Will car MOTs be suspended again during coronavirus pandemic?

Published: 03 November 2020

► MoT tests suspended for cars and vans
► Six-month pause during Covid-19
► Type approval tests put on hold, too

Britain’s MoT annual health check for cars more than three years old is suspended for six months owing to the UK coronavirus lockdown, the government has confirmed.

‘All cars, vans and motorcycles which usually would require an MoT test will be exempted from needing a test from 30 March,’ the Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed on 25 March 2020. ‘Vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition, and garages will remain open for essential repair work. Drivers can be prosecuted if driving unsafe vehicles.’

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You can be fined up to £1000 for driving a car without a valid MoT test certificate in normal circumstances, but this will be waived until 1 October 2020, as ministers ensure that people who need to travel for essential work or shopping can do so despite the nationwide lockdown.

The DfT said that emergency legislation would be introduced on 30 March that would last for 12 months. Technically, it sounds like you’ll still need an MoT test until that date, but the government said: ‘If you can’t get an MoT that’s due because you’re in self-isolation, the Department for Transport is working with insurers and the police to ensure people aren’t unfairly penalised for things out of their control.’

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Type approval tests for new cars suspended for three months

Vehicle type approval tests are now on hold for three months, too. These are official tests to make sure that a car you have built from scratch, kit cars, imported vehicles or radically altered cars meet minimum standards of safety legislation. 

All vehicle approval tests have been suspended to help prevent the spread of coronavirus,’ the government said. ‘The suspension lasts for up to three months… The suspension applies to all types of vehicle approval tests, including individual vehicle approval (IVA), motorcycle single vehicle approval (MSVA) and the certificate of initial fitness (COIF) – this is a test for vehicles with more than eight passenger seats used to transport people for profit.’

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Why MoTs are suspended during the coronavirus pandemic

On 23 March 2020, prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed a total lockdown, as he asked Britons to stay at home. He effectively stopped the public from leaving their homes, meaning that non-essential travel – such as driving to MoT test centres – is essentially banned.

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Centres will write to those with car tests booked and rearrange, once the lockdown is lifted. The DfT said this email ‘should arrive around two weeks before your original test date.’

The MoT test is an annual health check to make sure vehicles meet basic minimum safety standards; it is only necessary on cars over three years old. An MoT test costs a maximum of £54.85 for cars and £29.65 for motorbikes in 2020.

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When will my type approval test be rearranged for?

The official statement said that new MoT bookings would likely be rearranged for around three months after the original test date.

The DfT asked motorists not to call the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) customer service centre and to look at official guidance on the Gov.uk official website instead.

Read the official government announcement about the car checks changes

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet