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Why you should book a car service before an MOT test

December 12, 2023

Do you want to keep your car in top-notch condition and ensure you always pass your MOT test? Regular car servicing is a great way to make sure your car is safe to drive and working efficiently.

Many car owners are under the impression that a car service and an MOT test are interchangeable, or that the order doesn't particularly matter. However, a growing body of evidence and expert advice suggests that booking a car service prior to an MOT test could be the smartest move you make before you book an MOT.

The conventional wisdom was to get an MOT test done first to identify potential issues, but with the rise of more comprehensive testing mechanisms you could be better off opting for a car servicing first.

This blog will explore the benefits of scheduling a car service before an MOT test and how it could save you time, money, and stress down the road.

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Difference between an MOT test and a car service

Before we dive into this blog, it’s important to understand the difference between an MOT test and a car service.

An MOT test is a mandatory annual inspection for all vehicles over three years old to ensure that the vehicle is safe to drive on public roads. During the test, an MOT tester will simply check specific parts of a vehicle for its condition but will not conduct any repairs during the test.

A car service is a comprehensive evaluation and maintenance process that ensures your vehicle operates at peak performance and safety. This routine assessment involves numerous inspections, adjustments, and repairs to optimise your car's efficiency and longevity.

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Why the order matters: 4 reasons you should service your car first

The order in which you get an MOT test and car service depends on your specific circumstances, but garages suggest it’s a good idea to get the car serviced before your MOT test.

Here's why:

  1. Reduce the likelihood of failing an MOT: during a car service, mechanics can identify and rectify issues that might cause your vehicle to fail its MOT test. This could include replacing worn-out tyres, fixing faulty lights, or even adjusting the brakes. By servicing your car first, you stand a better chance of passing the MOT test the first time around, saving you time and potential retest fees
  2. Early identification of problems: a car service addresses the overall health of your vehicle, including aspects not covered by the MOT test. By getting your car serviced first, you can discover potential issues early and rectify them. This proactive approach not only helps maintain your car in good condition, but it also prevents minor issues from escalating into major, costlier problems down the line
  3. Enhance longevity and efficiency of your vehicle: regular servicing ensures that your car stays in prime condition. By servicing before the MOT, you can make certain that your car is not just safe, but also performing optimally. According to Halfords, this maintenance can improve fuel efficiency, extend your vehicle's lifespan, and offer a smoother, more enjoyable driving experience
  4. Resale value: you can prove that you regularly service and maintain your vehicle which is a great selling point for potential buyers who will want to ensure any vehicle they buy is in good condition

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Remember an MOT is not a replacement for a car service. While the MOT test checks that your vehicle is safe and roadworthy, a service might identify issues that aren't part of the MOT test but could cause problems in the future.

When you should get an MOT before service

While most mechanics and garages usually recommend getting a car service before an MOT test, there are scenarios where you might want to book an MOT before service:

  1. When MOT is due: if your car's MOT is due, and your vehicle is generally in good condition with no apparent issues, it makes sense to get an MOT first. If the car passes the MOT, you can then schedule a car service for ongoing maintenance
  2. When you've just purchased a used car: if you've bought a used car and it's due for an MOT, getting an MOT done first can provide a good baseline of the vehicle's condition and point out any safety or roadworthiness issues that need immediate attention. You can then address these issues during the car service

The goal is to keep your vehicle safe, roadworthy, and well-maintained. Regular servicing is important for this, even if it's not legally required like the MOT. Always consult with a trusted mechanic or garage for advice based on your specific circumstances.

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