MOT Workshop 43 – ‘Service’ versus the ‘MOT’

• Headlamp aim**
• Check of steering, suspension, and drive shafts including wheel bearings.**
• Seat belt condition to MOT standard.**
• Brake performance measured on a ‘roller brake test’ machine – although in most cases if a road test is done ‘post service’ most problems detected on roller brake test equipment should be picked up.
• Rear view mirrors.
• Driver’s view of the road – ie windscreen condition and any items obstructing the drivers view.
• Tyre check to full ‘MOT Standard’ – but it is likely that this would only be omitted if the service garage concerned is neither an MOT Testing Station, or a tyre supplier.**
• Emissions check (including exhaust), although a blowing exhaust would probably be identified during a service.
• Condition and security of seats.
• Structural integrity and corrosion (to MOT standard).**
• Body and structural condition.
• Electrical wiring.
• Tow bar electrics (if fitted).
• Steering/suspension dust covers.
**Items with potentially serious road safety consequences should they be defective.

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It should be noted that some of these items may, in fact, be picked up during a full service when the vehicle is road tested – eg a loose driver’s – but not necessarily inspected to an ‘MOT standard’, unless the mechanic doing the work is also an MOT Tester.
Although in road safety terms at the time of the MOT Test the inspection conducted is more comprehensive than a service – that’s only half of the picture. In another key respect, a service is better than an MOT inspection.

During an MOT, Testers only inspect an item as to whether or not it is safe then and there – ‘on the day of the test’. Yet during a service inspection, the technician is looking at whether or not those brake pads, tyres or any other ‘wearing’ item will be safe until the next service – a quite different criteria altogether. Thin brake pads, but thicker than the ‘MOT minimum’ would be replaced, as would tyres with asymmetric wear, and the steering ‘tracking’ checked at the same time.

Bridging the gap, MOT ‘Advisories’, …

This is where the MOT advisories come in. They bridge the gap between an MOT and a service and inform the motorist that whilst the car is safe – ‘on the day’, it could become ‘unsafe’ in the future, and maybe within a relatively short period of time. Whilst, due to the difficulties that Testers and Testing Stations sometimes have with VOSA’s disciplinary system, they see MOT advisory notes as a way of covering themselves against future disciplinary action, that’s really only a secondary factor. The advisory items are there for the benefit of motorists, providing a crucial bridge between the benefits of an MOT inspection, and the value of a ‘full service’.

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