Car owners told not to miss MOT despite Covid lockdown

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Car owners in the UK have been told to make sure they do not miss their MOT, even if they are not currently able to use their vehicle.

During the first national coronavirus lockdown in 2020, the need for the annual checks was put on hold and drivers whose certificates were due to expire before 31 July were given a six-month extension.

However, the government has declared that MOT and servicing centres are an essential service and remain open for business during the current lockdown. Its guidance explains that tests should be booked as usual, but those who are isolating, shielding or have Covid-19 symptoms must not travel to an MOT centre. There are separate procedures for Northern Ireland.

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The AA said drivers who were furloughed or working from home might be tempted to let their MOT expire, with the intention of renewing it only when lockdown restrictions were lifted.

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Jack Cousens, the head of roads policy for the AA, said: “The MOT centres are still open, so people should still get them done; that way you’ll have the vehicle ready if there’s an emergency situation and you need it.”

The Association of British Insurers said some car insurance policies required a valid MOT but even when this was not the case, drivers would need to ensure their vehicles were maintained.

A spokesperson for the ABI said: “Motorists should get their MOT in the usual way. If this is not possible due to the impact of Covid-19, such as the need to self-isolate, insurers will be pragmatic and not penalise you for something that is out of your control.

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“Safety is paramount and it is illegal to drive a car in a dangerous condition, so make sure to check your brakes, tyres and lights before driving.”

Last year all cars, vans and motorbikes with an MOT due to expire between 30 March and 31 July had the deadline by which they needed a new one extended by six months.

This article was amended on 8 January 2021 to include additional details of current UK government advice on MOT tests. Readers are advised the check information provided on lockdown restrictions and MOT processes for their area.