MOTs vs Servicing – What’s the Difference?
MOTs are required on all cars and motorcycles over three years of age as a legal requirement. In some cases, it is required for a vehicle over one year of age; for example taxis, ambulances, and vehicles with nine to twelve passenger seats with the minimum requirement of seat belts. Servicing, on the other hand, is not a legal requirement but rather a personal choice. The purpose is to spot potential problems before they cause a major problem, to ensure reliability and safety, and to maintain its condition from new.
The purpose of the check is to assess that the vehicle conforms to a certain standard with regard to safety. The fee is fixed by the Vehicle Operator and Services Agency (VOSA) and the amount varies according to the vehicle. For example, as of 2013, the cost of the test for a car with up to eight passenger seats is £54.85. The amount is not subject to VAT as long as the issuing garage is an MOT Testing Station. A Vehicle Testing Station (VTS) can charge less than the amount set by VOSA at their own discretion, but they cannot charge more.
Parts of the vehicle that are tested include the instrument panel (for example the tester will look at the condition of the speedometer and the warning lights), the condition of the windscreen, the seat belts, doors, headlight aim, mirrors, tyres, steering, brakes, suspension, emissions and electrical wiring. The tester is not allowed to dismantle any components of the vehicle; his prime concern is that the components meet a certain set standard. The checks are carried out in a specific sequence to save time.
If an item is close to falling short of the set standard, the tester may give the vehicle an ‘Advisory’ notice: this should be acted on by the owner of the vehicle urgently. If a vehicle does fail the test, it can be left with the Testing Station for repair and a free re-test. If it is taken elsewhere for repair, the Testing Station can charge up to half the test fee for a re-test, depending on the item concerned. For some items, the re-test is free if the vehicle is brought back to the station and re-tested before the end of the next working day. When the test has been passed, a paper document is issued, but legal proof of the pass is held electronically on the VOSA database. A new test must be passed annually.
This is required based on the mileage undertaken, or according to a time scale set by the manufacturer at the time of purchase. During a basic or interim service, a check is made for obvious problems, fluids are topped up, and oil and filters are replaced. A full service will usually include dismantling and checking the brakes.
When booking with a garage or recognized dealer, it is essential to establish exactly what will be included as particulars can vary between garages and it can be confusing. Unlike an MOT, items can be replaced if the mechanic judges it to be necessary, so make sure you are fully aware of the cost involved. The technician looks to see whether an item is safe or worn away, or is likely to deteriorate in the near future. By spacing this out six months before or after an MOT, your car will be checked every six months by a professional, thereby providing you with the best chance of a reliable and safe drive all year round.
Here at Tyres Northampton we offer both MOTs and servicing, helping keep your car safe, reliable and road legal at all times. We offer highly competitive prices and, when conducting a service, will always inform you of any necessary remedial work before we do it.
For more information on either our MOTs or services, get in touch with the highly experienced team at Tyres Northampton today!