MOT extension warning: Drivers warned to ensure their car is safe to drive as research reveals 9.3m cars need repair

1 Jul, 2020

As lockdown restrictions continue to be relaxed and people can use their cars more freely, GoCompare Car Insurance is warning drivers to make sure their vehicles are safe to drive and in a roadworthy condition.

The warning comes as research, commissioned after MOT certificates were automatically extended due to the coronavirus pandemic, reveals that 9.3million cars require repair – many with potentially seriously dangerous faults.

The MOT extension which came into effect on March 30, was revised on 29 June.  Any cars due a test between 30 March and 31 July will receive an automatic six-month extension to their current certificate.  The extension does not apply to cars with an MOT expiry date on or after 1 August.   Motorists qualifying for the six-months extension are still required to keep their car in a road legal condition and can be prosecuted for not doing so.  

According to the latest official statistics3, 31.7% of cars fail their initial MOT, 9% failed with dangerous defects.

Worryingly, research commissioned by GoCompare Car Insurance suggests that 9.2m cars may not be roadworthy, some with dangerous faults.  The research found that:

  • 29% of motorists are driving cars which they know needs repairs.
  • 9% of drivers said that their car had tyres which need replacing.
  • 6% of vehicles have brake related problems.
  • 6% of cars need engine related or mechanical repairs.
  • 5% of cars require safety related repairs including seatbelts and lights.
  • 5% of cars need repairs to the windscreen.
  • 5% of cars have clutch problems.

It also revealed that 17% of motorists were driving a car displaying a warning or service light.

Driving a car with dangerous defects is a serious offence. It can pose a safety risk to the driver, their passengers, and other road users.  If you are caught driving a car with a serious defect you will be issued with a prohibition notice preventing you from driving the vehicle.  Depending on the circumstances, you could face a large fine, penalty points on your licence or prosecution.

Penalty points for driving a defective car stay on your licence for four years from the date of the offence. If you have a motoring conviction, insurers will see you as a greater risk and your insurance premiums will increase. You must declare unspent convictions to your insurer, otherwise you will invalidate your cover.

Lee Griffin, founder and CEO of GoCompare Car Insurance commented, “As the lockdown rules continue to be relaxed and people start to make more car journeys – its crucial to make sure your vehicle is safe to drive.

“The six-month extension of MOT certificates means that there are millions of cars on the road which haven’t been tested for over a year.  And it’s fair to say, that many will have faults that would usually be routinely identified during an MOT. We are concerned by the number of drivers who are knowingly driving cars which have outstanding repairs or faults.  These drivers are potentially risking their safety and that of others.”

Lee Griffin continued, “Drivers are responsible for their cars’ condition and they are expected to carry out regular safety checks to ensure that it is safe and roadworthy.  We are urging drivers not to ignore any dashboard warning lights and, if they have any concerns about the condition of their car to take it to be repaired.  Garages have been classified as essential businesses so are open for repairs, MOTs and routine servicing.”

For more information on how to keep your car MOT-ready: