Car garages carrying out contrôles techniques – compulsory roadworthiness tests or MOT – are warning that drivers may struggle to book a slot this spring as demand picks up as a delayed result of the Covid lockdown in March and April 2020.
During this lockdown, contrôle technique centres remained open but mainly for the maintenance of heavy goods vehicles, and drivers whose cars were due to undergo their tests were forced to delay their appointments.
Motorists were accorded a three-month grace period to enable them to keep driving while they waited for their contrôle technique slot, and this led to a surge in appointments in May, June and July.
Faced with the demand, garages had to extend their opening hours and even offer Sunday slots.
“Knowing that contrôles techniques are carried out every two years, we are expecting to need to test 500,000-600,000 more cars than normal in May,” Sébastien Danvel, the president of technical inspection operator AutoSécurité, told Le Parisien.
AutoSécurité is part of the SGS Group, which carries out one third of contrôles techniques, and which also predicts a “tsunami” of bookings.
Drivers are therefore urged to reserve their slot as far in advance as possible.
“We are inviting drivers not to wait until the month of May and to bring their appointments forward by six to eight weeks,” Mr Danvel added.
“If they cannot have their contrôles techniques carried out on time, many French people could find themselves unable to [legally] hit the road for their summer holidays.”
Garages are already contacting their customers by text with contrôle technique reminders, as they currently have plenty of slots open, due to the fact that two years ago, France was still in lockdown.
According to driving union Mobilians, some seven million people will need to have their car tested between May and July.