What is an MOT and servicing?

We take you through everything to do with MOT's and servicing...

When you get a car, regardless of whether you lease or buy, you have to get it MOT’d and serviced.

These happen at set intervals and yes, they do cost money. However, they are extremely beneficial and in the case of an MOT, a legal requirement.

But what is actually involved in an MOT and a Service?

In this article, we look at everything to do with MOT’s and Servicing including what they involve and how much they will cost.

What is an MOT?

An MOT is a test that your car must undergo to test its safety and exhaust emissions. Essentially, it is a test to make sure your car is still roadworthy.

You must get your car MOT’d. It’s the law. The law currently states that you need to get your car MOT’d every three years. After that, you need to get your car MOT’d every 12 months.

How much will an MOT cost?

A typical MOT costs  £54.85 and is exempt from VAT.

You can get your car MOT’d at any MOT licenced testing station in the UK. Once your MOT is complete then it’s valid for 12 months. You can also forward date the MOT to the registration anniversary date of the vehicle if it’s within one calendar month.

What does an MOT involve?

An MOT is quite straightforward. Here’s what they will check;

  • Vehicle Identification Number
    • They will check that the Vehicle Identification Number is present and legibly displayed on the vehicle
  • Registration plate
    • They will check the condition, security and legibility and the format of the letters and numbers on your registration plate.
  • Lights
  • Seatbelts
  • Windscreen
  • Steering and suspension
  • Horn
  • Seats
  • Fuel system
  • Emissions
  • Doors
  • Brakes
  • Wheels and tyres
  • Body work
man wearing a suit ticking off checklist

Essentially, they will give everything a test to make sure everything is in working order and that your car is safe to drive.

What happens if my car fails its MOT?

If your car fails its MOT then you will have to pay for the repairs. You will not be able to drive your car until it has had the appropriate repairs and has passed the subsequent MOT.

Do I have to pay for my MOT on my lease car?

If you have your lease car for three years then you will have to get your car MOT’d. And, your MOT is not included in the price of your lease contract, so you will have to pay for that separately. As you can see above, it’s not actually that much money and if you have a three year contract then you will only have to pay for it once.

Alternatively, you can get  a maintenance agreement. But we’ll talk more about those in a little bit.

What is servicing?

Not only do you have to get your car MOT’d, but you also have to get it serviced. This isn’t a legal requirement, but if you want to sell your car on, you should have proof that it has been serviced via the servicing book.

woman getting her car serviced

If you lease your car, then you have to get it serviced, it’s in the conditions of your contract. When you get your car serviced varies. It depends from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some manufacturers measure in miles, others in years. So you could get your car serviced every 2 years or every 20,000 miles. If you’re in doubt, you can check your user handbook and it should tell you when you need to get it serviced.

We recommend you get your car serviced at a franchised dealer. Not only are they trained specifically to work on those cars but they also have all the latest updates that third-party garages may not have. If you lease your car, you have to get it serviced at a franchised dealer. You cannot get it serviced at a third-party garage otherwise you could incur fines and invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty.

What does a service consist of?

Here is a brief overview of what the services will involve;

1st Service

This will generally consist of an oil and filter change. It will also include a health check which is a visual check on the underside of the car or van and will highlight any issues that may require attention before the next service. They will also record the tyre tread depths .

2nd Service 

This is a bigger service. It will include an oil and filter change as well as a brake fluid change. You may also find that the pollen filter is checked and replaced. A health check will also be carried out.

3rd Service 

This will consist of an oil and filter change and a general check of the vehicle.

servicing a car

4th Service 

This is the biggest service. You may find that you have parts replaced such as the air filters and spark plugs. Brake Pads may also be replaced as well as the discs. 

So that is what the first four services involve.

Do I have to pay for servicing on my lease car?

Yes, you do. If you have a lease car then the cost of servicing is not included in your lease contract. However, you could look at a maintenance agreement.

What is a maintenance agreement?

man looking for parts

So, what exactly is a maintenance agreement?

A maintenance agreement essentially covers everything including servicing and your lease cars MOT for the duration of your lease agreement. You pay for your maintenance agreement monthly on top of what you pay monthly for your lease contract. When it comes to servicing and having your car MOT’d, then you won’t have to pay anything up front because you would have already paid for it with your maintenance agreement.

Essentially, a maintenance agreement is great for those who do not want to have to pay for their servicing and MOT up front, and would rather stagger the cost over the duration of the lease contract. You can read more about maintenance agreements, what they include and how much they cost in our article here.

In conclusion, an MOT is a check up for your car to ensure that it is roadworthy. You have to get your car MOT’d, it’s a legal requirement. The law currently states that you will have to get your car MOT’d after the first three years, and then once a year after that. A service is a longer check up to make sure everything is in working order and up to date. This is not a legal requirement, but it is necessary should you want to sell your car on. And, if you are buying a car second hand then we always advise that you ask for the servicing book to ensure that the car you are looking at has its full service history.

If you have a lease car, then you will have to get your car serviced as per your agreement. How much each service costs vary. However, you can stagger these costs over the duration of your contract with the help of a maintenance agreement. Hopefully, this has cleared a few things up about MOT’s and servicing of your car.

Want to know what you can do at home to maintain your car? Learning these tips could save you money over time 

Holly Martin

Content Co-ordinator at OSV Ltd
Holly enjoys: Reading, music and spending time with friends.

Within a week of Holly starting work at OSV she became an indispensable part of the marketing team. She's very intuitive and gets on with the whole office effortlessly.
Holly Martin

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