What is the Difference Between an MOT and a Service?

MOT and Service differencesBeing the owner of a vehicle means you have a number of requirements to fulfil to ensure your car or van is safe and roadworthy. The MOT and service are two of the main checks that have to be conducted on a regular basis to ensure your vehicle is safe to drive, and that you, your passengers and other road users are safeguarded from preventable issues. Despite often being mentioned in the same breath, the MOT and the service are two very different tests. Here we look at each in detail so you can continue to be a responsible vehicle owner.


The Ministry of Transport or MOT test is an annual test that’s compulsory for every vehicle aged three years or older in the UK. The test is designed to confirm the safety and roadworthiness of a vehicle. Exhaust emissions are also recorded to ensure they are not excessive enough to harm the environment. Many important parts of your vehicle are checked during an MOT. The MOT test centre will be looking for confirmation that each meets the legal standards as set out by the latest legislation.

As part of your MOT test the following car parts will be tested:

  • Body / vehicle structure
  • Fuel system
  • Seats and seatbelts
  • Steering and suspensions
  • Windscreen, wipers and washers
  • Electrical wiring and battery
  • Lights and registration plates
  • Bonnet
  • Tyres and wheels
  • Brakes
  • Horn
  • Exhaust system and emissions
  • Mirrors
  • Doors
  • Boot / tailgate and towbar

The MOT test does not check the condition of your engine, clutch, gearbox or the vehicle’s general mechanical condition. If you would like these vital components checked, you should book in for a full vehicle service.

An MOT test generally takes between 45 minutes and 1 hour to complete. If your vehicle fails its test, the failed component(s) must be repaired and the vehicle retested until a pass result is obtained.

The service

A vehicle service may not be compulsory but it’s just as important as an MOT test. As well as helping you to uphold any warranty that you may have on your vehicle, a car service will help you to further ensure the safety of your vehicle and could even save you money. A full service takes care of your whole car, including areas of wear and tear, specific parts and fluids. Most services work through a 50 plus point checklist, which checks and adjusts specific vehicle components.

The exact service you receive will depend on your vehicle’s make and model. All vehicles however will receive checks and adjustments to the following as part of their service:

  • Engine oil and filter
  • Lights
  • Tyres
  • Exhaust
  • Brakes and steering
  • Hydraulic fluid and coolant
  • Cooling system
  • Suspension
  • Battery

Here at Collison Motoring Services, we use the comprehensive Bosch Car Service Schedule to offer quality servicing across three different levels. Whether choosing our bronze, silver or gold package, you can rest assured that your car is serviced to the highest standard.

Why both are important

Your MOT test must be completed every year, and we recommend booking your car in for service annually too. Whilst your MOT test ensures that your vehicle and a set list of its components meet various legal requirements, your service will ensure your vehicle is in the best condition for the year ahead. A service gets into all the nooks and crannies that an MOT doesn’t, meaning everything from your engine to its coolant are covered.

Book in for an MOT test and service today by getting in touchwith a member of our team.


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How to Pass Your MOT Test with Flying Colours!

Flying ColoursAs a vehicle owner, it is your responsibility to ensure your vehicle has an up-to-date MOT certificate. Ministry of Transport (MOT) tests aren’t just a legal requirement, they are there to ensure that your vehicle is safe and roadworthy. The MOT is also required to ensure the emissions your vehicle emits are at a manageable level and don’t become too excessive. Your annual MOT protects the environment as well as you, your passengers and other road users.

Taking your vehicle in for an MOT can be daunting, no matter how new your vehicle is or how confident you are of its condition. Passing first time is the desired outcome, but with news that almost 50% of all vehicles fail their MOTs due to simple faultsthat could be fixed at home, passing with flying colours isn’t always a given. In this blog post, we reveal the quick checks that could see you pass your MOT test first time, every time.

Handbrake and fluid levels

The handbrake is a vital component of any vehicle. It’s quick and easy to check that your handbrake works correctly. If your vehicle rolls when the handbrake is engaged or you have to pull your handbrake up a long way, it could require adjustment.

Going under the bonnet to check fluid levels is another task that takes no time at all. Your brake fluid levels are particularly important so make sure these are as they should be. The feel of your brakes could be a vital indicator of fluid levels and/or condition. If your brakes feel spongy when pressed, there could be air in the system which must be removed via bleeding. Your fuel and engine oil should also be at the required levels for testing.

Shock absorbers and screen

Windscreen cracks or chips are another thing that should be easily remedied before you take your vehicle in for its MOT. Damage of 40mm or more in size will result in a fail as the driver’s view could be impaired. As well as the windscreen, check that the washers and wiper blades are in good condition, topping up any screenwash where necessary.

Your vehicle’s shock absorbers should also be checked. To check your absorbers, bounce each corner of your car. If the vehicle doesn’t settle after two bounces they could need replacing.

Mirrors, lights and number plates

Cracked number plates could mean MOT failure so pay special attention to those. Whilst you can still legally drive with a broken passenger side mirror, a missing driver side mirror will result in a failed MOT test. Check all mirrors (including wing and rear view) for damage, replacing and repairing where required.

Your lights are another area that is checked rigorously during the MOT test. All lights should be in working order and headlight covers should be in good repair. Replacing a bulb is easy, whilst giving working, dirty external lights a good scrub will ensure the level of visibility needed to pass. Make sure the brake lights are working too. This is not only one of the most common areas of failure, it’s also illegal to drive with a broken brake light. If pulled over by the police for this fault, you will be given a vehicle defect rectification notice, which gives you 14 days to get the fault rectified.

Seats and seatbelts

Internally your vehicle must be fully equipped for safety. The driver’s seat should be able to be adjusted, so test its movement backwards and forwards. All seatbelts fitted in your vehicle should be free from damage. Again you should test the movement of the seatbelt, which should become restricted when tugged as if the vehicle has had to brake sharply.

Tyres and wheels

The treads on your tyres should have a depth of at least 1.6mm. Any less than this and your vehicle will fail its MOT. The 20p check is an easy way to ensure you have enough tread on your tyres. Simply insert the coin into the tread with the lowest depth, if you can’t see the outer rim around the edge of the coin your tyres are safe. If you can see this rim, they will require replacement.

For further information on the essential checks your vehicle needs to pass as part of its MOT test, please read our MOT test checklist. Is your vehicle due for its MOT? You can book in onlinefor many of our motoring services, including our MOT packages.



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Transmission Problems and How to Fix Them!

engine transmissionYour vehicle’s transmission has a vital role. When you change gear, your car’s transmission works to transfer the engine’s power to the wheels to move your vehicle along. Whilst this sounds like a relatively simple and straightforward process, transmission involves the use of countless components, all of which have to work together in perfect harmony to ensure your vehicle runs smoothly. With such an essential part to play, transmission problems and failures have the potential to literally stop a vehicle in its tracks, a fact that makes being aware of the warning signs and associated issues important for any car owner.

Here at Collison Motoring Services, we provide a long list of mechanical repair services to ensure your vehicle functions well from the inside out. As a result, we understand the transmission system more than most, and know the problems that can become apparent and the solutions that will help get your vehicle on the road once more. Read on to discover the most common transmission problems affecting vehicles today and, more importantly, how to fix them.

Low or contaminated transmission fluid

Both manual and automatic transmission vehicles need specialist fluid to keep the clutches and bands that are integral to the gear change process well lubricated. Transmission fluid however doesn’t last forever. Over time or as a result of leaking or contamination, transmission fluid can become low or dirty. Both issues prevent the gears from getting as lubricated as they need to be, causing problems like grinding, overheating and slipping. Continuing to operate your vehicle with low or contaminated transmission fluid can cause complete vehicle failure in time.

The solution? Apply the right amount of clean and debris-free transmission fluid to your vehicle, it’s as simple as that! Conducting regular fluid level checks will also mean low levels, contamination and leakages can be spotted early and successfully rectified. Checking your transmission fluid once a month is recommended. How often the transmission fluid is changed however can vary from vehicle to vehicle. Some cars and vans require their transmission fluid to be changed as little as every 30,000 miles, others need it changed every 100,000 miles. New vehicles with automatic gearboxes require no fluid changes at all, unless failure strikes, with the fluid sealed within meant to last the life of the vehicle.

A worn clutch or gear synchroniser

Manual transmission relies on several components, two of which are the clutch and the gear synchronisers. Failures in either of these components can cause significant transmission problems, including total transmission failure. Wear and tear of both components can happen over time, whilst mechanical errors can be caused by hydraulic fluid leaks and even human error, if your driver is frequently changing gear without releasing the clutch.

The solution? Depending on the level of wear, your clutch or gear synchroniser may need to be replaced to get your vehicle’s transmission working smoothly again. Correcting some of the underlying issues, i.e. fixing leaks and changing driving habits, is also recommended.

Needle bearing failure

Some transmission problems are only applicable to automatic transmission systems, the most common being needle roller bearing failures. These bearings may be small and light but they have essential roles to play in preventing the grinding of gears in automatic transmission systems. As well as resulting in grinding and brushing noises emitting from your transmission system, failed needle roller bearings can stop gears from moving efficiently.

The solution? As with any transmission problem, spotting the warning signs early and acting fast is important. Keep an ear out for grinding noises when your vehicle is in motion and don’t put off seeking professional help.

If the transmission fluid in your vehicle has changed colour or condition, fluid levels are low, you spot signs of a leak, your transmission is slipping or your transmission is overheating, it’s time to call our specialist teamfor help.



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How to Change a Car Lightbulb Easily

Car light bulbsWinter is well underway, which means less favourable weather conditions are now a reality for most parts of the country. Team this with the shorter days, and conditions become even more difficult to handle for the average person. With the dark nights and poor weather, now couldn’t be a better time for vehicle owners to think about their visibility, with your car’s lighting and wiping systems vital parts of the equation.

Whilst vehicle lighting concerns more than just your headlamps, making sure you’re lighting the way with some high quality, fully working car lightbulbs is crucial. Cue our guide to changing a car lightbulb easily! Read on to discover the essential steps you should take to see and be seen on the roads this winter.

Why is good car lighting important?

Just how well your vehicle’s headlights light up the road in front of you isn’t just a matter of aiding your visibility and alerting your fellow drivers and pedestrians of your presence. Great visibility courtesy of well-maintained headlights, significantly cuts the risk of being involved in a road traffic accident. According to RoSPA, 40% of road traffic accidents happen at night when vision is reduced and hazards are more difficult to spot.

Good vehicle lighting ensures you gain a clearer view of the road, whether you’re driving at night or during the day in poor winter weather conditions like rain, fog or snow.

How often do bulbs need changing?

Just as your car will age, so too will the bulbs in your headlamps. Lighting technology has progressed significantly in recent years, with the ultra-bright LEDs featured on the latest makes and models of vehicle providing optimum performance and visibility whatever the weather. With development, car lightbulbs are now lasting much longer but they’ll still need replacing. The average tungsten-halogen car headlight lasts between 500 and 1,000 hours. Xenon headlights last ten times longer, averaging around 10,000 hours. LED headlights provide the best performance with an average lifespan of 30,000 hours. The service life of your car’s lightbulbs however can be influenced by a number of factors.

The most obvious sign that replacement is required is of course a failed bulb. You should however keep an eye out for bad or failing headlight bulbs to ensure you don’t get caught out when you need great lighting the most. It is also an offence to drive without a fully functioning set of headlights. Offending drivers will be pulled over by the police, handed a vehicle defect rectification notice and given up to 14 days to sort the problem. After repair, proof in the form of a repaired vehicle or a receipt for the work must be presented to the police. Replacing bulbs that are on their way out is recommended. If your headlight bulbs are dim or flickering bulb replacement could be imminent.

Can I change my car lightbulbs myself?

The quick answer to this is – yes! Whilst gaining access to your headlight bulbs can be tricky, changing your car’s lightbulbs is something that you can do at home. The process takes as little as five minutes and all you need is the right replacement bulb to get the job done. You can follow our step-by-step guide below or consult your vehicle handbook for instructions on changing the bulb:

  1. Before you begin make sure your vehicle’s engine is switched off. Open your car bonnet to locate the back of the headlight housing.
  2. Remove the cover of the headlight housing to gain access to the blown bulb. You may need to twist the connector or release a lever to remove the cover.
  3. Remove the blown bulb by hand before replacing it with the new bulb. When doing so, make sure any oily residue from the old bulb doesn’t come into contact with your skin and/or transfer onto the glass of the new bulb. Once lit, any oil will heat up and damage the glass of the new bulb.
  4. Check that the new bulb is installed securely before applying the cover of the headlight housing and checking that the bulb works correctly.

Make sure you select the right replacement bulb. Most vehicle handbooks offer details on the type of replacement car lightbulb you require.

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Why is My Car Overheating in Winter?

engine overheatingWith winter here to stay for a few months, you may think that your vehicle overheating problems are over for one season. Car overheating is synonymous with the summer season, but even when there is no warmth, your vehicle is susceptible to overheating issues. Getting your car ready for winter and keeping the issues that could result in vehicle failure at bay is of course important, there is after all no worse time to breakdown.

Overheating is an issue that’s just as common during winter as it is in the summer, but you can prevent this problem or at least spot the signs of overheating early to ensure it doesn’t slow you down this holiday season.

The reason for overheating in winter

With the majority of vehicles utilising internal combustion engines, even extreme cold won’t prevent overheating problems. Engines produce heat all on their own using friction and combustion, meaning they need very little help from the weather conditions outside to overheat.

Friction in particular, caused by your engine’s internal components interacting at speed, and combustion produced by the compression of both fuel and air both produce energy, energy that can cause temperatures to rise beyond what your engine can cope with. Your vehicle’s cooling system is charged with keeping your engine’s temperature successfully regulated, whether overheating occurs during the hot summer months or cool winter season. If faults arise within this cooling system, as they commonly do without the right maintenance or repair, your engine cannot be sufficiently cooled.

Coolant leaks and blocked thermostats are particularly common and will result in overheating without repair. Low coolant levels and cooling fan failures are other culprits of overheating.

The signs of overheating

Knowing the signs that your vehicle is overheating is important. If you spot the following signs you should avoid driving your vehicle until the underlying issue is fixed. If you are on the road already and symptoms of overheating become apparent, it is advisable that you pull over, turn the engine off and call for professional help. Driving a vehicle that is overheating for a prolonged period can result in difficult and expensive to repair damage to the engine and associated components.

Your vehicle is likely to be overheating if:

  • Steam or water vapour is rising from its bonnet
  • An unusual odour is being emitted from its engine
  • Your temperature gauge is reporting a figure above the normal limit.

How to prevent overheating this winter

There are many steps you can take to prevent overheating and other winter vehicle problems. Whilst the season is well underway, it’s never too late to complete the driving checks and maintenance musts that prevent issues like overheating. Checking your vehicle’s coolant level and ensuring it’s topped up if it is on the low side is vital in preventing your engine from freezing or overheating. Even sealed systems that shouldn’t need topping up regularly should be checked, particularly if you plan to take on a longer journey. Always check coolant levels when the engine is cold. If they need topping up, make sure you select the right coolant for your make and model of vehicle. Your handbook should provide all the details you need regarding the right coolant for your car.

To prevent overheating look out for other potential issues that could affect the success of your vehicle’s cooling system. As well as your vehicle’s coolant levels, the condition of the coolant can tell you a lot about its effectiveness, with dirty coolant often the sign of underlying issues. As part of your checks you should also note the condition of your cooling system’s hoses and thermostat, and check for signs of leaks.

Checking your cooling fans is another recommendation. This should be completed regularly to ensure both the fan and temperature sensor are in good working order. To check your cooling fans set the car heater to cold, run the car then allow it to stand idle for five minutes. Your cooling fans should begin automatically to reduce the temperature of your engine so make sure you keep an eye on your gauge. If your cooling fan doesn’t cut in or fails to bring the temperature down at an effective rate, you could have a problem with the fan, its wiring or the temperature sensor.

Do you suspect that your vehicle has an overheating problem? Don’t delay, let our servicing and repair specialists give it the once over. Contact ustoday to discuss your requirements or book an appointment online.

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How to Clean the Underside of My Car

As the saying goes “cleanliness is next to godliness”, and with a recent study showing that British drivers spend an awful lot of time in their vehicles – 32 hours of every year is spent stuck in traffic! – it’s not just your home that should be kept clean. The cleanliness of your car is important, particularly during the winter months where your car faces some tough challenges on the road due to adverse weather conditions, excess road debris and surface salts.

All year round a clean car can unlock a number of advantages for the owner, retaining the value of the vehicle, protecting its paintwork and ensuring a good driving experience in a vehicle you’re proud to be seen driving. Vehicle safety is also improved with regular car cleaning. Thanks to valeting, your windscreen, mirrors and lights can all be kept free from dirt, ensuring your vehicle is not only more visible to other drivers and pedestrians but visibility is enhanced for you as a driver. It’s not just the parts of your vehicle that you can see that need to be kept in tip top condition however.

The underside of your vehicle should be clean and debris-free to keep harmful contaminants and dirt at bay. Without the right maintenance and cleaning the underside of your vehicle in particular can accumulate dirt and debris that prevents the vital components within from operating as they should do. Here are our top tips for cleaning the underside of your car and keeping the underbody of your vehicle just as pristine as the rest of your ride.

To jack or not to jack?

The decision to jack or raise your vehicle for underside cleaning is entirely up to you. Many people choose to clean without a jack with modern day cleaning apparatus and products providing all the power you need to clean to a good standard. Underbody lances can also be used to target those difficult to reach places on the underside of your car.

Those who can’t fit under their vehicles may want to lift their cars with steady jacks, particularly if you are looking to achieve detail clean quality.

Choose your time

When you clean the underside of your vehicle is just as important as how. Cleaning your vehicle underside should be reserved for cooler weather conditions. Cleaning in warmer weather is not a great idea, as the products you use will dry to the surface of your underbody and various components quickly, making them more difficult to remove. Before cleaning you should also allow your vehicle to cool as excess heat from components will have the same effect as cleaning the underbody in hot weather.

Select your products

The right products and cleaning equipment will make all the difference for drivers wishing to clean their vehicle undersides to perfection. Products that are intended for use on heavily soiled, exterior areas are the ideal choice. Degreasers, traffic film removers and heavy duty all-purpose cleaners all do a great job too. The cleaning products you choose should be applied generously to the underside of the car, many also require time to do their magic before being rinsed away.

Rinse off thoroughly

After waiting the recommended time for the product to set, all product should be rinsed thoroughly and at high pressure. Many choose to follow up this rinse with a specialist foaming product to clean the tighter and more awkward areas of the underside. Most foaming products must be left to set for a long period of time before being washed off, so make sure you have no car journeys planned for the rest of the day.

Whether opting for a foamy finish or not, regular underbody cleaning ensures that the excess grime, grease and dirt picked up from the road can be kept under control and you can reap the rewards of a clean and debris free vehicle.

You don’t have to clean the underside of your vehicle yourself. Let us valet every part of your vehicle for you to keep it in the very best condition. We offer a number of professional valeting programmes for your perusal, contact us today for more details.

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