April 23, 2020
The Department for Transport has announced on 25th March that drivers are being granted a six month MOT exemption. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s hoped this new measure will help with the impact on garages. Garages will still remain open mainly for essential repair work.
If your MOT is due from today your next test date will automatically be extended for six months and your existing certificate will still be valid.
All cars, vans and motorcycles that need a MOT test will be exempt for these six months to enable people to continue to shop for essential food and medicines and to travel to a place of work if they cannot work from home.
While most cars, vans and motorcycles will be in good repair, there will be a lot that fall into the unroadworthy condition. These vehicles will still be used regularly by their owners making it dangerous for other road users.
The IGA has warned the government that 31% of vehicles fail their annual MOT which means almost 10 million vehicles on the road will not have a MOT and this will only increase with the six month extension period.
If motorists are stopped by the police during this time and their car is deemed to be in a severe unroadworthy condition they can be fined up to £2,500 and have penalty points put on their licence or even a driving ban if it is in a dangerous condition.
Every time you drive your car you should check that the brakes work correctly, windows and mirrors are clean, and you have an all-round view and that all the lights work and your windscreen washer bottles are topped up.
Your handbook will tell you how to check the brake fluid, add engine oil and check the battery.
The tyre tread for cars and vans is 1.6 millimetres (mm) and for motorcycles 1 millimetre (mm). There must be visible tread across the middle three quarters of the tyre.
The AA’s advice for keeping your car roadworthy due to periods of disuse, as now drivers should only be using their car for essential journeys is:
If possible, start the engine at least one a week and let it run for 15 minutes to make sure the battery keeps its charge.
When a car has not been used for an extended period of time the parking brake can sometimes seize, to prevent this happening release the parking brake and move the vehicle backwards and forwards a short distance while the engine is running
If your car has been parked up for a long period of time you may need to inflate the pressure of the tyres, it is also worth checking for any defaults on the tyre wall. Drive safe, be safe and be considerate to other road users.