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Fri, 03/09/2018 - 09:23 -- sdukbewiser

Garages could grind to a halt in March: Car owners warned this month will be the busiest for MOTs on record

Fri, 09/03/2018
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Garages could grind to a halt in March: Car owners warned this month will be the busiest for MOTs on record

Is your car MOT due this month? If so, you could be among half a million other UK drivers who will be booking their car in for an MOT in March.

Rob Hull, The Daily Mail,

Is your car due an MOT? Making a booking could prove a real headache this month, according to new research.

Kwik Fit, the largest MOT tester in the country, said roadworthiness tests records will be broken in March as half a million cars due their first test will need to be booked in for checks.

March 2015 new car registrations were the highest for more than two decades with 492,774 vehicles hitting the road three years ago - all of which require their first MOT this month, potentially causing a backlog for test centres.

The near half-million registrations in March 2015 was the highest monthly figure since August 1998, which was the last year before the nation switched systems from one to two new registration plates per year.

All of these vehicles are due to have their first ever check, as Driver and Vehicle Standard Agency (DVSA) rules state.

But mechanics will not only have to cope with an onslaught of bookings made by owners of these 15-plate models, Kwik Fit warned.

Analysis of 22.3 million new car registrations over the last 13 years reveals that almost one in five (19 per cent) of all cars are registered in the third month of the year, with buyers tempted by deals on models with the first of two plate changes to come per annum.

The auto repair centre admitted this trend would see a greater demand for MOT appointments at this time of year, which could potentially create a backlog of bookings as drivers scramble to have their vehicles checked.

The auto repair centre said the March buying trend more than doubles the average monthly MOT demand if registrations were spread evenly across the entire year.

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said: 'March is always a peak month for MOTs, but this year it will be busier than ever as the record breaking new car sales of 2015 feed through.

'Our research has shown that many drivers tend to leave their MOT to the last minute but this can be a particular problem in March when all testing centres get very busy.

'Some owners don’t realise that they can have their car tested up to a month before their MOT expires and still keep the same anniversary, which helps to avoid a last minute panic.

'While thinking about the MOT it’s also worth remembering that maintenance is not just an annual activity – we should all be checking our cars regularly throughout the year.'

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency responsible for vehicle MOTs confirmed last month that plans to extend a car's first roadworthiness test from the third to the fourth year had been overruled by members of the public.

A consultation regarding the extension found that drivers were concerned that safety levels would be compromised by pushing a car's first MOT test back 12 months, and it wasn't worth the financial saving for motorists.  

Duncan McClure Fisher, ceo at MotorEasy, experts in car servicing, maintenance and repairs, said 40 per cent of cars fail their MOT test each year, though that figure drops to 20 per cent for those being checked for the first time.

He added that shrewd owners can also take advantage of warranties to dodge any expensive repairs highlighted by the first MOT test.

'Most drivers aren’t aware you can get your MOT completed a month early and the new MOT certificate will expire on the same date – meaning it lasts up to 13 months,' he said.

'Getting MOTs done early also gives you time to take the car away and source repairs before your existing MOT expires – meaning you aren’t rushed into an overpriced repair.

'With record numbers of first MOT tests it means record numbers of drivers have their three year manufacturer warranty expiring.

'Getting an MOT done before your warranty expires means you can get most repairs completed by the manufacturer – saving you the repair costs.'

Almost 400,000 3-year-old used cars will hit the market this month

As well as an onslaught of MOT bookings, the used car market is also likely to see a surge in the number of vehicles being offered to second-hand buyers.

With around eight in ten new cars acquired on finance deals - mostly personal contract plans - many agreements will come to an end at this time of year.

With most opting not to keep their vehicles beyond the contracted months, choosing to take out another finance deal, many of these vehicles will be offered to second-hand buyers.

When vehicles financed by private drivers are combined with those that were bought as fleet vehicles, Kwik Fit reckons that at least 389,000 three-year-old cars will be coming on to the used market over the coming weeks.

These cars will have collectively travelled over 4.9billion miles - an average of 29,943 miles - by their first MOT, the servicing and repairs business said.

With the typical life expectancy of a tyre currently around 17,000 miles, depending on driving style and conditions, Kwik Fit told potential buyers of these vehicles to check a vehicle's state of rubber, with most due their third set of new tyres.

So, if your car is due its MOT, you might want to think about getting it booked in sooner rather than later to ensure you get a convenient time that works for you, before the garages get all booked up!

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