Vehicle Health Checks Explained

Vehicle Health Checks Explained

In this guide, we explain what vehicle health checks are, what they actually check, how they are carried out and more. 

What is a Vehicle Health Check in the UK? 

Vehicle health checks are carried out by both independent and main dealer garages, with the aim of giving the driver an interim report on the condition of their car, in addition to the normal MOT schedule.  

Vehicle health checks are a great way to keep an eye on your car’s general and mechanical condition, they are not as intensive as an MOT but do often cover a few things MOT tests do not. 

Legal Requirements In The UK for Vehicle Health Checks 

Whilst there are no legal requirements for having regular car health checks, keeping your car in a roadworthy condition is a legal requirement. With MOT tests being carried out yearly, this leaves a large period of time for an issue to develop into something dangerous. 

Differences Between MOT Testing And Vehicle Health Checks  

The primary difference between MOT tests and vehicle checks is that MOT tests are mandated by law and are required before you can legally tax a vehicle for use on the public road. They test only the systems concerned with the safety of your vehicle, such as tyres, brakes, suspension, body integrity and safety devices such as lights and wipers.  

On the other hand, vehicle health checks look at the MOT safety checks alongside others including visual engine condition, and advice on servicing. In summary, your car will not pass or fail a VHC, unlike an MOT. 

The Benefit of Vehicle Health Checks 

There are various advantages to taking your car for a regular vehicle health check. These benefits include:  

  • Avoid Potential Costly Repairs: Finding a problem early can sometimes be the difference between an easy quick fix, and an expensive repair requiring more parts 
  • They’re often free: Many garages offer vehicle health checks for free, as part of other work or servicing. 
  • Increased Resale Value: If you can present a recent vehicle health check report stating your car is in top condition, this will help secure a better price when selling 
  • Peace of mind: Having a trained professional inspect your vehicle and give it the all-clear, removes some of the worry associated with daily driving, especially if your car is a few years old 

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What's Included In A Vehicle Health Check? 

Whilst they generally don’t use the same testing equipment as an MOT, VHC covers most of the points, varying from garage to garage, the most frequently covered items are: 

What Happens During a Vehicle Health Check? 

Much like an MOT, you can book health checks both online and over the phone. Once you have arrived, the technician will take your keys and put your car on a ramp, this enables them to have a proper look underneath.  

They will then systematically check all components listed above, using various tools and techniques, to look for damage, excessive wear and any other minor issues. Some health checks will include either a road test or the use of brake rollers, but not all do.  

Whilst doing this, the technician will log any findings, these will then be presented to you via a printed report. Many garages use a traffic light system, giving each category a Red, Amber or Green verdict. If serious problems are noticed, the technician will sometimes offer to show or talk through what's needed.  

Vehicle Health Check FAQs 

How Long Do Vehicle Health Checks Take? 

A typical vehicle health check will take 20 - 30 minutes to complete, plus any time for the technician to inform or explain the findings. 

How To Prepare Your Car For a Vehicle Health Check? 

As there are no pass or fail consequences to a vehicle health check, don’t worry if you don’t have time to prepare, but if you do, we’d advise simply giving the car a clean, to make it easier on the mechanics. 

How To Arrange a Vehicle Health Check 

Simply call a local garage that offers vehicle checks, or make a booking online for a time that suits you. 

Am I Obligated To Have Work Carried Out From a Health Check? 

No, a health check is simply an advisory service, and the garage has no power to prevent your car from being driven away.  

That said, if a serious fault is pointed out and the garage advises spending money then and there, ask to be shown the problem in person, and get a second opinion if you feel pressured.  

How Much Does a Vehicle Health Check Cost? 

Often garages will do health checks on your car for free, especially alongside a service, warranty work or recall visit. If not, most health checks will cost less than £40.  

Does Your Car Need Work? Try Bumper 

Now you know all about vehicle health checks, you can cruise with the peace of mind that your car is safe and sound. If your health check raises faults, however, there’s no need to panic, Bumper offers zero-percent interest finance on car repairs. 

Find your nearest approved partner with our online tool, and spread the cost of the work over a time frame that suits you. 

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