THE number of cars with potential safety issues may have rocketed because of the Government's decision to delay MoT checks during the coronavirus lockdown.
A study by the Motor Ombudsman has revealed that a majority of motorists had taken advantage of the scheme.
Some 56 per cent of the 765 people who took part in a YouGov poll said they had exercised their right to delay having an MoT check on their vehicle.
Bill Fennell, chief ombudsman and managing director of The Motor Ombudsman, said: "The results of our study and wider industry data clearly shows that there is cause for worry, due to the number of potentially unsafe cars on the road that have not had their MOT.
"This is compounded by the concern that the recent government announcement has created very little impetus to buck this trend. If their personal situation allows, and with many garages and repairers once again opening their doors following the lifting of recent lockdown restrictions, we are urging consumers to take their cars for the annual assessment as soon as possible.
"This means that they will have a better chance of securing a booking, and will also help to alleviate a large build-up of outstanding tests that could leave MOT stations unable to cope at a later date."
The survey found that only just over a third (36 per cent) had stated that they would be organising for a safety assessment to be carried out on their vehicle.
The findings of the research echoed data provided by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), showing that nearly 4.9 million Class 4 MOTs, which includes passenger cars, were conducted between April 1 and June 30 2020.
This represents a decline of more than 50 per cent when compared to the 10.3 million Class 4 tests undertaken in the very same period a year earlier.
For owners that had opted to benefit from the MOT extension, nearly three quarters (72 per cent) had taken heed of government advice, and had (30 per cent) or were continuing (42 per cent) to perform regular safety checks to ensure that the oil level and tyre pressures met vehicle manufacturer-recommended levels before taking their car in for its delayed MOT.
Those living in Scotland, and vehicle owners aged over 55 years were the most conscientious when it came to routine maintenance, with 91 per cent and 76 per cent of people in these respective groups stating that they had kept or are keeping a regular eye on their car.
Conversely, 22 per cent had not paid any attention to their vehicle or could not recall doing so (six per cent), with 25 to 34-year-olds and individuals residing in the South being the least likely people to look under the bonnet to see if anything had to be topped up (27 per cent).
Following the announcement that MOTs would once again become mandatory for cars that needed to be tested from August 1 onwards, the poll showed that this had not driven any sense of urgency amongst consumers to get their MOTs booked if their original certificate had expired.
Only 29 per cent of respondents stated that they had organised the annual test for their vehicle.