Among the most significant ongoing costs of owning a car involve maintenance and check-ups. It’s your job as a motorist to ensure that the vehicle you’re driving is safe, and doesn’t pose a threat to yourself or other road users. But keeping the car in good condition also offers other benefits. It’ll make sure that it’s comfortable and pleasurable to drive, that your fuel economy is as good as it can be, and that you stand a reduced chance of running into knock-on problems.

You might have heard people speak about taking a car in for an ‘MOT’ or a ‘service’. But the difference between these might not be clear. Don’t both of these involve checking that the car works, and fixing it when it doesn’t?

Let’s alleviate the confusion of MOTs and car services by running through these two things, and seeing just what it is that they do.

What is an MOT?

In the UK, it’s a legal requirement that every car over three years old undergo an annual MOT test to ensure that it’s roadworthy. If you drive a car without an MOT, then you’re exposing yourself to severe legal penalties. You could be fined heavily and banned from driving.

An MOT should be conducted by an approved testing centre. The cost of the test itself will vary depending on where it’s being performed. Typically, the dealership will charge you a premium, so be sure to shop around if you want the best possible deal.  You can book an MOT online, making it easier than ever to get it done.

If your car fails its MOT, then you can typically get a partial retest done for free – just so that they can establish that the problem has really been corrected. If you take the car away to have the problem fixed elsewhere, and then return it, then you can usually expect to pay more.

What is a Car Service?

A service isn’t a legal requirement. It’s a form of preventative maintenance, designed to identify and straighten out potential problems and thereby save you money in the long-run. It’ll also ensure that the car is in good condition. A full service will involve examining all of the mechanical and electrical components in your car.  You might expect to pay just over £100 for a full service – which is much less than many of the common faults that might develop in lieu of a service.

In Conclusion

The MOT is something that you have to do. It’ll ensure that your car meets the basic minimum standard for staying on the road. A service is optional. It’s there to keep the car in the best possible condition, ensuring that it’s in the best possible shape, and preventing faults from developing in the first place.