NEGLECT during lockdown has led to a number of cars in York developing dangerous defects, a local garage has warned.

Sarah Brooks, operations director at Dunnington Motor Care, is raising the alarm amid concerns that the problem could continue or worsen.

The Government made changes to MOT tests because of coronavirus, with MOTs which were due to expire between March 30 and July 31 automatically granted a six-month extension.

Garages and MOT testing centres are permitted to remain open during this second lockdown.

Sarah said: “We have seen a huge increase in the number of vehicles coming into us for routine maintenance and repairs that have unexpectedly presented dangerous defects as a result of the MOT exemption period and lockdown.

“Some vehicles have not been looked at by a professional for 18 months, which has in turn exaggerated what initially may have been a minor repair into something much more dangerous and that also comes at a much greater repair cost to the customer.

“We implore road users to ensure that their vehicles are still inspected regularly by a professional, and continue to complete routine servicing and MOT’s during the lockdown period.

“Should another MOT exemption period come into place, it is important to understand that this is simply optional and only to be used should road users be completely unable to get their vehicle to a testing station.”

Problems they have seen include corroded coil springs which, if left, could result in a full breakage, with the potential to penetrate a tyre or the braking system.

“An example would be neglecting to replace cambelts at the advised interval which has then led to severe engine damage. We have never had to repair so many and the cost involved is eye watering."

“Many garages have worked extremely hard and at great expense to ensure that their practises are Covid safe, such as sanitising customer vehicles both before and after inspections, and allowing contactless vehicle exchanges.

"We also have measures in place to assist those who may need to self isolate by working closely with community support groups for vehicle collection and delivery outside of our usual area.

"It is important that road users understand that an MOT exemption period, or an inability to complete repairs are not as straightforward as they may think.

"Should a situation occur, road users may be fined £2,500 with three points on their license if their vehicle is found with a fault deemed unsafe.

"Many garages such as ourselves offer free vehicle health checks to avoid unexpected repair situations and to ensure vehicle safety."