Are car garages and MOT centres still open?

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Government guidelines state that car garages and MOT centres are essential and can still open their doors, providing that they adhere to new rules which help prevent the virus from spreading.

Many key workers such as NHS staff, care workers and supermarket employees still need to travel to and from work. Also, many drivers in general still need to use their cars for food and medicine shops. So, necessary repairs and, in some cases, MOTs are available.

Can I still get an MOT?

If your car, van or motorcycle MOT certificate was due to expire on or after 30 March 2020, then you’re eligible for an automatic six-month extension so that you can still drive after its test day.

According to a government statement, this will happen around seven days before the date that it’s due to expire, but you won’t receive a new certificate. Instead, your car’s record will be updated electronically so that you won’t be prosecuted by the police if you get pulled over.

As for taxing your vehicle, this can still be done, unless it’s due to expire this month too, in which case you’ll need to wait until your MOT expiry date has been extended before renewing your tax.

What to do

Although your MOT extension will automatically roll out, there’s still a couple of things you need to do in order to make sure that this has happened.

  1. Around three days before your original expiry date, check your MOT history to ensure that it’s been updated.
  2. If it hasn’t, contact the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) on letting them know that this is the case.
  3. Remember to include in your email the date that your MOT expired and your vehicle’s registration number.
  4. The DVSA will then update your car’s record and email you confirming this.

My MOT was due earlier. Can I still drive?

If your car, van or motorcycle MOT expired on or before 29 March 2020, you should still be able to drive, and the government have advised that you should book an MOT as normal.

Because car garages and MOT centres are allowed to stay open, you should be able to book your car in for its annual checkup.

The only exception to this is if you or any of your family members are showing symptoms of coronavirus, or have tested positive for it. If this is the case, you should not take your car for an MOT as you could be endangering workers at the garage. However, the work going on between insurers, government and police to prevent unfair punishment for those who can’t have their vehicle tested should mean that you’re able to qualify for the six-month extension.

You can check which centres are open online before contacting them to make an appointment.

What about repairs?

Even if your car’s MOT has been extended under the new guidelines, it’s still illegal to drive a vehicle which is unsafe. You can be fined £2,500 and be banned from driving if you’re pulled over by police and deemed to be driving a car which is unsafe. Plus you could be given three points on your licence.

To help you keep on top of car maintenance during the lockdown, we’ve put together a guide on how to maintain your vehicle when you don’t have access to an MOT.

If your car has a problem which requires the expertise of a professional mechanic, you can still take it to your local garage or the nearest open one.

As we mentioned earlier, there are rules in place to make sure that garages are operating safely to reduce customer and staff risk. Here’s what the guidelines from the government say about these centres staying open.

Rules for opening

Rules have been put in place for all MOT centres and garages in keeping with the social distancing guidelines laid out by the government when coronavirus hit the UK.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, those centres which do stay open have been told to follow these rules:

  • Always keep at least two metres between staff and customers.
  • Customers and employees must be reminded to regularly wash their hands for more than 20 seconds – more so than normal.
  • All objects and surfaces that are touched should be cleaned regularly using disinfectant.
  • When carrying out repairs or an MOT, seat covers and new disposable gloves should be used for each vehicle.
  • Certificates for MOTs shouldn’t be printed unless the customer needs it.
  • When taking a payment, avoid taking cash and use mobile/contactless card payments where possible (the contactless limit has been increased to £45 to encourage this).
  • Posters and leaflets advising staff and customers about washing hands should be displayed around areas of the building which are visible to both.

Do you need a new car to get you to work and/or the shops during the coronavirus outbreak? Compare our in-stock special offers lease deals to find a vehicle which suits your needs.

You won’t need an MOT for the first three years and some of our providers are working remotely to ensure you can pay for the vehicle and have it delivered contact-free.