After the government granted a six month extension on the annual MOT in 2020 due to COVID, garages need to prepare for the increased demand this Autumn.
An additional 5.3 million vehicles are due an MOT from September 2021 following the pandemic and garages need to prepare for this huge surge in demand.
2020 MOT Backlog
As coronavirus struck last year, UK motorists were granted a 6 month MOT extension. During this time, 5.3 million tests were postponed when compared to the same period in 2019. After drivers began to re-booked their postponed tests from September 2020, this has created a huge surge in demand for MOTs, making September to December a far busier time than at any other, on top of the tests already due in the winter months.
Continental Tyres’ analysis of MOT data from 2018 to 2020 has found that September 2021 will see 23% more MOTs booked than usual, with even higher increases predicted for later in the year, with around 42% more test bookings anticipated in November 2021, and 51% more expected in December 2021.
MOT stations and workshops need to ensure they can cope with the increased demand in MOTs and related maintenance work which means preparing now so your business is ready.
Long-term Market Change
Tracey Mortimer Continental Tyres’ Consumer Sales Director for UK and Ireland says, “Demand for MOT tests in April and May is now 2 - 2.5 million lower each month than before the pandemic. Because MOTs are only required when a car is 3 years old, annual demand for MOTs during these months will only increase by the number of new cars registered in April and May 3 years prior.
"With typical average monthly car registrations totalling just 185,000 vehicles in April and 215,000 in May it will take many years for the April and May MOT volumes to return to previous levels.
"What’s more, in 2020 there were just 25,000 cars registered in total across the two months which is far lower than pre-pandemic levels, so we expect virtually no change in MOT demand from 2022 to 2023 when these vehicles are due their first MOT."
Vital Testing Equipment Audits Ahead of MOT Boom
According to Roy Prosser, Product Manager at Continental sister brand Crypton, only garages that conduct a full audit of their MOT testing equipment ahead of this boom will feel its full benefits. By contrast, not ensuring necessary tools such as emissions testers are in optimum working condition could increase the chance of breakdowns and disruption, resulting in the loss of much-needed revenue.
“We all know the old saying of ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’, and this definitely applies to testing equipment at the moment,” explains Roy. “Consequently, we would advise all facility owners and operators that now is the time to calibrate your equipment and carry out essential maintenance, and nowhere is this more apparent than with emission testers. Not doing so could put entire MOT bays out of action at the worst possible time, making garages less competitive as a result.”
“Because new equipment such as our own emissions analyser is linked to the MTS, this results in faster, more accurate checks and data,” Roy concludes. “With demand for vehicle tests expected to skyrocket, even a small time saving per test could have a big impact if replicated over the coming months, especially if these analysers also use vehicle communication interface units.
According to Roy, age and colder weather are the most common factors behind emission tester breakdowns, so replacing any impaired tools ahead of darker nights drawing in and plummeting temperatures is vital. With new equipment now required by law to be connected to the Government’s cloud-based MOT Testing Service (MTS), garages and workshops opting for new models can also carry out tests quickly and more efficiently.
“However, if action is not taken to repair or replace ageing equipment now, garages may not be able to take full advantage of the coming spike, and may even lose invaluable business.”
Crypton – A Brand of the Continental Corporation