MOT changes: Why your car is more likely to fail its MOT in 2021

A new poll from the group found over half (58 percent) of garages and car repair businesses believe failure rates will be higher than in previous years. Respondents said rates would rise as drivers were overall hesitant to take their car for a service or secure extra upgrades due to the pandemic.

However, garages said they are not expecting the usual peaks in demand around March and September as in previous years.

Bill Fennell, managing director of The Motor Ombudsman said the new poll offered “interesting insight” from garages.

He warned garages may suffer “challenging periods” throughout the year as a result of MOT backlogs but was “encouraged” by the findings.

He said: “The research offers an interesting insight from those businesses that are ‘on the ground’ conducting the MOT tests.

“It is encouraging to see that the majority estimate that MOT volumes will hold up during the peak months, but there is equally an element of concern that demand may also be lower than March and September last year.

“There will also undoubtedly be more challenging periods for businesses in between, such as in April and May, due to the knock-on effect of motorists using the government’s six-month MOT extension introduced in response to the pandemic.”

The DVSA has urged road users to check their vehicles thoroughly ahead of lockdown restrictions slowly easing.

It has warned vehicles not used frequently during the lockdown “can face some common problems”.

The DVSA said checking lights, tyres and screenwash clouds also help drivers avoid many common issues reported at MOT tests.

It has urged road users to be SAFE on the road, remembering to:

  • Service their car if necessary
  • Air in tyres,
  • Fill up screen wash
  • Examine lights and tread depth

DVSA Head of MOT Policy Chris Price said the organisation would “recommend” a professional garage check for those unsure about any problems with their cars.

He said: “As schools return, some motorists will need to use their cars more often than they have been recently.

“With more traffic on the road, we want to help everyone to keep their vehicle safe to drive.

“That’s why we’re urging all motorists to carry out some simple, visual checks before they get on the road again.

“And for those who are unsure about any issues, we recommend a professional check at a local garage for peace of mind.

“Although schools are going back, we encourage everyone else to continue to stay at home, except for essential journeys.”

a close up of a sign: mot fail rates garage

                                 © Express mot fail rates garage

Kwik Fit has called for an overhaul of the current MOT tests to ensure modern technology in cars is “regularly checked”.

The updates would see emergency braking systems tested and sensors used for autonomous driving systems added to checks as soon as possible.

The garage experts have also called for lane assist technology, parking sensors and rear-view cameras to be included as part of the yearly car exams.

Kwik Fit MOT scheme manager Eric Smith said: “It’s important that the MOT does not become overcomplicated and focuses on checking the most important elements in vehicle safety.

“However, motoring technology is continually advancing and the MOT has always been developed to reflect that.

“As more and more drivers have new technology in their vehicles, it is natural that they will get used to relying on these driver aids, therefore it is essential that these are regularly checked to ensure they will work properly in an emergency.”


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