Can I still take my car for its MOT in spite of the UK lockdown?

uk lockdown

At the moment, the UK government hasn’t stopped garages operating during the UK lockdown. They are considered an essential service because the cars of key workers still have to be roadworthy and fit to transport them to work.

The MOT is suspended for 6 months

The transport minister Grant Shapps said: “Given the circumstances I’m granting an MOT temporary exemption so that if your MOT is due from 30th March 2020 you will automatically receive a SIX-month extension. However, you must still keep your car in a roadworthy condition and garages will remain open if you need repairs.” Find out when your MOT is due here.

If your MOT is due before that date, you must still take your car for it. After that date, it’s the driver’s responsibility to ensure their car is safe for the road. You can still be fined for driving a car that’s unroadworthy. The DfT is working with insurers and the police to ensure drivers aren’t wrongly penalised.

MOTs for trucks and buses suspended

For the next three months from 21 March 2020, vehicles classed as trucks, buses or trailers are exempt from the MOT. Owners shouldn’t need to do anything; they will automatically be issued with an exemption certificate. This will not be in the form of a paper certificate.

What if you can’t make it to your MOT

Before March 30, if your MOT is due and you are either ill and can’t leave the house, or are in self-isolation because a family member is ill, you should not take your car for its MOT. Of course this might be easier said than done but that’s the advice.

Nonetheless, your car still needs to have a valid MOT. You can be fined up to £1000 if it doesn’t have one.

If you can’t take your car to be tested, you should apply for a SORN. This is a Statutory Off-Road Notification and means you can own the car but can’t drive it because it isn’t taxed.

uk lockdown

What if your car needs a service during UK lockdown?

Servicing is vital to keep a car roadworthy. What’s more having a car serviced will help it to run more economically and could prevent unexpected breakdowns. Garages are still open but may be reluctant to service cars. However, you should be able to find one that will carry out vital repairs if required.

How to go to the garage

We understand you might be a little stir crazy but respect the people working at the garage. When you book your car in, agree somewhere you can leave your car and its key that’s safe. This should be somewhere that doesn’t require face-to-face interaction with garage staff.

When it comes to paying, discuss the work over the phone, pay online and arrange for the key to be left somewhere safe for you to collect it. Then when you pick up the car, make sure you have a disinfectant wipe with you.

What to do when you collect your car

Clean the key or keyfob if it’s a ‘keyless’ car. Then wipe down the door handles inside and out and clean the hard surfaces that you touch such as the steering wheel, gear lever, parking brake, instrument stalks, ventilation controls, sound system controls, and if it’s got one the touch screen.

Many technicians wear gloves routinely anyway. But with COVID-19, it’s best not to take things for granted. Just to be certain, wash your hands when you get home.