Increase the lifespan of your car and maximise vehicle safety with regular services. Our knowledgeable and experienced staff can service your car with original matching quality parts while saving your hundreds on dealership prices. Book a car service with your MOT and save MONEY!
A regular car service is important, and is not something you should overlook. Many vehicle owners still take their cars to dealerships but European legislation states that you can have a car service at an independent garage without invalidating your warranty. While that is the case, all service garages must keep to the manufacturer’s schedule and only use equal quality car parts.
Routine maintenance to the manufacturer specification is essential for prolonging the life of your engine. At Elite Garages, we specialise in servicing vehicles exactly as they should be, while giving you much-needed peace of mind in terms of any warranty claims.
We service ALL major makes and models including the following:
Increase the lifespan of your car and maximise vehicle safety with regular services. Our knowledgeable and experienced staff can service your car with original matching quality parts while saving your hundreds on dealership prices. Book a car service with your MOT and save MONEY!
How often do I need a car service?
A car service interval will largely depend on the car and the service schedule from the manufacturer. When buying a new car, there are two main types: fixed-schedule servicing and variable servicing (long-life service plan).
Fixed-schedule servicing requires a car service when you reach a set mileage or time limit, whichever comes first. The common interval is 12,000 miles or 12 months, but you still have to check your car’s service book to verify. This is best suited for low to medium-mileage drivers who often take short trips.
Variable servicing depends on sensors fitted around the car and the onboard computer informing you when something needs attention. Once again, depending on your driving habits, this service interval can exceed 12,000 miles and suits drivers with high annual mileages who often take longer trips.
What’s included in a car service at Elite Garages?
Car services will vary depending on the age of your vehicle but it normally includes changing the engine oil and oil filter. Some services may also include replacing the spark plugs in petrol cars, antifreeze engine coolant, brake fluid or power-steering fluid.
During the service, we also check for any additional issues and if we find that further rectification is needed, we always contact you first. These 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.
Our service packages are tailor-made for you and include all the necessary checks you’d expect from a dealership. The Standard Service prices starts from £103 while our Premium Service prices are from £180.
|Check handbrake for operation and travel||✔|
|Check operation of exterior lights and interior lights||✔|
|*Check ABS warning lights for correct operation||✔|
|Check heater plug indicator (Diesel)||✔|
|Check for correct clutch operation||✔|
|Top up battery if applicable and check security||✔||✔|
|Check and top up brake and clutch fluid||✔||✔|
|Check windscreen wipers||✔||✔|
|Check windscreen washer operations and top up||✔||✔|
|Check/top-up power steering reservoir where applicable||✔||✔|
|Check coolant/antifreeze strength and top up||✔||✔|
|Check condition, tension and adjust as required auxiliary drive belts (excluding timing/cam belt)||✔||✔|
|Replace oil filter||✔||✔|
|Drain engine oil and refill (special or synthetic oils subject to additional charge)||✔||✔|
|*Check and top up gearbox oil where applicable||✔||✔|
|*Check and top up axle oil where applicable||✔||✔|
|Check and top up automatic transmission fluids where applicable||✔||✔|
|Check for general oil leaks||✔|
|Check wheel bearings for play or noises||✔|
|*Check steering/suspension components for wear and corrosion||✔|
|Check steering rack gaiters if applicable||✔|
|Check shock absorbers for operation (Springs condition)||✔|
|Remove wheels and check discs/drums for wear, cracks, corrosion and scoring||✔|
|Check callipers for leaks and operation||✔|
|Inspect wheel cylinders for leaks and operation||✔|
|Visually check brake hydraulic system, pipes and hoses for leaks, chafing and corrosion||✔|
|Check propshaft/drive shaft and joints for play and leaks||✔|
|Inspect exhaust system for leaks security and noise||✔|
|Check tyre condition, tread depth, record readings (including spare)||✔||✔|
|Check and adjust tyre pressures (including spare)||✔||✔|
|Check wheels for correct balance (including spare)||✔||✔|
|Set wheel nut torque to manufacturer’s settings||✔||✔|
|*Reset vehicle service light where applicable (certain vehicles main dealer only)||✔||✔|
|Carry out battery test||✔||✔|
|Check condition of fuel lines||✔||✔|
|Visual inspection of HT lead*||✔||✔|
|Visual inspection of distributor cap – if applicable||✔|
|Visual inspection of rotor arm if applicable||✔|
|Replace spark plugs if applicable (platinum, long life or multi electrode plugs subject to extra charge)||✔|
|*Replace air filter element||✔|
|Check diesel fuel filter||✔|
|Check smoke emissions visually (Diesel)||✔|
|Lubricate throttle linkage if applicable||✔|
|Check radiator for leaks/Check condition of radiator cap/Check coolant hoses for leaks and condition/Check expansion bottle and cap for leaks||✔||✔|
|*Check electric cooling fan for operation where applicable||✔||✔|
|Test and report brake fluid boiling point (if applicable)||✔||✔|
|Lubricate bonnet catch||✔||✔|
|Lubricate accessible hinges if required||✔||✔|
|Grease steering/suspension and propshaft if applicable||✔|
|Check fuel cap condition||✔|
|Check windscreen condition||✔|
|Check mirror condition, exterior/interior||✔|
|Check number plates||✔|
|Check for cabin/pollen filter replacement (report if due)||✔|
|*Check petrol fuel filter||✔|
|Test starter motor for cranking operation and security||✔|
|Test alternator for charging operation and security||✔|
|Check cambelt replacement intervals (report if due)||✔|
*Note – Additional service operations may be required for your vehicle make/model and will be an added charge
*Note – Stamp service book as per Elite Service manual
Brake Disks and Pads Checking your car brakes regularly is part of any vehicle’s preventative maintenance plan. It allows you to identify potential problems before they impact your braking abilities. As a result, you get the opportunity to react before it’s too late and ensure that your vehicle’s braking system operates at peak level. You never know when you will need to brake suddenly in an emergency situation. If your brakes are worn, it could literally mean the difference between life and death. Everyone should know how important brakes are, and properly servicing your car and brakes should always remain a top priority.
Think about how often you apply the brakes and it becomes abundantly clear how important these car parts are. While car brakes should be replaced at about 50,000 miles, there are several factors that determine how long they will last. It all depends on the type of car you drive, where you drive, the number of passengers, your driving style and the quality of brake pads previously fitted. The type of brake pads on your vehicle can certainly affect how long they will last. Here is a simple breakdown of the most common types of car brake pads:
- Organic brake pads are cheaper but won’t last very long
- Low metallic car brake pads are noisy with a slightly longer lifespan
- Semi-metallic car brake pads are common as they have a long lifespan and more affordable
- Ceramic brake pads last longer than any other brake pads and are more resistant to wear but they are also the most expensive
Similarly to brake pads, the lifespan of brake discs will differ depending on the type of vehicle. Brake pads and brake discs often need to be replaced simultaneously but discs mostly outlast pads. It is common for front brake discs to get too thin which results in overheating and a loss of braking efficiency. You should replace your brake discs when the thickness reaches the minimum allowed threshold which is etched on the outer disc rotor. Remember to replace both brake discs on the same axle at the same time. This will extend the life of your braking system and allow all the safety critical components to operate at optimum levels.
Signs your brakes might be failing
Brakes are one of the most essential parts of any vehicle and you should check them at least once a year. Just how do you know when your brakes need replacing? There are several ways your car might tell you that it’s time to replace the brake pads or brake discs from grinding, pulsating to a spongy brake pedal. If your car does any of the following, you should arrange a FREE brake inspection at Elite Garages. Our expert technicians will tell you everything you need to know about your brakes while getting dealership quality service at affordable rates. Grinding is a common sound when brake pads are worn. More often than not, the noise comes from the brake pad being worn down to the metal caliper. While there are many reasons why brakes squeal, it commonly suggests that the brake pads have worn down. If your car pulls to either side when applying the brakes, your car’s brakes are no longer evenly-balanced. This is usually a sign of sticky hydraulics or a mechanical component, like a seized caliper, that prevents your car from slowing down in a straight line. When your brake pedal pulsates while applying brakes, it could indicate that the brake discs have become warped. This is usually as a result of excessive heat. When car brakes start to wear, it could affect your overall performance. If pulling away feels sluggish, your brake calipers are sticking which causes your car to drive as if the brake discs were partially engaged. A clear sign that moisture has entered the brake lines is a spongy feel when applying the brake pedal. It makes the car’s brakes seem unresponsive, as the moisture prevents the brake fluid from flowing through the system effectively. This is indicative of old brake fluid that needs replacing or that your brakes are worn. Most car manufacturers agree that you should change the brake fluid every two years for optimal performance. At Elite Garages we know first-hand how important regular brake checks are and the effective maintenance thereof. All of our branches offer a FREE brake inspection with trained experts ready to inspect all aspects of your car brakes. They will identify any possible issues to help keep you safe on your journey. If you require a repair or a replacement, we provide you with a no-obligation quote and will never do any work without your consent.
Wheel alignment, or tracking, is the process of ensuring that the wheels on your vehicle are set to the optimum position according to the car manufacturer’s specifications. Front and rear alignment issues are mostly corrected within 30 minutes but it often depends on the severity of misalignment. At Elite Garages we offer our customers a FREE vehicle check and will provide you with a detailed print-out of the results. If it indicates that your wheels need alignment, we can do it for you on the same day.
Why is wheel alignment important?
Regularly checking the wheel alignment on your car can extend the life of your tyres by up to 12,000 miles. Correctly adjusting wheel alignment can also increase fuel efficiency and fix any potential steering and suspension problems. Doing it often, and at a reputable centre, wheel alignment can also help increase your vehicle’s stability. Incorrect alignment can result in rapid, uneven tyre wear and can even affect the handling and safety of your vehicle. Look for any unusual, premature wear on your tyres on the inside or outside shoulder. This could be the first sign of incorrect alignment.
What causes misalignment?
When you hit a kerb or drive relatively fast over a pothole, and even speed bumps, could result in misalignment. Of course, the more severe circumstances include accidents where you actually knock your vehicle’s suspension out of alignment. Remember that any wear on suspension parts are also a common cause for wheel misalignment.
How often should I check my wheel alignment?
While wheel alignment checks should be done at least every 6 months or 6,000 miles, you should get it looked at immediately when you’ve hit a kerb or been in an accident. Incorrect alignment almost certainly leads to uneven tread wear which means you will have to replace your tyres sooner than is actually required.
Understanding wheel alignment
Wheel alignment involves checking the direction and angle of your wheels. The misaligned positions are often referred to as toe in, toe out, positive camber or negative camber. “Toe” is the difference in distance between the front and back of the tyres. Toe-in means that the front of the tyres are closer to each other than the rear and toe-out is exactly the opposite. Incorrect toe alignment can result in your vehicle steering to one side. “Camber” is the angle of the wheel measured in degrees and involves the inward or outward tilt of a tyre. If the top of the wheel leans out from the centre of the car, the camber is positive; if it’s leaning in, then the camber is negative. If the camber is too far negative, for example, your tyres will wear on the inside of the tread. All of our branches offer a FREE Vehicle Check with expert technicians ready to assist in any way they can.
Many car owners may not realise the importance of an exhaust in the running of a healthy car. It’s no surprise really as many drivers pay more attention to engine and tyres rather than exhaust repair or exhaust replacement. Exhaust pipes play a pivotal role in diverting exhaust fumes out of your engine, which in turn keeps your vehicle running smoothly. Built-up exhaust fumes can ultimately cause engine deterioration which is why checking your exhaust system regularly at a professional service centre is essential. Exhausts typically last for about five years although there are many other factors to take into consideration.
How can I tell if there is a problem with my exhaust?
While the only visible part of many cars’ exhaust is usually the tailpipe, there is a lot more to it. A complex series of pipes and chambers underneath the main body of your vehicle often makes it difficult to visually notice potential problems. Although most exhaust problems can be diagnosed by listening out for unfamiliar sounds, other signs include rust, smoke coming from the exhaust pipe and a sudden drop in fuel efficiency. Exhaust damage can occur when going over speed bumps and low kerbs scraping or hitting the undercarriage of your car. A FREE exhaust check at any Elite Garages will offer a clear indication of any visible damage.
Why does my exhaust make a noise?
Your car exhaust can make several different noises but it’s knowing which ones are warning signs and which are normal. When you hear the following sounds, it may be time for an exhaust replacement or exhaust repair:
- a hissing sound could indicate a crack in the exhaust manifold or a leaky gasket
- a chugging or roaring sound could indicate a blockage in the system
- rattling noises underneath the car are indicative of misalignment
- loud vibrations could be a sign of a foreign object touching the pipes, a broken bracket or a loose mounting
If the silencer on your exhaust has corroded and worn away, you may hear a loud rumbling noise alerting you to a potential problem. Many exhaust faults can have an adverse effect on your emissions and miles per gallon (MPG) which is why regular exhaust checks are vital, especially before an emissions check during your MOT.
FREE Exhaust Check
Identifying the source of vibrations tend to be easier than sounds. If you feel vibrations when your car is running or experience a loss of power, bring it in for a FREE exhaust check. Let our expert technicians know where you noticed the vibration, either the steering wheel, operating pedals, or the seat. These symptoms could be the result of a hole, disconnected part, or a leak in the exhaust system. We supply all the leading UK brands of standard and performance exhaust systems for all makes and models of cars. If we don’t have it in stock, we’ll order it for you.
Along with brakes and shocks, your clutch is one of the most essential parts on your vehicle. It’s important to pay close attention to early signs of clutch issues as leaving it unchecked could cause major problems later. A clutch repair is likely to set you back a fair amount of money, which is why you should always use an accredited and qualified service centre. At Elite Garages, our experienced technicians will advise you on any clutch repairs or clutch replacements required. We offer competitive prices and provide you with dealership quality service from the onset and throughout.
What does a clutch do?
A clutch is essentially two metal plates inside the engine. When you press down on the clutch pedal, the plates come apart separating the engine from the drive wheels allowing you to change gear. Releasing the pedal again re-engages the plates which then connect the engine to the drive wheels. As your car engine is constantly running, a clutch is necessary to separate the engine from the drive wheels when you stop the car. This is exactly what happens when you push down the clutch just before you stop otherwise the car would stall.
Signs I need a new clutch?
While a clutch is essential for driving your car, it’s not always easy to know when you need a new clutch or a clutch repair. Clutch symptoms come in different forms, from odd sounds and poor performance to mechanical problems. Depending on the type of vehicle and how it is driven, a clutch can last anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 miles.
Here are some common signs that you may need a new clutch fitted:
- Clutch pedal making a noise when pressing or releasing it (or both)
- Changing gears is difficult
- A rattling or grinding sound when changing gears
- The clutch pedal vibrates when you accelerate
- Revving the engine while driving but your car barely increases in speed
- Engine revs randomly higher or lower
- The clutch seems to ‘slip’ causing a loss of acceleration, or a complete loss of drive
Problems may come from small components like bushes, pilot bearings, springs, screws or larger parts such as the clutch disc, flywheel, pressure plate, or release bearing. Often, you may even find problems in the drive train or the chassis itself. These are all signs that you either need a new clutch or a good clutch repair. The cost of a clutch replacement depends on the nature of the problem and the type of vehicle. Our expert clutch fitters at Elite Garages only use original parts that manufacturers recommend. They will let you know what is needed and how much it will cost before doing any work. Visit any of our centres for a free clutch check and expert advice if you think your clutch doesn’t feel right.
Car batteries of today are mostly maintenance-free with a performance indicator so there really aren’t many physical checks you can perform yourself. The only thing you need to do is make sure that the terminal connections are tightened without any debris. A neat trick is to coat the car battery terminal connections with petroleum jelly to further prevent the build-up of corrosive material. Remember to not tighten the battery terminals too much as it could damage the battery casing and lead posts and result in battery failure. Another important point to keep in mind is crossing the positive and negative terminals. This can cause an electric shock, permanent battery damage and even an explosion in some cases.
What does your car battery do?
The purpose of a car battery is to supply the necessary current to the starter motor and the ignition system while cranking to start the engine. In petrol engines, the car battery supplies power to the spark plugs to ignite the fuel and air mixture that has been compressed in the engine combustion cylinders. In addition, it also supplies extra current when the demand exceeds what the alternator can provide, and acts as an electrical storage unit. The battery power used when starting your car is then replaced by the alternator, which supplies most of the electrical current to your vehicle’s electrical systems. The strength of your car battery is generally affected by the amount of work it does and the operating conditions.
Why does a battery run out?
The modern technology in cars such as air conditioning, digital displays, music players, satellite navigation systems and other electronic gadgets place more strain on your battery. As a result, your car battery and charging system could lead to premature battery failure. A flat battery is probably one of the most frustrating experiences to go through and it always seems to happen at the most frustrating times. There are several reasons why this can occur including a faulty battery, leaving the headlights on or not switching off the radio. Regular car battery checks are recommended so that you don’t end up with a flat battery. Maintenance is important as it keeps your car battery operating at its optimum level. If you are experiencing any problems with your battery or are concerned about the age or charging ability, give Elite Garages a call. Our professional, expertly-trained technicians will carry out an extensive battery check using only the latest testing equipment. It won’t cost you anything and we’ll also offer you advice on any parts that may need replacing. We stock a wide selection of car batteries suitable for most makes and models.
If your car has air conditioning, you probably already know that it is supposed to do more than just keep you cool. When serviced correctly, car air conditioning helps filter out pollen, pollutants and airborne bacteria. It’s a multi-purpose component for your car providing heat, cool air and improving the quality of air inside the cabin. An air conditioning service is not included in a normal car service schedule so people often forget to have it checked. If your car is older than 2 years or maybe you’ve never had the air conditioning serviced, perhaps now is a good time. We also recommend that you use your air conditioning all year round even if only for one or two short trips every week. You might be surprised to learn that this helps keep the system well-lubricated and prevents leaks. You should especially book your car air con service when:
- it no longer blows cool air
- you notice a bad smells coming from the vents
- it starts making strange noises
- there are visible leaks
How often should I have it re-gassed or recharged?
The gas, or refrigerant, in your air conditioning unit, is essential for the system and all the components to work effectively. Your car’s air con needs regular maintenance to ensure that it functions as effectively as it should. Your vehicle owner’s manual will also provide you with more specific requirements for your car. In terms of recharging your air conditioning, most vehicle manufacturers recommend doing it every two years. This applies whether or not you use your air con every day or not at all. Regardless of how it is used, refrigerant will continue to permeate over time so a top-up is necessary. Remember, less gas means less cool air which is why refilling it every few years will keep it in good condition.
How long does a car air con service or recharge take?
A car air con recharge usually takes between 30 minutes to an hour. The process involves a thorough systems check and completely removing the old gas and refilling it with fresh refrigerant. It also includes a vacuum test to ensure that there are no cracks or damage in your car air con system that could cause leaks. If we discover a leak or any faults, our friendly and professional technicians will discuss any recommended repairs. We will provide you with a no-obligation quote and will only carry out work with your consent. In addition to Elite Garages’ air conditioning service, we also offer our customers an optional air sanitizer from £10. This is an antibacterial cleaner that helps remove nasty smells and the build-up of harmful bacteria in your system and the vents. If you are experiencing any trouble with your car air con, call us to book your recharge, visit your local centre or book an appointment online. Using a professional, friendly, family-owned service centre like Elite Garages will certainly put your mind at ease. Our qualified, experienced technicians are on hand to provide you with expert knowledge and quality service you deserve.
Free Safety Check
With the increased number of motorists on the road embarking on more frequent and longer journeys, vehicle safety checks are essential. Some vehicle owners may not know that their cars require servicing, which means there are often more unsafe vehicles on the road than we realise. Without proper car maintenance, drivers put themselves, their families and other road users at risk of an unnecessary accident. Keeping your vehicle in peak operating condition is the best way to ensure your safety on the road, especially before a long business trip or family holidays. All it takes is a FREE Safety Check from Elite Garages to get you on your way again.
Why have a Free safety check?
A well-conducted free safety check could identify any issues which may cause real concerns at a later date. Early detection could avoid potentially fatal problems on the road, keeping you and your family safe. It’s important to do all the necessary checks ahead of the summer to prepare you for driving in the heat. This includes air conditioning, coolant levels and tyres while in winter, checking batteries, lights and wipers are essential for wet weather vehicle safety. Booking your vehicle in for a Free Safety Check at Elite Garages should be a top priority along with your accommodation and route planner. Elite Garages have helped keep drivers safe on the road for more than 50 years. We offer our customers FREE safety checks all year round which includes the following:
- Coolant Level/Condition
- Check Level of windscreen Washer Bottle
- Check Battery Condition
- Check Fan Belt
- Check Tyre Condition/Inflation
- Check Shock Absorbers
- Check Lights And Indicators
- Check Exhaust
- Windscreen Wipers And Blades
- Visual Radiator & Heater Hose Check
- Brake Fluid Boiling Point
- Check Oil Level
After conducting the free safety check, our professional and experienced technicians will provide you with a full report and share any known issues along with a quote for repairs if needed. Visit your nearest Elite branch for expert advice, exceptional customer care and dealership quality servicing.
Book your free safety check today and ensure a trouble-free and safe journey.
Your car suspension system is designed to maximise the friction between the tyres and the road surface, providing steering stability with good handling and comfortable driving experience. We often take our suspension and shock absorbers for granted considering how much they actually do. Contrary to popular belief, some people believe that the suspension and shock absorbers are only there for a smooth ride. For this reason, many people think that suspension checks and repairs aren’t as important as other car maintenance issues like oil changes or brakes. We know first-hand how a bad suspension can affect your ability to control the vehicle, especially when stopping or turning. It really is in your best interest not to ignore this part of vehicle maintenance.
Why is suspension important?
The suspension system in your car consists of several components, including the chassis, which holds the cab of the car. Other important parts are the springs that support the vehicle weight, absorb and reduce excess energy from road shocks and, of course, the shock absorbers and struts. Your car’s suspension must be in good working condition as worn components may reduce driving stability and control. Without repairing or replacing a worn suspension, other components could wear at an accelerated pace. Your suspension and shock absorbers are important for a number of reasons as they:
- Help keep your tyres in constant contact with the road
- Control the movement of your springs and suspension
- Promote even and balanced tyre and brake wear
- Provide efficient handling and braking
- Maintain wheel alignment
- Control vehicle bounce, roll, sway, drive, and acceleration squatting
Did you know that worn shock absorbers can add up to 2 metres to your braking distance while driving at 30mph? It’s important to maintain a healthy vehicle suspension system for optimum comfort, stability and handling.
Free no obligation inspection at your local Elite Garages
It is not always easy to detect suspension problems as it generally occurs gradually with a loss of performance in the shocks and springs. As it happens over a relatively long period of time, motorists may not always know that their suspension needs attention. At Elite Garages, we offer a FREE, no obligation suspension inspection with trained technicians. They will thoroughly inspect your vehicle and identify any suspension problems including shock absorbers. Our technicians will provide a full report and share any known issues along with a clear quote for repairs if needed.
Tyre Safety Check
Not attending to tyre safety is a vital factor in many road accidents every year. You can have the best brakes and shocks but it won’t help if your tyres are worn or damaged. The idea behind braking is to have sufficient friction between the road surface and your tyres so your car can come to a complete stop. Poor tyre maintenance will lead to worn treads which means your tyres will slide all over the road without stopping the car. This also affects handling and steering ability. Tyre damage is a real concern and can occur in several ways, not just age or mileage. In fact, other factors include emergency braking, incorrect tyre inflation, wheel alignment, and poor road surface. To ensure safety on the road, it is imperative that you perform a regular tyre check, at least every 2 weeks. You can also visit any of our Elite Garages for a FREE tyre check. Our expert technicians will do a thorough tyre inspection including tyre pressure, tread depth and visual damage check. Once they completed the tyre check, we will provide you with a detailed report indicating any concerns.
Why is a tyre check important?
While safety is the most important element behind tyre maintenance, keeping your tyres in good condition can also save you money in terms of fuel efficiency. The three major areas you need to focus on during your routine tyre check include tyre pressure, tyre tread depth and visible damage inspection. Under UK law, your tyre treads must be at least 1.6 mm deep around the tyre circumference and the central three quarters. Remember to check your tread depth in at least 3 different locations across the tyre to ensure there is no uneven wear. Under- or over-inflated tyres are dangerous and could easily lead to tyre failure. Incorrect tyre pressure results in uneven contact with the road so tyres will wear excessively on the inside and outside edges. Over-inflated tyres make less contact with the road which means less traction resulting in poor braking distances. If you notice a nail or screw lodged in your tread during your visual tyre check, it’s probably best to leave it until you can get to a garage. Pulling it out could let air escape and you may end up with a flat tyre. Visit any of our Elite branches if you suspect any tyre damage and we’ll take care of it while you wait. The free tyre check can be carried out in approximately 5 minutes and includes a thorough visual inspection of tread depth and wear, tyre pressure and damage to the side walls.
Just as an annual health check is important to you, a car diagnostic test can help your car. Diagnostics can detect problems before they get worse and require expensive repairs or an inconvenient breakdown. While many drivers think a diagnostic test is only necessary once the dashboard lights up, there are many benefits of a proactive approach to car maintenance.
All modern cars have onboard computers to monitor or control emissions levels, engine temperature and even windscreen wipers. When something goes wrong, these computers produce error codes that only specialised vehicle diagnostic equipment can read. While you may see a warning light on your dashboard, this only offers an indication of the problem.
You also don’t have to wait for the check engine light before booking a car diagnostic test. If you hear or feel something is “not right”, our state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment can uncover any concerns before they become problems. Many experts recommend taking your car in for a diagnostic check at least once a year. This helps identify minor problems that can’t be seen or heard and also won’t trigger any warning lights.
A handy way of checking out a used car is by using a diagnostic test. Both private sellers and professional car dealers will agree to a diagnostic test before you commit to buying. If they don’t, you should see that as a sign to reconsider your options.
If you have a warning light on your dash and don’t know what it means, contact your local branch. Elite Garages’ trained technicians can carry out a diagnostic test on most makes and models and quickly diagnose a potential problem. Our car diagnostic test picks up all kinds of errors and in the process identifies what they mean. This allows us to help you prevent component failures before they lead to further damage.
A diagnostic check is a fact-finding mission and if there are problems with your engine or other parts, we also provide you with a free, no-obligation quote.
The purpose of the MOT is to ensure that your vehicle meets the minimum safety level required by law. If your vehicle is older than 3 years you are required to have an annual safety check, known as MOT (Ministry Of Transport) test. During the 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.
Once the MOT test is completed, you will receive either a Pass or Fail – with a corresponding certificate. If your car passes its MOT, you will receive a VT20 MOT certificate. In the likelihood of failing your 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 why it didn’t pass.
The primary goal is checking vehicle safety and roadworthiness with brakes and emissions receiving special attention. An MOT is necessary once a vehicle is three years old and then annually thereafter. The MOT test is only a visual check so examiners are not allowed to make any changes or repairs but you still need, from a maintenance point of view, to book a regular service.
Changes to the MOT test
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. Defects identified in an MOT test are classified as minor, major or dangerous. During the MOT test, the defect category will depend on the type of problem and how serious it is. MOT testers will give advice on the items in question that need close monitoring and repair if necessary.
Below is a breakdown of all the different defect categories and subsequent test results.
|Dangerous||A defect that has a direct and immediate risk to road safety or presents a serious impact on the environment. Do not drive the vehicle until it has been repaired.||Fail|
|Major||Possible effect on vehicle safety and may put other road users at risk or have an impact on the environment. Repair the defect immediately.||Fail|
|Minor||No significant effect on the safety of the vehicle or impact on the environment. Repairs are required as soon as possible.||Pass|
|Advisory||Not a safety concern yet but could become more serious in the future. Monitor and repair if needed.||Pass|
|Pass||It meets the minimum legal standard. Ensure that it continues to meet the standard.||Pass|
There are also stricter emission limits for diesel cars with a diesel particulate filter (DPF). Your vehicle will get a major fault if smoke of any colour is emitted during the MOT test or if there is clear evidence that the DPF has been tampered with.
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. Vehicles older than 40 years do not need an MOT unless they have ‘substantially changed’. You can check a vehicle’s registration date online if you are unsure. Before the new changes, only cars built before 1960 were not required to get the test.
Among other changes, the new MOT test includes checking steering systems, reversing lights and brake discs. A heavy leak in the steering box will now result in failing your MOT test. Reversing lights that don’t work or blown bulbs are also scrutinised. In addition, significantly or obviously worn brake discs will also result in an automatic fail.
While we have mentioned some of the important elements of the new MOT test, please contact Elite Garages if you would like additional information.
MOT test at Elite Garages
We perform MOT tests on cars and small commercial vehicles at all of our branches except Strood. The MOT test takes about an hour. After completion, the technicians will inform you of the results and advise if any work is required in the event of a fail. We also offer a FREE retest within 10 working days.
MOT pricing depends on which slot is booked as some are offered at a discounted rate. This is part of our new online booking system. You can also sign up for our FREE text reminder service so you will never forget your MOT date.
It’s important to ensure that your MOT is up to date and that you don’t miss your annual test. If you do, it carries a fine of £1000 and your insurance would be invalid so book your test before it’s too late.