UK COVID-19 lockdown: what it means for MOTs, breakdowns, fuel stations

covid-19 lockdown
The government has suspended MOT tests for six months from 30 March 2020 (Picture iStock/yevtony)

If you’re a Green Flag customer and want our latest advice on what to do if you break down, please visit our important updates page here.

The country is in lockdown due to the COVID-19 coronavirus. The government has told people to work from home where possible and suspended all but essential services. What does this mean for car owners? Read on to find out about MOTs, what’s happening with petrol stations, and what other motoring services are and aren’t available.

What if your car needs an MOT?

The government has suspended MOT testing for the next six months as part of the COVID-19 lockdown. Transport minister Grant Shapps said: “Given the circumstances I’m granting an MOT temporary exemption so that if your MOT is due from 30th March 2020 you will automatically receive a SIX-month extension. However, you must still keep your car in a roadworthy condition and garages will remain open if you need repairs.”

Drivers should stay at home anyway unless it can’t be avoided and can be prosecuted if they’re found to be driving an unsafe vehicle.

The Department for Transport has confirmed that if your MOT falls on any date up to 30 September 2020, you must get it MOT’d within six months of the date it falls on (assuming the suspension remains for six months). That means if your MOT is due on 29 September 2020, you must get it done by 29 March 2021. This is to stop MOT test centres being overwhelmed when the suspension is lifted.

Find out you’re your MOT is due by clicking here.

covid-19 lockdown
Garages will be open to repair cars but you don’t need an MOT for six months (Picture iStock/Ferrantraite)

Are fuel stations open?

Fuel, like food, is considered to be essential. Filling stations are remaining open and supplies of fuel are being delivered as normal. However, not many drivers should need to fill up as they will be staying at home.

Garages and outlets selling fuel will still be open (Picture iStock/John-Kelly)

Are garages open?

Yes, garages are regarded as an essential service so they are still open. This will remain the case for the foreseeable future. Keeping garages open will ensure they can repair the vehicles of key workers.

What about the driving test?

From 17 March 2020, driving tests have been postponed for three months. Theory tests are suspended for one month until 20 April 2020. You should get an email saying your test has been cancelled and you’ll get a full refund. However, critical workers can still arrange tests.

Unsurprisingly, so as not to create a problem with excess demand after the lockdown, the government has suspended the online booking service for driving tests.

Are car dealers open?

Buying a new car is not essential during COVID-19 lockdown. Many of the larger car dealer groups and manufacturer-owned showrooms closed down to protect their employees prior to the government announcement. Now all car dealers will be closed for the foreseeable future.

6 comments on “UK COVID-19 lockdown: what it means for MOTs, breakdowns, fuel stations

  1. Mark Davies 25/03/2020 8:17 PM

    I have changed address what do I do

    • Jack Stoker 30/03/2020 2:44 PM

      Hi Mark. You can still get in touch with us to let us know your new address. Visit our contact us page and use our Web Chat service to let us know. If the Web Chat team are busy, you’ll find a number you can use instead. Hope this helps.

  2. Martin 25/03/2020 10:05 PM

    Its says in your covid19 advice email that if I breakdown and have to be towed I would have to travel in my vehicle while its being towed to maintain social distancing, trouble there is my vehicle is a motorcycle ?

  3. Marie Mifsud 27/03/2020 1:55 PM

    Can you please urgently confirm if you have sent a text out today to your members with a link I have just received this an opened the link have I been scammed


    • Jack Stoker 30/03/2020 2:26 PM

      Hi Marie, thanks for getting in touch. Yes, that link is from us (it’s a shortened link to take you to our important COVID-19 updates page).

  4. steve burstow 03/04/2020 9:42 AM

    While we who have to are staying indoors, our cars are lying idle. Is there any advice which Green flag could issue about what to do? Should we start them from time to time or move them a bit to spread the load on the tyres or simply leave them alone?

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