Your guide to the COVID MOT extension in 2021

Author Name – Mike Bourne

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MOT & Covid-19 Blog

Article last updated: 20/07/21

On the 29th of March 2020, the UK government (via the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) introduced a COVID MOT extension to the normal testing regime. This was to help reinforce COVID-19 lockdown measures and protect people who would otherwise potentially expose themselves to the virus while taking their vehicles to have an MOT test.

If a vehicle's MOT expired between March 30th, 2020, and July 31st, 2020, it was automatically extended by six months from the existing test certificate’s expiry date.

For example, if the MOT was due to expire on May 4th, 2020, it was automatically extended to November 4th, 2020.

Is the MOT COVID extension scheme still in operation in 2021?

On June 29th, 2020, the government announced that the COVID MOT extension scheme was to end on 31st July 2020. That meant from August 1st, 2020, every driver needed a valid MOT certificate and fines can be levied if caught driving without one.

Put simply, the MOT regime is performing the same way as it did before the pandemic began, so you must continue getting your MOT every year as usual.

What about MOT COVID exemptions?

In the UK, no vehicles were given an MOT COVID exemption during the pandemic – MOT dates were only extended, not cancelled entirely. That means the only vehicles exempt from MOTs on UK roads should be those that were exempt before the pandemic – learn more in our guide to what MOTs are below.

Related: View exempt vehicles

What are the long-term implications of the COVID MOT exemption?

With more than 10 million vehicles having used the COVID MOT extension, there are concerns that the six-month extension period may have contributed to a large number of vehicles on the road that are in an unroadworthy condition.

This could have amounted to 2 million vehicles in April 2021, according to the RAC, as 19.5% of vehicles with extended MOTs had yet to be reassessed at that time.

At National Tyres and Autocare, we have already noticed that the number of tyres worn below the legal limit has increased over the past year. So, if you tend to combine your annual service and MOT but moved your MOT last year due to the COVID extension, you may have forgotten your new MOT due date.

Additionally, your car’s MOT may now fall in early Autumn, which is now a particularly busy period for MOTs due to the COVID extension. Booking it earlier can help guarantee you an appointment.

It's worth remembering that drivers can still be prosecuted if driving unsafe vehicles without a valid MOT certificate, so make sure the vehicle is kept in a roadworthy condition. Check your date with our free tool below, then book your MOT.

Related: Check your MOT date

Are all MOT testing stations currently open?

Every single National Tyres and Autocare MOT testing centre is currently open.

However, due to a UK-wide backlog of MOTs following the COVID extension, we would recommend you consider having your MOT conducted on or before the due date to ensure the vehicle remains in a roadworthy condition. Leaving your MOT booking right to the end of the extension period may mean slots are harder to come by.

Will there be a backlog of MOTs? Should I book early?

There may be an MOT backlog, yes. In 2020, the DVSA noted there could be a very significant increase in demand of up to 60% for MOTs in the period between October 2020 and February 2021. This was the period when all the vehicles that had been granted a COVID MOT extension were required to be retested.

In 2021 and beyond, this period may remain congested due to the sheer number of MOTs completed during autumn last year. That means it’s a good idea to book yours earlier than usual.


Are there COVID-19 measures in place at National?

At National Tyres and Autocare, we have updated our in-branch procedures to ensure that both our customers and our staff members stay safe.

For more information on MOTs, visit our information section below. Alternatively, get in touch with us online or over the phone if you have any questions.

Related: Learn more

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