New MOT data from the DVSA shows test numbers made a strong recovery between April and June of this year, following the disruption caused by extensions due to the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020.
According to the information, obtained by BookMyGarage through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, 45% more MOTs took place in Q2 2021 than in the same period last year. While this is a notable improvement, test numbers were still down 32% compared to Q2 2019.
The six-month extension saw a huge decline in MOT test numbers between April and June last year, but a large increase between September and December as MOTs eligible for the extension took place later in the year.
The numbers will have been helped by the addition of vehicles sold between April and June 2018, as these three-year-old models become applicable for MOTs. In that period, 595,505 passenger cars and 86,322 light commercial vehicles (LCVs) were sold, meaning these models must now have entered garages for their first annual check, boosting figures for the period.
Yet these numbers can be balanced by the number of vehicles that were taken off the road, meaning the overall gains may not be as high.
“While MOT test numbers between April and June are still some way off 2019 levels, it’s interesting to see numbers have recovered by almost half, or some 1.7 million tests,” commented Karen Rotberg, Co-Founder of BookMyGarage.com.
“That means approximately half of the 3.4 million additional MOT tests that took place between September and December last year have already been conducted. So, while this autumn and winter will still be busier than normal for garages, we don’t expect it to be quite to the same extent as last year.”
Monitoring MOT test numbers is a key indicator of how busy the aftersales sector is, since most drivers choose to have their vehicle serviced at the same time, and MOT failures create additional repair work for garages.
Super time ahead
The figures come as breakdown organisation The AA warns motorists to get their MOT booked as soon as possible, with garages expected to be busy thanks to the deferred MOTs causing a rush of tests in September.
More than five and a half million cars legally delayed their MOT during the coronavirus lockdown, according to the organisation. A fifth of drivers used the extension granted during the height of the pandemic, with drivers in Northern Ireland (71%) and the North East (23%) the regions that most used the deferral.
“With more than 5.5 million cars deferring an MOT it is crucial that they are tested to ensure they are safe to use,” commented Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA. “MOT centres are already feeling the strain and with ‘Super September’ looming, savvy drivers can get ahead of the game.
“Usually, people leave booking their MOT to the last possible moment, drivers won’t have that luxury this time.”