Almost half of drivers believe an MOT is a guarantee their car will be safe to drive for the next 12 months.
A valid MOT certificate only confirms that a car has met the minimum standard of roadworthiness at the moment the test was completed. But a new poll has found that 47 per cent assume that if it has passed an MOT, they don’t need to worry about getting anything checked for another year.
The study of 2,000 drivers also found that 42 per cent shun servicing their vehicle and rely on the MOT as the only annual check.
Londoners are the biggest culprits, with 65 per cent admitting the MOT is their car’s only annual check, compared to 30 per cent of Scots.
No match for a service
Aaron Edwards, MOT category manager at Halfords Autocentres, which commissioned the research to coincide with one of the busiest months for MOTs, said: “An MOT is only a certificate to say the car is safe to drive the moment it has been tested, so it is concerning that so many motorists treat it as a service.
“It is not a guarantee that the car is in good running order six months down the line, and it is vital that motorists carry out regular checks as well as an annual service.
“Good car maintenance is important for safety purposes as well as the car’s performance.”
The study found 38 per cent of motorists think their car’s brakes are fine because it has passed an MOT. However, a car can pass an MOT even if its brakes are only just above the legal limit, meaning they can fall below a safe standard long before the next MOT.
It’s a similar story with tyres, where being close to the limit won’t see a car fail but a few hundred extra miles could see the tread worn down to unsafe and illegal levels.
Both issues are likely to be raised as advisory notes on the test certificate but drivers aren’t legally required to take action immediately.
Risking a fine
Worryingly, the study found 11 per cent of motorists aren’t sure when their car’s MOT is – potentially risking a fine of up to £1,000 while also invalidating their insurance if their MOT has expired.
Aaron Edwards added: “When it comes to selling your car, prospective buyers may be put off if they see it has previously failed an MOT.
“A car failing its MOT is a red mark on the car’s history, but it can also reveal that people are driving around in a badly maintained car.
“We advise the public to carry out regular safety checks and an annual service on their car.”