Car maintenance at risk during COVID-19 lockdown?

RAC mechanic

Drivers are still getting their vehicles serviced and MOTd, despite the Coronavirus pandemic, according to RAC research.

Just under half (47%) of respondents plan to get their car serviced regardless of the lockdown status, while (44%) want to get an MOT. However, one in seven (14%) say they will make full use of the extra six months added to MOT due dates.

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.

MOT testing station

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.

Worryingly, 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.

More than one in three (37%) say they will get a service once the lockdown is completely lifted and (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.

“Every driver must remember that the safety and roadworthiness of their vehicle remains their responsibility,” said the RAC’s Adam O’Neill.

“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.”

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