MOT and lockdown: Can I get my car MOT’d during coronavirus lockdown?

On March 23, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the nationwide lockdown in an escalation of preventative measures aimed at halting the spread of coronavirus. People can now only leave their houses for “very limited purposes”.

Can I get my car MOT’d during coronavirus lockdown?

People are only supposed to leave the house for four reasons: “infrequent” shopping for basic necessities like food or medicine; one form of exercise a day; for a medical need or to take care of the vulnerable; to go to work, but only if that cannot be done from home.

Shops allowed to stay open include supermarkets and other food shops, health shops, pharmacies including non-dispensing pharmacies, petrol stations, bicycle shops, home and hardware shops, launderettes and dry cleaners, garages, car rentals, pet shops, corner shops, newsagents, post offices and banks.

This will be the status quo for at least three weeks at which point the Government will re-assess and relax the guidelines if possible.

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Though garages are permitted to remain open under the new restrictions, MOTs have been suspended for lorries, buses and trailers for up to three months.

MOTs for cars, motorcycles and light vans is currently under review and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) said it would provide an update “in due course”.

This means that for the time being, cars, motorbikes and light vans will still require a valid MOT.

To be on the safe side, if a vehicle’s MOT is nearing expiry date, drivers will have to book a test or face the prospect of not being able to drive on the vehicle without voiding their insurance and risking a fine.

With garages allowed to stay open, it should be possible to book an MOT as normal.

Many garages and online maintenance services are looking at ways to provide the test while reducing the risks to their staff and customers.

Options including zero-contact handover of the vehicle are being explored by many businesses, along with special cleaning precautions.

If a person has symptoms of coronavirus – namely a continuous cough and a fever – the DVSA has urged them not to take their vehicle for a test.

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If a car does not currently have a valid MOT, even if the owner missed the test because they were self-isolating, it cannot legally be driven.

The owner will either need to get it tested or make a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN).

Should the Government suspend all MOTs, an exemption certificate system could be used similar to the one in effect for HGV, trailer and PSVs.

For those types of vehicles, the DVSA announced that those with an MOT due to expire during the suspension will be issued with a three-month certificate of exemption (CTE) until further notice.

Paper certificates will not be re-issued but digital records will be amended so that vehicles can continue to operate.

The DVSA has suspended driving tests in England, Scotland and Wales for up to three months from March 21.

The decision has been made to “help prevent the spread of coronavirus as tests lead to extended contact between candidates and examiners in vehicles”.

Motorcycle tests are also being suspended.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We are having to take big decisions to protect the public in our national battle against COVID-19. Regrettably, we have had to suspend driver testing for up to 3 months to help tackle the spread of the virus.

“It is vital that those who need a test can get one so DVSA is offering tests to those who have a critical need, such as the NHS and drivers delivering goods across the UK.

“Those who have tests cancelled will have priority when testing resumes.”

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