Servicing and vehicle inspection involves the inspection, adjustment and replacement of components, and the carrying out of a series of maintenance procedures as specified by the vehicle manufacturer at specific time or mileage intervals. Servicing is carried out to make sure your vehicle is roadworthy, safe and running efficiently,and also to spot any potential or minor faults before they develop into more serious faults or breakdowns.
All manufacturers produce service schedules for each of their vehicles. Many of them used to follow a similar routine at roughly the same set mileages or timescales, but this is no longer the case. This is because much of the technology now used on modern vehicles has led to an increase in service life for a number of components, such as cam belts and filters, and this varies from vehicle to vehicle.
Many manufacturers also base their warranty polices on regular, scheduled maintenance being carried out. If these specified services are not followed, then the manufacturer can void the warranty, which could lead to expensive repair bills in the future.
Everyone who uses a vehicle on the road must keep it in a roadworthy condition. The MOT Test checks that your vehicle meets road safety and environmental standards. The first MOT test for a vehicle is required when it’s three years old and then annually thereafter.
An MOT certificate confirms that at the time of the test, without dismantling, your vehicle met the minimum acceptable environmental and road safety standards required by law. It doesn’t mean that the vehicle is roadworthy for the length of time the certificate is valid. The MOT certificate is also no guarantee of the general mechanical condition of your vehicl. The test doesn’t cover the condition of the engine, clutch or gearbox.
Safety inspections cover items similar to the MOT inspection. They are designed to check all safety critical items such as brakes, steering, suspension and lighting, and are usually carried out as part of a larger service or pre-delivery inspection. You may find seasonal services or specific maintenance inspections that just cover regular wear items such as brakes, tyres and shock absorbers. These are usually offered on a ‘while you wait’ basis.
Pre-work inspections are carried out by the technician before carrying out any service or repair work. The purpose being to identify any obvious faults or superficial damage that may already be present on the vehicle before the technician starts any work on it.
Post-work inspections are similar to pre-work inspections but are done at the end of a service or repair task, usually after the vehicle has been road tested and before it leaves the workshop. It can include checking of all fluid and lubricant levels, checking for dirty hand prints on the bodywork, and making sure the interior is in good condition. This is sometimes referred to as the Quality Control (QC) check.
A Pre-Delivery Inspection, or PDI, is carried out before a vehicle has been fully prepared for delivery to the customer. It can be carried out on new or used cars to ensure that the vehicle meets the legal requirements that allow it to be used on a public road. It also helps to ensure that every vehicle sold leaves the garage conforming to a uniform quality.
Pre-Purchase Inspections are usually carried out when a used vehicle is being bought from a customer as a trade-in (when a vehicle is part-exchanged for another one). Most garages have developed their own inspection schedules to cover safety critical items (things that are essential for safety reasons, such as brakes, steering etc.) and common problems and faults. They are designed to give the garage a basic overview of the condition of the vehicle.
When a vehicle is repaired following an accident, an inspection must be carried out to make sure that it is safe for use on the road again. The vehicle should also be given back to the customer in a clean and tidy state.
If the vehicle has had chassis straightening work done, then a full geometry check and adjustment must be carried out to make sure the vehicle drives straight and true. If the repair involved the removal of any major component such as the engine, then all fluid levels, mounting, clips and shields etc. must be checked for security and correct fitment.
Diagnostic equipment might also be needed to check and remove any fault codes logged during the accident or the repairs. Once the vehicle has had all of these checks carried out, then it is customary to carry out a full safety inspection followed by a valet.