If you've ever owned a 3+-year-old-vehicle in the UK, you'll have booked an MOT. It's one of the biggest necessary evils of car ownership and something most drivers have to grin and bear every year.
But, since 2020, drivers who have an MOT due between August and January have found it even more stressful. This is as a direct result of the MOT Extension. The UK Government introduced this during the first Covid-19 Lockdown to limit our social contact at the height of the pandemic.
Simply put, this means drivers should think about booking their MOT appointment in advance to ensure they get the date and time they want.
What is the Problem?
In short, there is not enough capacity to complete the volume of MOTs now due between August and January.
Over 5.5 million drivers used the MOT extension between April and July 2020. While it achieved its aims, it also pushed 5.5 million MOTs into Autumn and Winter. This is such a problem because these months have always been a busy time for test centres. September is particularly problematic, due to the huge number of new cars registered every year. For example, there were 2.8 million tests completed in September 2019 but a whopping 3.5 million in September 2020.
Naturally, finding an extra 700,000 slots is pretty impossible - especially as there are only 23,157 registered UK MOT centres according to the DVSA.
And that's just for one month.
Using data sourced from the DVSA, we've shown the difference in the number of MOTs completed in 2019 vs 2021:
|Month||2019 MOTs||2020 MOTs||2021 MOTs||Average Increase|
Average monthly increase = 591,353 tests more than 2019
From August, garages and test centres are going to have an incredible demand for MOT slots but very limited capacity to complete the tests. To put this in perspective, 3.4 million MOTs split between 23,157 test centres averages out at 146 tests each. That's 146 workshop hours (18 1/4 8-hour days).
Plus, around 30% of those vehicles would have failed their MOT, which equates to just over 1 million failures & retests in September alone. That's another 43 hours of work (5.4 8-hour days), excluding time for the repairs themselves. For every test centre in the UK.
That's almost 24 full working days. There were only 22 weekdays during September 2021.
Clearly, the main problem for test centres is that there aren't enough hours in the day - which creates problems for drivers.
What Does This Mean For Drivers?
Now, that amount of work simply isn't sustainable, especially for small independent garages. Many garages on our UK comparison site are run by small teams with 1 or 2 registered MOT testers. They don't have the capacity to complete 146 MOTs in a month, so they make it harder for customers to book an appointment.
That means that trying to book your MOT at the last minute is going to be very, very difficult.
Welcome to the MOT Rush. As it's going to make booking an appointment very difficult for the next few years, how can you make sure you get the test you need on the date you want?
What Can You Do To Beat the MOT Rush?
The best way to beat the MOT Rush is to book your appointment well in advance. If your MOT is due between August and January 2022/23, you should think about booking your appointment in June or July to avoid scrapping for slots. With BookMyGarage, you can book an appointment up to a year in advance in just 3 steps. Enter your vehicle reg and postcode to compare instant deals and secure your MOT slot in advance to beat the MOT Rush today.
Think that this seems a bit extreme? Not worried about finding a slot if you leave it to the last minute because "you know a guy" or you're mates with your local mechanic? Even if you do manage to get a slot at short notice, you definitely won't get the best deal! Plus, you'll just make your life so much more difficult than it needs to be.
Here are three killer reasons why we think that booking your MOT in advance is your best move this year.
Here Are Three Reasons Why You Should Book Your MOT Right Now
Garages know they're likely to be overwhelmed by the demand for MOTs between August and January for the next few years. They also know they're going to struggle to drum up enough MOTs during April and May to break even. So, they're going to drop their prices during the slower months and make their MOTs more expensive when they're full to capacity. Let's face it, wouldn't we all do the same?
Last year, we saw garages start to raise their MOT prices in late July/early August to deter customers from overwhelming them even further. We expect the same this year.
With the cost of living as high as it is, it makes sense to book your MOT in advance at the best price. After all, once you make a booking through BookMyGarage, that price is fixed and you never pay a penny until after the garage has completed your test.
Compare deals near you and take advantage of booking a great price on your MOT today.
Guarantee Your Slot
Last year, we also saw garages on our comparison site increase their lead times to make booking a last-minute MOT difficult for customers. Some were so full that their lead times were 30 days for MOT appointments - or even longer!
What's more, most drivers have their vehicle sit the MOT test 14-30 days before its expiry date and make the booking a week before that. Under normal circumstances, this gives a stress-free experience - but not during the MOT Rush.
If you don't book your MOT well in advance, you'll have to fight with thousands of other drivers for precious few test slots in your area. This means it could be very difficult for you to get an appointment before your expiry date.
There's no need to enter this lottery. Get ahead of the game and book the date and time you want well in advance to avoid any problems.
Avoid a Stressful Process
If you book your MOT through BookMyGarage right now, you get a confirmed booking in just 3 steps.
That's not an enquiry to the garage; that's an actual MOT test booked straight into your preferred test centre's diary on the date you want.
As we mentioned above, that's not going to be easy to do the closer you get to your expiry date.
Here's how to book your MOT through our leading comparison site:
- Enter your vehicle reg and postcode.
- Compare deals. You can sort garages in your area by whatever best suits your needs: price, distance, reviews and ratings or availability.
- Pick a date and time for your appointment.
It's as simple as that. Plus, if you book your appointment today, you can save up to 70% by comparing deals and choosing one of the lower-cost MOTs.
It definitely won't be that easy in a couple of months' time.
What if I Forget?
If you're thinking "okay, beating the MOT Rush would be great, but I have to book my test nearer the expiry date otherwise I'll forget about it", we've got a solution to that as well (because that's just what we do).
When you complete your booking, you can opt-in to our MOT reminder service by ticking the box on the checkout page. We'll send you three personalised emails, with the first one landing in your inbox 30 days before your MOT expiry date. If you've forgotten you've booked your MOT already and enter your reg and postcode after following the prompt, you'll see a notification informing you that there's already a booking for your vehicle.
Plus, we send you a confirmation email right after you've booked your appointment. We also let your chosen garage know about your appointment and they may also be in touch to confirm your booking too.
Basically, we make it as easy as possible for you to remember about your booking.
Booking an MOT at the last minute between August and January is going to be virtually impossible due to the mad MOT Rush and the capacity problems local garages have. Don't let your MOT expire or stress over your test any more than you need to. Book your MOT in advance with BookMyGarage today and get the peace of mind you deserve.
Plus, you guarantee your slot and benefit from a price freeze before garages increase their lead times and prices!