What’s the Difference Between an MOT and a Service?

Start by entering your registration to receive quotes!

You may be surprised to find out that lots of UK drivers don’t know the difference between an MOT and a service! The two are linked, as many motorists have a service at the same time as an MOT, but they are two different procedures.

What is an MOT?

An MOT is an annual, legally-required inspection of your car. Your MOT will follow a set of strict criteria, laid out by the DVSA, to determine if your car is roadworthy and safe to drive.

While the MOT may recommend that certain work is carried out to bring your car up to a roadworthy state, the MOT itself doesn’t include any repairs, adjustments or replacements.

During your MOT, your mechanic will check:

•    your vehicle identification number 

•    your registration plate 

•    your lights 

•    your steering and suspension 

•    the wipers and washer bottle 

•    the windscreen

•    the horn 

•    your seat belts 

•    your seats 

•    the fuel system 

•    the emissions 

•    the bodywork 

•    your doors 

•    the mirrors 

•    your wheels and tyres, and

•    your brakes.

In the UK, our car must have an annual MOT once it’s more than three years old so that you can be sure it’s safe to drive for the next year. An MOT won’t look at whether it’s running at peak performance, only at whether it’s safe or not. 

What is a service?

A service will involve checking over components like your brakes and seat belts, but your mechanic will repair or replace any parts that need attention. Your service will also usually include procedures like replacing your engine oil, fuel filters, sparkplugs and so on to help your car run at its best.

To perform a service, your mechanic runs through the guidelines set by the car’s manufacturer rather than the DVSA and garages can vary in what they include in their services. Some may include a windscreen washer top-up, for example, while others charge for this. 

The main differences between services and MOTs

Your MOT makes sure that your car is safe to drive and your mechanic will advise you of the work that needs to be done to either maintain the car in a roadworthy state or to restore it to a safe state. There’s no “fine tuning” involved – you’ll either pass or fail the MOT.

Services are the “fine tuning” for your car. They help you to get your car into its best shape to run efficiently and for longer. There’s no legal requirement to have a service, but it’s advised because it can spot small problems before they worsen.

Why do you need an MOT and an annual service?

You need an MOT because it’s a legal requirement to make sure that your car is roadworthy and doesn’t present a risk to you or other road users. It’s also essential for your insurance as your policy will be invalid without an MOT certificate.

Having a service isn’t a legal requirement, but there are several very good reasons to have an annual service.

Your safety

Parts wear out over time and you might not notice the gradual deterioration until it becomes critical. A regular service can pick up minor issues and address them before they become larger and more expensive.

You’ll save money

Having a regular service will prevent you being faced with sudden huge repair bills because you carried on driving, oblivious to a growing issue.

Better resale value

Your car will command a higher price if you can provide evidence of a regular and thorough service history as it shows buyers that they’re getting a well-maintained vehicle.

Your car will last longer

The more you look after your car, the longer it will last. Changing the engine oil frequently will keep your engine healthy for much longer, for example. 

Can you drive without an MOT certificate?

No, you can’t, as it’s a legal requirement to have a valid MOT. The only time you can drive without one is on your way to a pre-booked MOT appointment. 

While it’s a legal requirement to have an annual MOT once your car is more than three years old, your MOT centre isn’t obligated to remind you so you should set a reminder yourself.

It’s also a good idea to have your MOT done before your previous certificate expires, just in case you fail and have to wait for your car to be repaired and retested. Having the new MOT in the month before expiry is best because your garage can date the new certificate from the date of the expiry of the old one.

Your car insurance is invalidated without an MOT

You also risk a fine of up to £1,000 and six to eight penalty points if you drive without a valid MOT. Not to mention the costs you’ll probably face if you don’t have valid insurance and you’re involved in an accident. An MOT is much cheaper.

The easiest way to find the best mechanic for your needs.

Start by entering your registration to receive quotes!


Other Articles

Vehicle Workshop

Uncategorised
7th Jul

Whats the Difference Between a Mobile Mechanic and a Garage Mechanic?

Mobile mechanics are increasing in number in the UK and more drivers are using them to perform repairs and replacements on their cars. As both mobile mechanics and garages can carry out much the same work on cars, what are the essential differences between a mobile mechanic and a garage mechanic? A mobile mechanic A […]

Whats the Difference Between a Mobile Mechanic and a Garage Mechanic?

Mobile mechanics are increasing in number in the UK and more drivers are using them to perform repairs and replacements on their cars. As both mobile mechanics and garages can carry out much the same work on cars, what are the essential differences between a mobile mechanic and a garage mechanic? A mobile mechanic A […]

Reduce Speed Sign

How To Guides
28th May

Car Safety Tips Every Driver Should Know

While we at AutoAdvisor know that you’re a great, safe and considerate driver, you might be among the UK motorists who need a bit of extra help and advice to keep their car in good condition so it’s safe to drive. You might not have been driving much over the last year due to the […]

Car Safety Tips Every Driver Should Know

While we at AutoAdvisor know that you’re a great, safe and considerate driver, you might be among the UK motorists who need a bit of extra help and advice to keep their car in good condition so it’s safe to drive. You might not have been driving much over the last year due to the […]

Coronavirus Vaccine

Car Maintenance
25th May

Tips for Getting Your Car Repaired During the Covid 19 Pandemic

Although the NHS vaccination programme is working its way through the UK’s population and the country should be out of lockdown towards the end of June, we all still need to be careful so that we help the UK defeat the virus. You can get your car repaired during the pandemic Garages in the UK […]

Tips for Getting Your Car Repaired During the Covid 19 Pandemic

Although the NHS vaccination programme is working its way through the UK’s population and the country should be out of lockdown towards the end of June, we all still need to be careful so that we help the UK defeat the virus. You can get your car repaired during the pandemic Garages in the UK […]