Although drivers usually leave their MOT until the last minute, this month it could be a dangerous tactic as nearly half a million cars are due their first MOTs in March and this is in addition to older cars which also need their MOT done during this time. If a driver does not have a valid MOT certificate, they will not be able to drive their vehicle until they do.
Kwik Fit, who are the largest MOT tester in the country, has said that records will be broken this March as mechanics will have to deal with an onslaught of bookings brought on by a spike in new car sales from March 2015. As these new cars reach the end of their period without needing an MOT, they will need to get their first MOT approved at garages across the UK.
Record new car sales
Almost 20% of all new cars are bought in March so that people can get hold of the first new registration plates of the year. The system was changed a few years ago to one where we get two different registrations per year instead of just one in September to ease the pressure on the motoring industry.
With a record 492,774 cars registered in March 2015 needing their first MOT in March 2018 in line with Driver and Vehicle Standard Agency rules, it is feared that there will be a potential backlog at MOT test centres as they struggle to complete all the tests that are required. There is also a risk that some drivers may not receive a valid MOT certificate in time to drive.
Implications of not having an MOT certificate
This intense demand means that people may struggle to book their MOT if it is due this month, and the impact of not having an MOT and driving your vehicle without a valid certificate is very severe.
Firstly, if you are caught without a valid MOT, you will face a fine of up to £1000, which is far more than the average cost of having the test carried out on your vehicle. The only time that you can drive without a valid MOT certificate is when you are driving to a pre-booked test, which you will need to prove if asked by the Police if they stop you.
In addition to this, driving without a valid MOT invalidates your insurance, so if you are involved in an accident you will need to pay for the damage yourself, even if your car is written off. An MOT checks that your car is safe for use on the road, so by putting it off you also risk causing a possible fatal accident which could also involve innocent parties.
With these financial and safety risks to consider, it is certainly advisable to ensure that you leave plenty of time this month to have your car’s MOT carried out so that you can avoid any severe consequences.
Book your MOT early
You can book your MOT a month before its expiry date to avoid the last-minute rush, and give yourself time to have any repairs carried out should your vehicle fail. The anniversary of your MOT will stay the same, so it will technically be valid for 13 months.
If your car fails its MOT, you will only be able to drive it away from the test centre if its previous certificate is still valid, unless it is deemed ‘un-roadworthy’ in which case you will need to have it fixed before you can take it home.
So if you have been putting off booking your MOT, but it needs to be completed in March, we suggest that you move it to the top of your to-do list to avoid missing out on securing an appointment which will be in high demand across the country.
Are you a driver with a new car who has an MOT due in March? Have you booked it in already or are you finding it difficult? What would you do if you did not get a valid MOT certificate in time? Let us know in the comments below.