Van owners are being advised to book their next MOT test early, because garages that carry out the safety check are still struggling to cope with the backlog from the UK’s original Covid-19 lockdown in Spring.
It’s one of several pieces of advice to come out as England enters a second coronavirus lockdown, which will affect motorists and motor trade businesses. This time, garages, service centres and MOT test stations have been told they can remain open to continue providing important safety work on customers’ vehicles.
Can I get an MOT test?
Earlier this year, during the first lockdown, motorists were granted a six-month extension to their MOT test date after thousands of garages closed their doors. But with an easing of restrictions this time around, getting your van or pick-up MOT tested should be easier – although there is a waiting list.
“We fully support the government’s decision to allow garages to remain open as normal, and not to enforce another MOT extension,” said Stuart James, chief executive of the Independent Garage Association (IGA).
“Garages are still busy catching up with the backlog of MOTs that the extension caused earlier this year. A second extension would only cause confusion among consumers and put law-abiding vehicle owners at risk of significant fines by leaving cars unchecked.”
Can I get my van serviced, tyres fitted or body repairs done?
Other automotive services such as vehicle body repair and tyre fitting centres remain open – with strict Covid-related hygiene measures in place – as they are deemed essential to road safety.
A recent survey by vehicle servicing portal BookMyGarage revealed that thousands of owners had delayed having their car or van serviced due to financial concerns or because the vehicle had not been driven as much as usual.
Will car washes remain open?
Car washes that are part of a petrol forecourt have been granted permission to remain open by the government following earlier fears that they would have to close. Independent car washes not connected to a filling station have not yet been allowed to open in England – although the other UK countries do permit them to operate.
Brian Madderson, chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association and Car Wash Association, said: “The CWA will continue with its robust lobbying as automated car washes that are not connected to a petrol station have not yet been granted an exemption to remain open. We are working to ensure that these are not discriminated against in this, and any potential further, lockdown.”
Can I still take driving lessons?
Driving instructors have also been hit by the latest lockdown measures. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, no driving lessons or tests are currently taking place, while in Scotland some lessons are permitted in areas classed as Tier 1 and 2. The Driving Instructors Association is awaiting further clarification from the government on who they are allowed to teach, amid fears of a growing backlog of people awaiting their driving test.