Dick Lovett

Government MOT extension - should I take advantage?

Posted 26th June 2020


The government extended MOTs by 6 months if a vehicle was due on or after the 30th March. This was done to help limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and many places had to close with the exception of supporting key workers.

The government has now ended the extension scheme, meaning if your vehicle’s MOT expired on or after 1 August 2020 - you must now book your vehicle's MOT as usual.

Whilst you may have MOT months remaining, it is the owner's responsibility to keep the vehicle roadworthy, and not doing so means you could be fined up to £2,500, be banned from driving and get 3 penalty points.

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What is an MOT?

An MOT is a legal requirement which is to be carried out on or 1 month (minus a day) prior to the vehicle's 3rd Birthday. This is the date 3 years on from when it was registered, NOT collected (unless this was the same day), and then every year after that.

The MOT is aimed at checking your vehicle's safety and roadworthiness. It also checks your exhaust emissions to ensure they are not excessive and outside of legal allowances causing further harm to the environment. Your car will either PASS or FAIL its MOT. Passes can include ‘minor’ or ‘advisory’ problems to monitor or fix in the future.

What does an MOT cover?

  • Body, vehicle structure and general items
  • Towbars
  • Fuel system
  • Exhaust system
  • Seatbelts
  • The malfunction indicator lamps (MILs) or dashboard warning lights
  • Seats
  • Doors
  • Mirrors
  • Load security
  • Brakes
  • Tyres and wheels
  • Registration plates
  • Lights
  • Bonnet
  • Wipers and washers
  • Windscreen
  • Horn
  • Steering and suspension
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Electrical

Should I book my MOT even though I have remaining months given by the extension?

Short answer - yes, for two reasons.

Your car may have a serious fault that could cause it to become unsafe for you and other drivers, and up to 5 months is a long time to have a potentially serious fault. Secondly, we expect a high demand for MOTs during the next 6 months, so if your MOT is due, you may not be able to get it booked in which could mean your insurance may be invalid and your car left untaxed if your MOT ends up expiring.

You can book an MOT online today and have the reassurance that your car is safe to drive, and if you're worried about visiting us right now, you don't need to be. We've introduced lots of measures to ensure your protection and our safety while your car has an MOT - you can see some of these here: view our safety charter.

How is an MOT different to a service?

As mentioned above, an MOT is a legal requirement which your car has to undergo to be redeemed as roadworthy and safe to drive. An MOT is a visual check which needs to be passed or it will fail and be deemed unsafe and not allowed on the road until the issues are fixed.

A car service is set out by a car manufacturer rather than the government, so it’s specific to your vehicle. A service is more in-depth and checks far more than your MOT test.


Depending on the vehicle and how old it is and what kind of service is required (a major or minor) - the technician will change your oil, engine coolant and brake fluid. These might not have immediate consequences if they’re running low, but if run dry, can cause a lot of issues. A service ensures the car is running smoothly and aims to help that continue.

How to ensure I pass my MOT

Your car can fail its MOT due to minor faults you could have easily sorted prior to the test; here's a small list to consider of things your car is most likely to fail on:

  • Make sure screenwash is topped up - you need to be able to clean the windscreen effectively
  • Ensure the car is clear of clutter, and that mirrors and windows are clean to guarantee maximum visibility
  • Ensure the registration plate has the correct type face and spacing and that it is clean enough to read
  • Ensure nothing is blocking the drivers view such as parking permits
  • Ensure any warning lights on the dashboard have been taken care of prior to the test
  • Ensure the horn works
  • Check the tyre depth - you can do this with a 20 pence coin. Insert it into the tread grooves on the tyre. If you can't see the outer band on the coin, your tyres are above the legal limit

If you have taken your MOT test before its due date and fail, you are still allowed to drive it until the due date if no ‘dangerous’ problems have been found. If you take your vehicle away, it must still meet the minimum standards of roadworthiness, therefore it is recommended any issues are fixed and the test carried out again as soon as possible.

If your MOT has expired, you are ONLY allowed to drive it to the place you are having it MOT’d. If you're stopped on the way by police, you must be able to prove that you have an appointment booked.

Book an MOT today

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