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MOT And Servicing: How Much Should An MOT Cost On Average?

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Every car must undergo an MOT test to check for its road worthiness and safety. Here's the average MOT cost and how it varies between different vehicles.

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MOT tests are often considered an unwanted expense and a time-consuming hassle for drivers. Technically standing for "Ministry of Transport" - the government body in charge of overseeing the tests - MOT is actually an initialism that's come to broadly mean the road worthiness and safety check that's mandated by law to be performed on all driving vehicles.

Although a necessary check to have before you're allowed to drive your vehicle on the road, this test is not free. All drivers are required to schedule, undergo, and then pay for the test on their vehicles personally.

This leads to budget concerns for many drivers, especially those with larger or older vehicles. Luckily, MOT tests are not considered expensive. Let's explore the average cost on an MOT, and what factors can influence this price.

Average MOT Cost

In the U.K., the cost of an MOT test ranges from as low as £29.65 to as high as £124.50. However, this depends on the vehicle you're having tested. The lowest expense is for motorcycles with engine sizes up to 200cc, while the highest is for private passenger vehicles, ambulances, and playbuses.

The vast majority of drivers will only pay £54.85. This is the maximum MOT cost for standard cars, with seating capacity between 2-8 passengers. This same cost will also apply to:

  • Motor caravans
  • Dual purpose vehicles
  • 3-wheeled vehicles (over 450kg unladen weight)
  • Goods vehicles (up to 3,000kg design gross weight)
  • Private hire and public service vehicles (up to 8 seats)
  • Quads (max unladen weight 400kg)

While MOT tests standardly take place at MOT centres, some auto centres also provide this service. They can then give promotional rates, as they're allowed to charge less than the maximum cap. In light of this, you may find more competitive rates by shopping around.

The reasoning behind the price depends less on the purpose of the vehicle and more about its:

  • Size
  • Complexity
  • Number of parts

For example, motorbikes have fewer components to check, while playbuses have far more. As such, the test for a big vehicle requires more time and a better qualified technician, which impacts the overall MOT cost.

Do I Have To Have An MOT Check?

U.K. regulations state that this check must be performed every year (or every 13 months at the absolute latest), so the vehicle can receive a valid MOT certificate. Fines and penalties apply if a vehicle is driven without a valid MOT. While this sounds complicated and even scary to some drivers, there are many benefits to the MOT test.

This test will evaluate the safety features on your vehicle and its general condition, so you and the government alike can be sure that your car is safe to drive, especially in public spaces. Part of the MOT checklist includes the effectiveness of the:

  • Fuel system
  • Seat belts
  • Tyres
  • Headlights
  • Brakes
  • Airbags
  • Windscreen wipers
  • Mirrors
  • Exhaust system

Clutches, gearboxes, and engines are a few aspects that are not evaluated, which may seem counterintuitive. However, these components are responsible for the car functioning at all; the MOT test is merely designed to see if your car has the right safety features and that they are working properly. Checking with your mechanic is necessary to make sure your car runs well overall.

The logic here is that if your engine stops working, then you'll just have to stop. This is unlikely to endanger anyone. However, if your brakes stop working, then you can't stop. The MOT test will "fail" you for faulty brakes to ensure they're repaired before the car is taken back on the road, where it could endanger you and others.

What's The Difference Between An MOT And Service?

When arranging for your MOT test at an auto centre, you may come across packages that include "servicing." Alternatively, once your MOT test is performed at a government-run centre, you may find the test-giver flagging certain areas for recommended servicing. What does this mean, and how does it vary from a standard MOT?

In short, an MOT test "passes" or "fails" you based on how safe your car is. A "servicing" can take place after an MOT test, where the person checking your car recommends servicing (which includes assessment and repairs by a mechanic) to be performed on:

  • Safety-related parts found to be sub-standard during the MOT** test** – These repairs are mandatory.
  • Non-safety related parts that were noted as faulty during the MOT** test** – These repairs are not mandatory to pass your MOT, but they're highly encouraged.

For example, your test-giver may note that your gearbox is faulty, and will recommend that you fix it. However, since it's a functionality question and not a safety concern, it's not required by law that you fix this before passing your MOT test.

If there are issues with your brakes, however, then the test-giver will note this for servicing and you're required by law to have the brakes fixed before you can pass your MOT.

Even if the servicing is not mandatory, it's highly encouraged that you take the test-giver's advice. A failing head gasket won't fail an MOT, but if enough oil leaks out and you end up driving with a dry engine, then you may need to replace your engine shortly after. You will still pass the MOT, but your budget is likely to suffer down the road.

What Makes An MOT Cost More?

In light of required vs. recommended servicing, your MOT costs may climb higher than the expected £54.85 if you need several repairs. That's because you're not only paying for the MOT cost – you're also paying for any maintenance necessary to help you pass that test.

Different levels of servicing may be needed, according to your situation. Assuming your vehicle needs a full service, a complete package usually starts at £150 for vehicles under 1400cc. This increases for vehicles with larger engines.

The best way to bring down the overall cost is to have your vehicle checked, serviced, and repaired frequently. Catching problems early can allow for simple repairs, while allowing wear and tear to escalate over time may demand the full replacement of parts, which drives up the cost.

How To Get An MOT That Costs Less

We offer combined MOT and servicing at a lower rate than booking them individually. Get in touch with your local Autofusion today and save yourself time and money, while ensuring that your car's maintenance is prioritised.