What’s the difference between a service and MOT?

Contrary to what some may believe there is a difference between a Service and MOT, an MOT test is not the same as a car service. While both involve taking your car to a service centre for a ‘once-over’, they are fundamentally different. Recent research suggests that around 60% of drivers don’t really know the difference. In this article, Elite Garages explain the difference between a service and MOT, starting with a brief look at the origins of the MOT test.

The first MOT test dates back to 1960 under the direction of Ernest Marples, the Minister of Transport. Originally, the MOT was a basic test of brakes, lights and steering, intended for vehicles ten years old and every year thereafter. This became known as the “ten-year test”, or alternatively the “Ministry of Transport Test” (MOT).

As a result of high test failures, on 31 December 1961, they reduced the age that vehicles were due for testing to seven years. In 1962, they created the first commercial vehicle exam where a valid certificate was required for a tax disc. Then, in April 1967, they reduced the testable age for an MOT to three years.

Even though the Ministry of Transport changed its name several times in four decades, and has been defunct since 1970, the name MOT has stuck. In fact, the name Ministry of Transport changed to the Department of Transport in 2002.

The MOT Test

Today, the MOT is an annual test of vehicle safety, roadworthiness and exhaust emissions required in the UK. The law requires an MOT for most vehicles over three years old that are used in any way on a road as defined in the Road Traffic Act of 1988.

During an MOT, the tester will conduct an inspection and a comprehensive series of checks around the vehicle. This includes the interior, exterior, under the bonnet and under the vehicle. The MOT test is only a visual check so examiners are not allowed to make any changes or repairs, which is why you still need to book a service.

Once the MOT is completed, you will either receive a Pass or Fail along with a corresponding certificate. If you are one of the 60% that pass annually, you will receive a VT20 MOT certificate. In the event of a failed MOT, test centres issue a VT30 ‘Refusal of an MOT Test Certificate’. This will include the details of your car, the MOT test number and reasons for failure.

MOT is compulsory and driving a vehicle without a valid MOT is an offence. You will also receive a fine of up £1,000 and invalidate your insurance. To help you remember your MOT date, why not sign up for our MOT text reminder? [linkto: text reminder sign up]

What does the MOT test entail?

The government, in the form of the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency), regulates what the test includes, which garages are licensed to carry out MOT’s as well as how much it costs. The DVSA also keeps records of, and compiles reports on, common MOT failures.

Some of the major parts checked during an MOT include vehicle structure (body), fuel system, steering, suspension, brakes, tyres, wheels, windscreen, wipers/washers, horn, electrical wiring and battery among others.

While the centre that performs the MOT does not automatically work on your car to fix any potential issue, some may offer to do so. It’s also important to note that an MOT does not cover the general mechanical condition of your vehicle. It does not look at the condition of your engine, clutch or gearbox so you still need to book a car service.

May 2018 saw a few changes to the MOT test in England, Scotland and Wales. It affects cars, vans, motorcycles and other light passenger vehicles. The MOT certificate has also changed in terms of design and content. It now lists all defects under the new categories making it clear and easy to understand. Visit our website for a more detailed overview of the recent MOT changes [linkto: MOT content page].

What is a Car Service?

Regular car services are important if you want to keep your family’s cars in excellent working order. It’s certainly not something you should take lightly especially with older cars. While a car service is not a legal requirement, we recommend a service once a year or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. Car services will vary depending on the age and type of vehicle but most services include changing the engine oil, air and filters.

Having your vehicle serviced is entirely up to you but here are just FOUR reasons why you should:

It improves safety reducing wear and tear and just because your car feels ok, doesn’t mean everything is fine. Regular services can help identify any unknown issues and provide peace of mind that your vehicle is safe and roadworthy.

Servicing can increase the lifespan of your vehicle. The better you look after your car, the better it will look after you. It’s important especially if you intend on keeping it for some time or passing it on to your children.

Regular servicing can save you money as it helps identify potential issues before they become serious and expensive to repair. An added benefit to changing oil and filters during a service is better fuel efficiency.

Evidence of regular servicing or a full service history is likely to increase the resale value. You could attract more buyers willing to pay more for a well-maintained vehicle.

MOT and Car Servicing at Elite Garages

During a car service at Elite Garages, we also check for any additional issues but won’t commence any work without your permission. We believe in full transparency to give you and your family the peace of mind you deserve. Our checks usually apply to safety-critical items such as tyres and brakes. We never carry out unnecessary work and we will keep all the old parts for your inspection.

In terms of car services, our packages are tailor-made for you and include all the necessary checks you’d expect from a dealership. The Standard Service Pricing starts from £103 while our Premium Service Prices are from £180. To show you just how serious we are, get this £50 discount voucher [linkto: discount voucher] when you book a combined premium service and MOT.

When you are ready, get in touch with our friendly, knowledgeable staff for more information on MOT and car servicing. We offer great value for money with incredibly competitive prices and no hidden cost. Elite Garages is your local, family-run garage providing you and your family with a full range of services.

Where can I go for my MOT?

Where can I go for my Car Service?