MOT tests are expected to be in short supply next month amid a wave of expiring certificates caused by the coronavirus extensions, according to the AA. The motoring organisation says September is the month where most MOT extensions expire, causing an increase in demand for tests.

The AA says more than 5.5 million cars took advantage of the six-month MoT extensions granted by the government during the coronavirus lockdown that began in March 2020. At the time, drivers were told vehicles with MOT tests due after March 30 would get an extra six months automatically added to their MOT certificate, meaning their tests would not be due until September 2020.

Although the move was welcomed at the time, the government ended the extensions at the end of July, after the lockdown had been lifted. Any vehicle with an MoT due from August 1, 2020 had to be tested as normal every 12 months.

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As a result, vehicles with MOTs due between March 30 and July 31 did not need to be retested until 18 months after the usual date. That means some vehicles that were previously tested between those dates could now be tested between September and December, but vehicles normally tested in the later part of the year have not had their dates moved.

The AA’s study of more than 14,000 drivers found a fifth (20 percent) of UK motorists used the extensions granted during the pandemic. However, that figure rose to 71 percent in Northern Ireland, where the deferrals were most popular.

Now, with September 2021 looming, those vehicles will soon be due their next annual check-up, so the AA is warning of a ‘Super September’ as the cars granted extensions compete for MOT test slots with vehicles that would ordinarily be due a test that month. With a fifth of drivers using the extensions available, it also seems likely that this issue will continue into the autumn.

“With more than 5.5 million cars deferring an MOT it is crucial that they are tested to ensure they are safe to use,” said Jack Cousens, the head of roads policy at the AA. “MOT centres are already feeling the strain and with ‘Super September’ looming, savvy drivers can get ahead of the game. Don’t delay, book today. Usually people leave booking their MOT to the last possible moment, drivers won’t have that luxury this time.”

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