Workshop backlogs expected in September as “MOT Season” begins

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Demand for MOT tests between September and December is expected to cause “workshop chaos”, according to Continental Tyres.

More than five million additional tests are expected to take place during the second half of 2021, as a result of the six-month extension granted during last year's Coronavirus lockdown.

Between March 30 and July 31, 2020, 5.3 million fewer tests took place, compared to the same period in 2019. Vehicle owners and operators began to re-book these postponed tests from September 2020 onwards.

In September 2021, Continental predicts there will be 23% more MOT tests booked than usual, with even higher increases predicted for later in the year. Around 42% more test bookings are anticipated in November 2021, and 51% more expected in December 2021.

Tracey Mortimer, consumer sales director UK and Ireland at Continental Tyres, said: “Traditionally, there is a fairly consistent demand for MOT testing across the year.

“The postponements to millions of MOTs in 2020 has now created a new seasonal demand curve, which is likely to take over 10 years to return to pre-2020 levels.”

Continental’s analysis of MOT data shows that between 800,000 and 1.2 million additional tests are due to take place each month from September to December 2021, with test rates peaking in September and October at around 4.4 – 4.5 million tests a month - significantly higher than the highest peaks in 2018 and 2019.

Mortimer added: “With typical average monthly car registrations totalling just 185,000 vehicles in April and 215,000 in May it will take many years for the April and May MOT volumes to return to previous levels. 

“What’s more, in 2020 there were just 25,000 cars registered in total across the two months which is far lower than pre-pandemic levels, so we expect virtually no change in MOT demand from 2022 to 2023 when these vehicles are due their first MOT.”

MOT stations and workshops will need to ensure they can cope with the increased demand in MOTs and related maintenance work. Continental says this new seasonal MOT curve will likewise increase demand for tyres during these busier periods as around 10% of tests fail due to worn tyres.

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