When should I book my MOT? It's a question many UK drivers ask every year and one made even more confusing by the 2020 MOT extension. If your expiry date changed, you probably saw the increased demand between October and January. This meant many drivers struggled to book a slot at the last minute in 2020 and 2021.
So, how can you avoid being caught out this year? Is there another extension for 2022? And when should you book your MOT to ensure your car is safe and road legal? We answer these questions and more in this article.
The 2020 MOT extension added 6 months to the expiry date of many UK cars and vans. While there is no such plan for 2022, the extension will still affect drivers this year. A backlog of MOTs and lack of availability at test stations mean that many drivers will struggle to book their test at the last minute. This means that booking your MOT in advance or moving the expiry date earlier in the year might be a better option.
What Was the MOT Extension?
In case you've forgotten, the MOT extension added 6 months to the expiry date of every vehicle with an MOT due between April 1st and August 1st 2020. It was brought in during the first national lockdown and then was designed to limit our social contact in the following months.
5.5 million UK drivers took advantage of the MOT extension. According to the DVSA, this meant that there were 79% fewer MOTs in April 2020 (vs 2019) and a staggering 50% more in December 2020 (vs 2019).
While it was a vital tool for combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, it caused a shift in the balance of MOTs. That has led to many problems that are set to stay for years to come.
Is There Another MOT Extension For 2022?
No, there are no plans for another MOT extension. Even during the 2nd and 3rd national lockdowns, drivers were still encouraged to book and attend their MOTs as usual.
Now that all the restrictions have been eased and life is getting back to normal, there's no need for more disruption.
My MOT Was Due During the Extension Period - Should I Book Before the 2020 or 2021 Expiry Date?
You should book your MOT up to a month (minus a day) before the 2021 expiry date. If you took advantage of the MOT extension at all during 2020, that is now the expiry date for your car. It will never revert to the original expiry date unless you book an MOT earlier in the year.
If you're still a bit confused, here's a handy little table to explain everything:
|Original MOT Expiry Date||2020 6 Month MOT Extension Added||Expiry Date for 2021 and Beyond|
|1st to 30th April 2020||1st to 30th October 2020||1st to 30th October|
|1st to 31st May 2020||1st to 30th November 2020||1st to 30th November|
|1st to 30th June 2020||1st to 30th December 2020||1st to 30th December|
|1st to 31st July 2020||1st to 31st January 2021||1st to 31st January|
To triple check when your MOT is due, you can use our FREE MOT checker. Once you enter your vehicle reg, we consult the official DVLA database and instantly provide your MOT expiry date. Just follow the link to get started.
What Problems Did the MOT Extension Cause?
Not only do drivers now have to remember a new expiry date, but it also created some big logistical nightmares for garages and test stations. These will continue to affect everyone in 2022.
Backlog of MOTs
5.5 million is a lot of MOT tests. That's a huge challenge in itself, but drivers who didn't need to use the MOT extension still need tests between October and January. Oh, and there are plenty of new cars turning 3 years old that need their first tests too.
And that means there was a big rush for MOT slots in 2020 and 2021. We predict the same rush will happen in 2022 as well.
Lack of Availability at Test Stations
Even though more drivers needed a test in the second half of 2020, there weren't any more testers available to complete them. The MOT extension meant that test centres were really quiet between April and July 2020/21 and full to bursting between October and January.
This meant some drivers found it very difficult to book their MOT at the last minute.
Increased MOT Demand
All the data below is taken from official DVSA results for MOT tests completed in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
|Month||2019 MOTs||%Change in MOTs (2020 vs 2019)||%Change in MOTs (2021 vs 2019)|
Even though many drivers still booked their MOT during the extension period, it's clear to see that test numbers are unbalanced. What's more, the volume of MOT bookings between August and January is only going to increase in 2022. 2019 reg cars turn three years old and need their first test this year. That means drivers may be caught out and left stressing over their MOT again.
If you took advantage of the 2020 MOT extension and struggled to book an appointment in 2021, here's how to avoid having the same problems this year.
How Can I Avoid Being Caught Out in 2022?
There are two easy ways to avoid getting caught up in the rush for MOT slots this year. You can either book your MOT in advance, or change the expiry date to a quieter month.
Book Your MOT in Advance
When you book your MOT through BookMyGarage, you can secure a slot up to a year in advance. Even if your expiry date is still months away, you can book your test today if you're worried about getting an appointment nearer the time.
Enter your reg and postcode and extend your "Available Before" date to include the period just before your MOT is due. Then, compare garages based on price, distance, availability or ratings and reviews and book the one that best suits you. Once you've completed the booking, we send you a confirmation email and the garage should also get in touch to confirm the booking. Most importantly, you never pay for your MOT in advance, only after the test is completed.
We'll even send you a helpful reminder in the run up to your appointment to make sure you remember the date.
Of course, no one has a crystal ball and booking your MOT months in advance might not work for you. Maybe you're planning to move in the coming months? Maybe you're thinking about changing your car and don't want to commit to an appointment for a vehicle you might no longer have?
If you still don't want to be caught out by the rush later this year, booking your MOT early might be the best option for you.
Book Your MOT Early or Revert to the 2020 Expiry Date
While this means booking your MOT several months before it expires, it should be easier for you to find a test slot in 2022 and beyond. The volume of MOTs is unlikely to balance itself out any time soon, so you'll always be fighting for a slot if your MOT expires between August and January.
If you book an appointment today and get your MOT sorted as soon as possible, you'll permanently move your expiry date to a quieter part of the year. That makes your life much easier and takes some of the stress out of the MOT process for years to come. You may even be able to take advantage of cut-price MOTs as garages try and maximise their bookings.
To book your MOT and change the expiry date, enter your reg and postcode into our online comparison site to compare garages near you. Once you've found the best one for you, select a suitable date and complete the booking. After that, we'll send you a confirmation email and the garage should also be in touch to confirm the booking.