The AA is warning of high demand for MOT appointments in September because of extensions and delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic
Drivers who own a vehicle with an MOT due next month are being told to book early because there is expected to be a surge in demand for appointments.
More than five and a half million car owners are thought to have legally delayed their MOT during the coronavirus pandemic.
The AA is now warning the delay could force bookings across the UK into a bottleneck in the coming weeks.
It says with an estimated fifth of drivers using the extension granted by the government during the first wave last year, there risks being exceptionally high demand in September for available slots.
September will be the point at which most MOT extensions and renewals now fall for many motorists.
The motoring organisation says it expects to see a considerable surge in demand for appointments as those drivers who used the extension are mixed with vehicles also usually due their MOT next month.
Cars, motorcycles and light vans which should have had an MOT between March 30 and July 31 last year were given a six-month extension if required due to the nationwide lockdown that was in place at the time.
The government brought in the permitted delay to keep as many cars as it could on the road as possible when drivers needed them most, particularly when travellers and commuters were discouraged from using public transport where possible.
The AA estimates around 5.5 million cars took up the offer to postpone their vehicle checks.
It now means that many drivers who renewed their certificate six months on from March and April last year, as the country came out of lockdown and schools reopened, now face the same deadline a year on.
Next month's potential surge in demand for MOT appointments has been labelled 'Super September'.
Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said it was crucial that any driver who knows their deadline is nearing doesn't leave booking their appointment at a garage until the very last minute.
He said: “With more than 5.5 million cars deferring an MOT it is crucial that they are tested to ensure they are safe to use.
“MOT centres are already feeling the strain and with ‘Super September’ looming, savvy drivers can get ahead of the game. Don’t delay, book today.
“Usually people leave booking their MOT to the last possible moment, drivers won’t have that luxury this time.”
Motorists without a valid MOT certificate for their vehicle can risk a fine of up to £1,000.
Last week the Driver Vehicle and Standards Agency announced plans to raise the cost of MOT slots that testing stations buy from the government.
The DVSA says it is having to increase the prices of all its services, including driving practical and theory tests, because it is facing a funding shortfall.