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What you need to know about car servicing and MOTs

Having a car is one of life’s greatest pleasures, except of course when you have to service it and put it through its annual MOT. We’ve got some tips, tricks and recommendations on the best places in the North East to get your car put through its yearly check up!


As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to have your car serviced every 12,000 miles or every 12 months – whichever comes first. This will keep your car in good condition and can save you money by spotting any issues early on, which can become costly later on if they aren’t fixed.

Servicing your car can also save you money at the petrol pump – changing oil and air filters will make your engine run more smoothly and efficiently, and checking your tyre pressure and suspension can help with fuel economy.

There are two types of servicing that is available; an interim service is designed for drivers who cover a high mileage, at 20,000 miles a year or more. If you are travelling this much, you should get your car serviced twice a year to keep it in tip top condition.

★ Our top pick for servicing in the North East goes to Bank Top Garage in Newcastle upon Tyne ★

An interim service will include:
  • Oil and filter change
  • Fluid top up: brakes, washer, anti-freeze and steering
  • Tyre pressure, tread and damage to tyres such as cuts and bulges
  • Check that all of the exterior lights on your car work
  • Inspection of brakes
  • Check the battery and its wiring
  • Plus more depending on the garage
A full service will include:
  • Oil and filter change
  • New air filter
  • New fuel filter (diesel)
  • New spark plugs (petrol)
  • Check for leaks, wear, damage to steering and driveshaft
  • Wheels removed and brakes checked
  • Brake cylinders, pipes and hoses checked
  • Checking your suspension for wear or damage
  • Check your clutch (manual)
  • Handbrake operation checked
  • Brakes checked and fluids topped up if necessary
  • Reset service light
  • Checking tyres for wear and damage
  • Checking exhaust system for corrosion, damage or leaks
  • Plus more..
Mechanic working on a car


MOT tests are a mandatory requirement set by the government and your car must pass the minimum standards for safety and emissions once a year or it isn’t road worthy. As a car owner, it is your responsibility to do an MOT test once a year so mark it down on your calendar!

The cost for an MOT test is limited – £54.85 for cars or motor caravans and £29.65 for motorbikes.

We’d recommend booking a test in a month before your MOT is due and keep the same renewal date if you’d prefer (you can find the expiry date on the last pass certificate). You can’t drive on the roads if your MOT has ran out, unless you are driving it to an appointment you have booked or you are driving it to or from somewhere to be repaired.

★ Our top pick for an MOT test centre in the Newcastle goes to St Michael’s Test Centre  ★

Before you go to the test centre

Before you go for your MOT test you should do a few simple checks to reduce the chances of your MOT failing – statistics show that 40% of MOT’s fail the first time.

1.Check your lights
Ask someone to sit in your car whilst you walk around checking all of the exterior lights are working properly and replacing any broken ones. The majority of MOT’s fail because of faulty or broken lights so make sure you check yours.

2. Check your shock absorbers
Apply your weight quickly to each corner of your car and then release. The car should bounce stiffly back into place and if it’s bouncing more than a couple of times it could be a sign that your shock absorbers are worn. Find out how to perform easy at-home car checks

3.Check your tyre pressure and tread
You can check your tyre tread by placing a 20p coin on its edge into the main groove of the tyre tread. If you can see the edge of the coin, then you’re approaching the minimum tread depth and you should consider replacing your tyres.


of cars fail an MOT test the first time


of those cars would have passed if basic checks and maintenance had been carried out

 My car has failed its MOT

If your car fails its MOT, you will receive a VT30 Refusal of an MOT test certificate which lists your cars details, the MOT test number and reasons as to why it failed.

Retaking MOT test

You will need to carry out the repairs listed on your VT30. There are a few options you have for retaking your MOT test; some can save you paying additional fees.

  1. Leave your car to be fixed
    If the test centre you went to carry out repairs then you can leave the car with them and collect when the work is complete. If the repairs can be carried out by the test centre within 10 working days then a partial retest can be booked and they will carry out tests on the repairs that have been done.
  2. Bring the car back to the original test centre within 1 working day
    If you take away your car for repairs and take it back to the original test centre within one working day you can take a free partial retest.
  3. Bring the car back to the original test centre within 10 working days
    If you choose to take the car away for repairs and bring the car back to the original test centre for a partial retest within 10 days you will be charged a partial retest fee only (this is usually half the price of an MOT)
  4. Bring your car back to the original test centre after 10 working days
    If you take your car away for repairs and take the car back to the original test centre after 10 working days you will be charged for a full MOT.

 Appealing against a MOT fail

If you think your car has been unfairly failed, you can appeal against the decision although it is recommended that you talk to the garage that performed the MOT test first. You will then need to fill out a complaints form which has to be sent to the DVSA within 14 working days of the original test. Before you send off the complaints form, you shouldn’t carry out any of the recommended repairs from the MOT test certificate, as this can cause the appeal to be cancelled.

The DVSA will get back to you within 5 days of receiving your complaints form to discuss the appeal. If the DVSA decides to recheck your car then you will have to pay for a full MOT test again, however if your appeal is successful you could be issued a full or partial refund.

To find out more information visit the DVSA website.

My MOT has failed; what next?

Unfortunately, there comes a time when your vehicle might not make it through an MOT or the repair costs are too dear. It’s important to keep in mind the running and upkeep costs of your car and if it’s worth considering a change. If you have come to that decision then you’ll be happy to know getting car finance in Newcastle has never been easier. More than a million people now get a car using credit and at Refused Car Finance, your chances of getting approved couldn’t be better.