Motorists granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing from 30 March

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Motorists granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing from 30 March under new coronavirus measures – here’s how to check your car is roadworthy

  • MOT testing exemption for 6 months for all cars, light vans and motorcycles
  • All MOT tests due after 30 March 2020 will be extended by 6 months
  • Drivers will be responsible for ensuring their vehicles are roadworthy
  • Anyone found to be using unsafe cars will face prosecution, DfT says
  • Find out what you need to check on your vehicle to make sure it is roadworthy 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

By Rob Hull For

Published: | Updated:

Owners of cars, vans and motorcycles are to be granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing, the Department for Transport has announced this morning.

It says this will enable drivers and riders to to continue to travel to work where this absolutely cannot be done from home, or shop for necessities.

However, the statement adds that vehicles must be ‘kept in a roadworthy condition’ and those found at the controls of unsafe motors can be prosecuted and fined up to £2,500. 

See the instructions below for what to check on your car to ensure it’s safe to use.

Vehicle owners in Britain will be granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing from 30 March

All cars, vans and motorcycles which usually would require an MOT test will be exempted from needing a test for six months, a release from the DfT confirmed on Wednesday. 

That means that if you have an MOT due from 30 March 2020, the next test date will be extended by six months.

This measure will be in place for the next 12 months, the DfT confirmed. 

It said people should stay at home and avoid travel where necessary and that the only reasons people should leave their homes is set out in the government guidance.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘We must ensure those on the frontline of helping the nation combat Covid-19 are able to do so.

‘Allowing this temporary exemption from vehicle testing will enable vital services such as deliveries to continue, frontline workers to get to work, and people get essential food and medicine.

‘Safety is key, which is why garages will remain open for essential repair work.’

While motorists won’t need to have their vehicle tested during these unprecedented times, they are being held responsible for the condition of their cars, vans and motorbikes.

‘Vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition, and garages will remain open for essential repair work,’ the statement says.

‘Drivers can be prosecuted if driving unsafe vehicles,’ it adds. 

You can be fined up to £2,500, be banned from driving and get three penalty points for driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition. 

What drivers need to check to make sure their vehicle is roadworthy

Every time you drive you should check:

– the windscreen, windows and mirrors are clean

– all lights work

– the brakes work

Your vehicle’s handbook will tell you how often to check the:

– engine oil

– water level in the radiator or expansion tank

– brake fluid level

– battery

– windscreen and rear window washer bottles – top up with windscreen washer fluid if necessary

– tyres: they must have the correct tread depth and be free of cuts and defects

The handbook will also tell you when your vehicle needs to be serviced.

Tyre tread

Tread must be a certain depth depending on the type of vehicle:

cars, light vans and light trailers – 1.6 millimetres (mm)

motorcycles, large vehicles and passenger-carrying vehicles – 1mm

Mopeds only need to have visible tread.

There must be tread across the middle three-quarters and around the entire tyre.


Legislation for the six-month exemption for MOT testing will be be introduced on March 30 and will come into immediate effect for 12 months.

The new measures were decided following a ‘short consultation with key organisations’. 

Drivers will still need to get their vehicle tested until the new regulations come into place, if they need to use it.

Vehicles must be ‘kept in a roadworthy condition’ and those found at the controls of unsafe motors can be prosecuted

The statement also provided information to those who haven’t been able to get their vehicle MOT tested in recent days because they’ve been self isolating after showing symptoms of the virus. 

The Department for Transport says it is working with insurers and the police to ‘ensure people aren’t unfairly penalised for things out of their control’.

Commenting on the announcement, Edmund King, AA president said: ‘With partial lockdown on the horizon, the AA raised concerns about MOTs with transport ministers last week as many drivers were anxious about their MOT running out whilst in self-isolation. 

‘We are glad they have listened and provided a sensible solution.

‘Drivers should only use their cars for essential journeys throughout the lockdown and must ensure they keep their car in a good condition.’

Karen Hilton, chief commercial officer for heycar, also welcomed the news of the MOT exemption but said many mechanics are small businesses ‘will be hit hard by the loss of income’.  

Practical driving tests and annual testing for lorries, buses and coaches have also been suspended for up to three months.

Read out guide for motorists during the coronavirus pandemic here.


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