Lockdown MOT Extension – a sting in the tail…

MOT Test certificate sample

When the government decided to put the country in lockdown due to the dangers associated with Covid 19 transmission within the community, they also decided to allow a lockdown MOT extension – MOT expiry dates from 30th March were extended for six months.

At the time, that did attract some adverse publicity in the press with respect to the danger of cars carrying dangerous defects which would be likely to develop during the six-month extended period. On balance, DVSA took the course of action designed to enable motorists who needed to drive to work but couldn’t  drive without an MOT, while taking pressure off MOT Testing Stations to keep operating while under-staffed.

Eventually, aware of the potential dangers and roadworthiness issues building up, the government declared that normal Testing would be resumed after the beginning of August, with no further extensions being applicable.

An MOT failure cancels the MOT extension

But here’s the sting in the tail. In the normal, pre-Covid, course of events, if you have the MOT inspection carried out on a vehicle over a month before it is due, and your car fails the Test, the existing certificate will remain valid until its normal expiry date (this in no way exempts motorists from an absolute requirement to ensure that any car they drive on the roads must be roadworthy).

Many motorists are not aware that this is the case, but it is true – pre- Covid extension, your original certificate was valid right up until the day it ran out, even if you decided to have your car MOT Tested a few months early and it failed for some reason.

But there is a trap that motorists could fall into if, being aware of this original expiry-date-still-holding rule, they assume it also applies to the six-month Covid extension.

These motorists who, having a month or two of their six-month extension left decide to get their vehicle MOT Tested before their extended MOT runs out, could get a nasty surprise. The Covid legislation states that if any vehicle with an extension is presented for Test and it fails, that failure will curtail the extension. In other words, having a car Tested will automatically cease the extended validity of the MOT certificate – it will say this on the failure certificate, but not all motorists will realise this is the case.

If your car, having a couple of months of MOT left, is Tested early and fails, you no longer have until the original extended MOT expiry date to drive the vehicle on the road with a valid MOT; the MOT extension is cancelled with that failure. DVSA have assured us that this only applies to Covid-extended MOTs.

Goodbye ‘two-yearly MOT Testing’…

It was not so long ago that the Government were very keen to move to MOT Testing every two years, with the first test when a vehicle is four years old. However, their deciding not to allow failed cars with extended MOTs to use that extended period once the car has failed the MOT is a clear sign that they believe that extending MOTs beyond a year does carry unacceptable risks to road safety.

It was fine in the extenuating circumstances during lockdown, but not as those restrictions are now being eased. It is very encouraging that the government have at last accepted that extending MOT Testing beyond an annual event would unacceptably endanger road safety.

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