure a test certificate ahead of the winter.

No extension has been confirmed ahead of the new winter lockdown meaning anyone whose test certificate runs out will not be allowed on the roads.

Extensions are unlikely to be re-introduced after the scheme led to heavy backlogs which have put garages under heavy strain.

The government has also made it clear that garages and MOT services are considered “essential services” and will remain open during the course of the second shutdown.

Karen Rotberg, co-founder of Book My Garage said behaviour had fluctuated during the course of the pandemic.

In response to the increased demand, she said that it showed drivers were “keen” to get their cars checked as usual.

With showrooms set to close during the shutdown, Book My Garage says After Sales divisions could prove vital for dealers to stay afloat.

Car servicing and MOT could therefore become the focus for many car firms desperate to secure some income during the lockdown.

Ms Rotberg said: “Consumer behaviour has fluctuated constantly throughout the pandemic, but now it is evident that motorists are keen to get their cars serviced and MOT’d as normal.

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“It really could be the moment when AfterSales becomes the shining light for the main dealer network.”

Her comments come just days after the Independent Garage Association (IGA) backed the government’s decision to allow garages to continue.

They warned that a second shutdown would create “confusion” among road users and could oot many at risk of being hit with penalties.

Stuart James, Chief executive of the IGA said: “Garages are still busy catching up with the backlog of MOTs that the extension caused earlier this year.

“A second extension would only cause confusion among consumers and put law-abiding vehicle owners at risk of significant fines by leaving cars unchecked.”

Data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) revealed that 310,000 more MOT tests and retests were carried out in August this year.

A total of 3.7million MOTs also took place in September which is half a million higher than the monthly average last year.

The DVSA has previously warned that demand for MOT tests would soar between September and November due to the backlog.

A new study by Fixter released in September revealed that 75 percent of garages were experiencing a surge in demand.

A massive 45 percent admitted that they had to make motorists wait longer than usual to book a test due to a surge in interest.

A total of 70 percent of garages have experienced issues with increased costs and delivery of parts which have also led to delays.

Limvirak Chea, CEO and co-founder of Fixter said: “The backlog of vehicles for MOTs is having significant implications on garages, which comes as a result of the six-month Government Coronavirus extension.”

He added: “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.”

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