Drivers remain committed to keeping their vehicles properly maintained through the coronavirus pandemic, with relatively few intending to make full use of the automatic six-month MOT extension, new research for RAC Approved Garages shows.*
Just one-in-seven drivers (14%) surveyed say they will make full use of the extra six months added to MOT due dates, with three times that proportion (44%) planning on getting their car checked as normal despite the impact of the coronavirus.
Of those drivers who don't plan on using the full MOT extension, half (52%) say it is because they want to ensure essential safety checks are made at the right time, while 40% are confident their cars are in good working order and want them to pass their MOTs as soon as possible. But one-in-six (16%) say their reason is that they are worried there will be a huge backlog of MOT tests as the lockdown is eased further, making it harder to book a test.
More concerningly, of those who do plan on making use of the full six-month MOT extension, an overwhelming 83% say it is because they are confident in the roadworthiness of their vehicle – yet the MOT test covers a wide range of areas of a vehicle, some of which are difficult or impossible for a driver to check themselves, including seatbelt safety, brakes and exhaust emissions. And of all the drivers surveyed, more than a quarter (27%) said they weren't even aware of the MOT extension in the first place.
The MOT extension highlights the importance of drivers keeping their vehicle in safe, working order, something which has caused some leading voices in the motor industry including the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) to highlight concerns. The RAC research suggests drivers are very aware of the important role quality garages play in checking the roadworthiness of cars and helps to quell some of the nervousness around the number of vehicles on Britain's roads that might have otherwise failed their MOTs.
When it comes to servicing, around half (47%) of respondents still plan to get their car serviced regardless of the lockdown status, although just over a third (37%) say they'll only do this once the lockdown is completely lifted and one-in-eight (13%) say they'll delay their service and get it done to coincide with a later MOT. Of those who are waiting for the lockdown to be lifted further, half (48%) say they are holding off booking a service because they are concerned about visiting garages during the coronavirus outbreak.
To give drivers confidence they can get their car seen by a garage, whether that is for an MOT, service or for any other work, the RAC has published a new Code of Conduct for all its Approved Garages. This sets out the steps all member garages must follow to keep customer and colleagues safe at this time. The majority of RAC Approved Garages (70%) also now offer collection and delivery services, meaning drivers do not even need to visit a garage themselves.
Head of RAC Motoring Services Adam O'Neill said:
"Since the coronavirus lockdown took effect, hundreds of thousands of vehicles every month have been missing their normal MOTs and in turn there's a risk that more unroadworthy cars are now on our roads, especially as many more of us are now driving compared to March.
"It's encouraging therefore to see that a large proportion of people we surveyed clearly care about the condition of their cars and aren't being put off from getting them through their MOTs or serviced as normal. But at the same time there understandably remains some drivers who are worried about how safe it is to visit a garage during the pandemic.
"The key to encouraging drivers to book MOTs and servicing as they normally would is to reassure them that garages have made the right adjustments to keep them and their staff safe. Within our own 500-strong network of approved garages, more than eight in every 10 are open for business with most of these – around 70% – offering a collection and delivery service, meaning drivers needing MOTs and servicing don't even need to leave their own home. All are also operating to a strict COVID-19 code of conduct, which we've published and sets out what drivers can expect when they visit any of our approved garages.
"Every driver must remember that the safety and roadworthiness of their vehicle remains their responsibility. For those planning on making full use of the six-month MOT extension, it's vital that if they believe something isn't right with their car, or that they know it's unlikely to pass an MOT if it took place tomorrow, they should take it in for repairs as soon as possible and not drive it in the meantime."
*Article Source www.rac.co.uk