1.1M unroadworthy cars predicted to return to roads as result of six-month MOT exemption

49 per cent of drivers receiving MOT extension will go through entire period without getting car tested

New research has revealed that almost 1.1 million unroadworthy vehicles are set to return to the roads as the lockdown begins to ease.

DVSA MOT data analysis shows that an estimated 1,096,000 vehicles which have received a six month MOT extension would have failed a test with dangerous or major defects had they undergone an MOT.

Of these unroadworthy vehicles, it is estimated that some 316,000 would have dangerous defects, while the remaining 780,000 vehicles would fail with major defects.

Since 30 March vehicles have been provided with an automatic six month extension to their MOT expiry date, in response to the need to reduce traffic during the lockdown.

As a result, only around 24 per cent of the vehicles that were originally due a test in that period have been tested.

The law requires vehicle owners to keep their vehicles roadworthy, even if they have received an MOT extension.

Research for Kwik Fit has found that 49 per cent of drivers who have received, or are due to receive, an MOT extension will go to the end of that period without getting their car tested.

Eight per cent of those who will wait for the end of the extension to get their car tested, some 1.1 million drivers, said they will do so as they believe there is something wrong with their car and don’t want to risk it failing.

One in five drivers waiting to the end of the extension say they are doing so to save money.

The research also found that that those who have had their car tested, irrespective of the extension, have been driving more miles under lockdown than the average.

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said: “The extension has been very helpful to drivers during the lockdown, but as COVID-19 prevention measures begin to ease we urge the government to remove the automatic extension in order to prevent dangerous and illegal cars taking to the roads unchecked.

“Our research found that the most common reason people were giving for going to the end of the extension without a test was that they ‘knew their car was safe’.

“Unfortunately, our experience shows that many people who think their car is safe are actually driving a vehicle with dangerous or major defects – the physical MOT test is a vital way to help ensure the safety of those drivers, and the other road users around them.”

Vehicles exempt from MOTs which are presented for testing and fail to achieve a pass must no longer be driven on public roads, a DVSA notification has this week confirmed.

From today (27 May 2020) test certificates will remind drivers that if a vehicle fails its MOT, the six-month MOT exemption is no longer valid.

Meanwhile, pressure over the six-month MOT extension is continuing to mount, with the IGA and IAAF both writing to government to renew safety concerns.

Auto Torque has partnered with Garage Wire to bring you all the latest aftermarket news.


  1. These are some worrying figures. Many garages are open and are providing a range of service options don’t wait for your MOT to be due. The extension shouldn’t be an excuse to not ensure your vehicle is road worthy. I’d urge all vehicle owners to keep up with there regular servicing. Not only will servicing ensure that everything is working as it should be, but it can identify minor problems before they become big costly repairs. Fuel efficiency improves, handling and braking is improved. Not only that a full service history increases salability of the vehicle.


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