MOT and Service - what's the difference? Which is better? Do I need both?
Let's start with the MOT test.
This is a visual inspection of your car, but the garage is not allowed to dismantle or strip components down. This makes it harder, but not impossible for the garage to tell you that your car needs work that it doesn't. The MOT test is the same for all cars, because the inspection criteria is set by the Government agency DVSA.
This is also mainly an inspection, so if you book the wrong one, it will duplicate large parts (but not all) of the MOT test inspection. Some kind of car servicing is needed in addition to the MOT each year, because it includes changing some 'service items' and stripping down some key safety components.
A service is different at every garage, and if it is based on guidelines from the car manufacturer, it will vary from car to car and year to year.
In both cases, if the garage advises that something needs replacing or repairing, then you have to pay on top to have that fixed.
How To Book The Right Service With an MOT
When booking a service with an MOT, you don't need a 'Full' or 'Major' service.
You do need a change of your oil and oil filter (this helps reliability and fuel efficiency) and your brakes should be stripped down and fully checked.
This is important because your car could pass its MOT brake test, but not have a year's motoring left in the brakes. This can also reveal internal leaks or problems, which need to be fixed for your safety.
Whether your car needs more maintenance work than this depends on the car's service schedule, service history and your use over the last year.
But many garages will sell you a 'Full' or 'Major Service' when you book your MOT, which is mainly made up of inspection checks already covered by the MOT.
That is why when you book with motoreasy, we have designed our basic service to accompany the MOT test. If your car needs other actual changes, either for maintenance and safety reasons, or to protect your car warranty, these can still be added on, as they would with a full service. But you haven't paid for two inspections at the start!
For full peace of mind and to best maintain your car's reliability, we also provide manufacturer recommended car servicing at up to 40% less than you'll be charged at the manufacturer. Plus we'll keep a full digital history for you available in your account.
Unfortunately, with any service, if you don't have technical knowledge, garages have the opportunity to exaggerate your car's problems. That is why you should book with motoreasy, as we prevent inflated bills and bad garage advice.
If you book the wrong service, it will duplicate large parts (but not all) of the MOT test inspection.
Service first, then MOT, is suspicious!
When you need a service and MOT test at the same time, some garages tell you that they will service the car first, to ensure it passes the MOT. We're suspicious of this approach, and so should you be.
If a car is serviced first to help you pass the MOT test, then extra work can easily be added to your repair bill.
It is also not the most efficient way for the garage to work. In this example they have to test everything covered by the MOT twice (once during servicing prior to the MOT, and again during the MOT), or not comply with MOT regulations. In reality, they only do the few MOT checks which weren't completed as part of the service.
What's the solution?
We always recommend asking for your MOT test to be completed first, followed by car servicing (as offered by our network garages). This makes it hard to claim things like brake pads need replacing when they don't really.