Can I get my van MOT during the second COVID-19 lockdown?

  • Second lockdown MOTs are still happening
  • No sign yet that there will be a second MOT extension
  • Test centres may be busy - key workers should get priority

A new, month-long national COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown in England is set to come into force on Thursday 5 November 2020. But at this stage there is no indication that the goverment is set to suspend MOT testing during this time.

Unlike the first national lockdown earlier in 2020, no MOT test exemption has been announced. While van showrooms are being forced to close, MOT stations and service centres will be allowed to keep operating.

This means not only must you van (or pickup) remain roadworthy, it will still need to have a valid MOT in order to be road legal.

What happened during the first lockdown?

The government suspended MOTs for all vehicles up to three months as part of its original lockdown response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, with the requirement for an MOT test being exempted by six months from 30 March 2020.

All vans and pickups that usually would require an MOT test were exempted from being tested for six months. However, they still had to be kept in a roadworthy condition, and some service centres remained open for essential repair work. Drivers could still be prosecuted for driving unsafe vehicles. 

The MOT exemption ended on 1 August 2020. Any van or pickup due an MOT after this date is legally obliged to have one. The original exemption period has now passed for many vehicles, too.

My van needs an MOT and I can’t get one – what should I do?

A lot of MOT test centres are very busy at the moment, but they are also being encouraged to prioritise key workers. If you are one of these (and there’s quite an extensive list; see the guidance supplied to the schools by the Department for Education) you should speak to your local test centres to see if they can fit you in.

Van and pickup MOT info during COVID-19 pandemic - tester inspecting

If you don’t qualify as a key worker you may just have to wait. The government is absolutely clear in its instructions that non-essential travel should not be taking place right now.

Should I attend an MOT test if I am feeling unwell?

If you’ve got symptoms associated with COVID-19, you should be getting tested for coronavirus or self-isolating for a period of at least 14 days. You most definitely should not be attending an MOT test.

What should I do if my van MOT has expired and I’m self-isolating?

If you're self-isolating due to a positive COVID-19 test, you have symptoms or have been told to isolate for other reasons (such as returning from abroad or contact from the NHS Test and Trace service), the advice is to stay indoors and minimise contact with others.

So, any form of driving should not be undertaken to help prevent the spread of the virus. Delay your MOT until you are feeling well again and you've completed the correct period of isolation. 

What happens if you're caught without a valid MOT?

You can be fined - up to a maximum of £2,500.

This can be appealed, however, so under the circumstances, if you think you've got COVID-19 symptoms it's probably best not to risk infecting anyone else just for the sake of an MOT test. Especially as you're supposed to be self-isolating.

Also read:

>> Coronavirus COVID-19 advice for van and pickup drivers

>> Nine tips to keep your van in working order

>> What to do if you need a payment holiday on your van or pickup finance

>> Van and pickup warranty advice during the coronavirus pandemic