The difference between MOT testing and servicing can confuse newly qualified drivers - and even the experienced have to have their vehicles serviced properly to ensure any warranty remains valid.
What Is The MOT Test
The MOT test ensures a vehicle meets safety and environmental standards. The majority legally require a test three years after registration, then annually thereafter. Some are exempt, such as vehicles registered prior to 1960. The technician examines a range of parts including the bodywork, fuel system, brakes, seatbelts, lights, suspension, steering, bonnet catch, tyres, and registration plates. If any component falls below standard the vehicle fails.
The MOT test is an examination rather than an opportunity for repair and maintenance. If a vehicle fails, its owner receives a certificate to explain why. If it is financially viable, the motorist can then pay an additional fee to bring the vehicle to standard. It is then retested – typically for free - and passes.
What Is Servicing
Servicing is the process of maintaining and replacing certain components. Every vehicle has a service schedule that might, for example, say it requires a basic service at ten-thousand miles, a medium at twenty thousand and a full at thirty. Refer to the manual or manufacturer for confirmation - but a reasonable benchmark is to have some form of service every twelve months/ten thousand miles.
A typical service includes: changing the engine oil, filters, spark plugs and topping up coolant and washer fluid. Furthermore, the technician might grease the door hinges, inflate the tyres, clean the distributor, remove rust from the brake discs, adjust the handbrake, tighten the drive belts and replace blown light bulbs.
The technician might also ensure that less consumable components such as the alternator and starter motor work properly. If not, they can be replaced – for a cost – before they cause a breakdown.
Servicing Vital To Retain Warranty
A new vehicle is supplied with a warranty that might be invalidated if it is not maintained to the manufacturer’s satisfaction. On this basis, it might be easiest to have it serviced at a branded dealer.
However, European Block Exemption rules ensure a vehicle can be serviced by an independent dealer without invalidating the warranty (if procedures are followed). The dealer must only use manufacturer parts and follow the service schedule, for example. Comprehensive documentation is required as proof. This ensures that if the vehicle develops a fault, the manufacturer has no concerns that it was caused by improper servicing - so the warranty remains valid.