A van MOT, and why it’s NOT a service

Many of us know that feeling of joy you get when your van passes its MOT. Problem is, some van drivers mistakenly think an MOT is as good as a service, or they think because the van passed the MOT, the service can be put off.

As a sensible van driver, you know this way of thinking is wrong, and asking for trouble. But, to help those that do think like this, we’ve created this short article about the van MOT, and why it’s NOT a service.

What is a van MOT?

A van MOT is pretty much the same as a car MOT – it’s an annual test (and legal requirement) that takes around 40 minutes to an hour, to check the van's roadworthiness. And, just like a car MOT, once your van reaches its third birthday, it needs an MOT test. This includes all UK-licensed vans (in Northern Ireland it’s every 4 years).

To book your van MOT, you must book it through an approved MOT test centre, and the maximum price of the van MOT is set by the government, which you can find out at www.gov.uk/getting-an-mot/mot-test-fees. Bear in mind, a class 4 MOT will be slightly cheaper than a class 7 MOT, and your van could fall into either class, depending on its GDW (gross design weight).


Why is a van MOT important?

First and foremost, a van MOT is designed to ensure your van is safe to be driven on UK roads, protecting you the driver, your passengers, and other road users.

A van MOT is also a great opportunity to ‘check in’ on certain aspects of your van’s health (especially if you haven’t serviced it in a while) – but it is not a service.

It’s also worth remembering, if you don’t get a van MOT, you won’t be able to tax your van, and driving without an MOT will also mean your van insurance could be invalidated.

What’s included in a van MOT?

Similar to a car, your van MOT will cover a range of the van's components vital for its safety. See the list below, and notice these checks DON’T include the engine, clutch or gearbox.

  • Fuel system
  • Bodywork, including the bonnet and doors
  • Brakes
  • Exhaust emissions
  • Mirrors
  • Lights
  • Load security
  • Seat belts and seats
  • Horn
  • Steering and suspension
  • Tyres
  • Wheels
  • Registration plates
  • Vehicle ID number
  • Wipers and washers
  • Windscreen

And, whilst this list of components is large, it doesn’t mean you’re let off from carrying out general maintenance checks between MOT tests.

Why a van MOT isn’t the same as a van service

As mentioned above, a van MOT test is a test to check for the roadworthiness of your van, which doesn’t include its mechanical condition. So in theory, your van could pass its MOT test with flying colours, and as soon as you drive it out of the MOT testing station, it could break down and conk out. This is because, as also mentioned above, a van MOT test doesn’t check the engine, the clutch or the gearbox – the things routinely checked in a decent service.

But a van service is expensive…

It depends on what you call expensive, but by not getting a service, which will typically include things such as an oil and filter change, a brake inspection and tyre check etc., you could be lining yourself up for an MOT failure next time round, which could also include an expensive repair bill.

Van Servicing, Leighton Buzzard

Based in Leighton Buzzard, Jackson & Phillips are a leading car and van servicing and MOT specialist. Contact us today, either via the website contact form, by email, or by phone, to speak directly to one of the team.

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