Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
1:51 AM 25th March 2020

Coronavirus - A Motorists' Guide

We live in unprecedented times. Nothing is as it used to be, and it is hard to see the situation returning to normal any time soon.

Our personal freedom has been curtailed, but for many the car still remains a lifeline. A trip to the shops, a means of getting to work, if not a run out to visit friends.

MOT – Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport has just announced the following:

“Given the exceptional 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.”

Cars older than 40 years are now MOT exempt, however it is the duty of the driver to ensure that the vehicle is fully roadworthy.

The situation for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and public service vehicles (PSVs) is a little different. A temporary certificate of exemptions can be issued, valid for three months.

Vehicles must be maintained, kept safe to drive (roadworthy) and operate within the terms of the operators’ licence conditions.

Driving Tests – These have been suspended for three months from 21st March, except for critical workers.

Petrol Stations – These can stay open and many will also have a shop attached. It has been said that the petrol pump itself may be a source of the virus transmission. I would suggest using a glove to hold the pump (disposable if possible) to be on the safe side.

If you want to be extremely cautious, put just under £30 worth of fuel in and then you can pay by contactless card. I gather this limit is going to be raised to £45 from April, though it may take a while to roll out.

DIY – With more time on our hands, now is the perfect chance to give your car a spring clean. Declutter, break out the polish and check tyres, fluids etc.

If you are tempted to tackle a repair, there are many good online guides which will show you how. Do make sure you have all the equipment and parts necessary before starting however.

New Car – This may also be a good time to think about a new car. Sales forecourts are now shut, but that does not mean that some online research is not possible. There are online magazines aplenty and of course you can always read my back catalogue of road tests!

There are likely to be some very good deals available when things return to normal, as dealers will be keen to sell and bring in some much-needed revenue.

Safety – one final point. Although our roads will be much emptier than usual, normal speed limits still apply. Drive safely as our emergency services have more than enough to do already.