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Do I need a vehicle inspection?

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 1 year ago

3 min read

  • Advice
  • tips
Mobile mechanic | Main header image

WhoCanFixMyCar looks at what vehicle inspections are, why they matter, and how much they cost

A vehicle inspection - also known as a vehicle health check - is a great way of keeping up to date with the overall health of your car’s key components, providing you with the peace of mind that comes with knowing everything is working absolutely fine.

Guide contents:

Do I really need a vehicle inspection?

What is a vehicle inspection?

How much should a vehicle inspection cost?

Other useful vehicle checks

Do I really need a vehicle inspection?

It's a good idea to book a vehicle inspection if:

  • You're buying a new car

  • You're selling your old car

  • You're going to drive your car after not using it for a long time

  • You're going to be driving a long distance

  • It's approaching winter

There's no hard and fast rule about booking a vehicle inspection, however. Sometimes it's just reassuring to know that your car is in good condition.


Before buying a new car it's important to make sure that the vehicle is in working order, otherwise you could end up facing a few nasty surprises when you get it home.

Likewise, if you're selling your current car, you might be able to get more for it and attract more buyers by proving that it has recently been through a vehicle inspection with flying colours.

Cars that haven't been used for a long time - particularly older ones - may have developed some problems through lack of use, so before getting behind the wheel it's worth checking that your vehicle is still safe to drive.

Breaking down in the middle of a long journey is the last thing you need; booking an inspection beforehand means that you can drive with confidence knowing there are no underlying issues when you set off.

Finally, winter is a harsh season that puts extra strain on our cars. Book an inspection before the bad weather hits so you know your car is ready for whatever lies ahead.

What is a vehicle inspection?

A vehicle inspection is designed to make sure your car is road worthy.

Once the vehicle check is complete the garage will generate a report which highlights the overall safety, reliability and general roadworthiness of your car. The report is generally colour coded red, amber, and green, to indicate any items that might require further attention. This allows you to make a more informed decision about any additional work that might be required on your car.

The actual vehicle inspection generally takes no more than 20 minutes, and during that time a trained mechanic will check all of the following areas while your car is in the garage:

  • Brakes

  • Electrics

  • Exhaust

  • Fluid Levels

  • Lights

  • Steering

  • Suspension

  • Tyres

How much should a vehicle inspection cost?*

Costs vary by manufacturer but the average price for a vehicle inspection is £35.58.

Average cost of a vehicle inspection

*This table uses data from quotes provided on in 2021.

Do vehicle inspections save lives?

Driving can be dangerous - that's no secret. In fact, estimates suggest that someone is killed or seriously injured on UK roads every 22 minutes.

Vehicle checks - whether carried out by you or a professional - can and do save lives. A full vehicle inspection doesn't need to be carried out all the time, but there are a number of quick checks you can perform roughly once a week that can help you spot problems before they become serious.

These include:

  • Tyres (you should visually inspect your tyres every day)

  • Fluid levels

  • Battery (no need to test your battery; simply look for signs of wear and tear/corrosion)

  • Lights

Mechanic checking tyre

Other useful vehicle checks

Here are a few other things you might want to check relating to a vehicle.

Check if my vehicle is taxed

You can check if your vehicle is taxed by visiting the government website here. All you need to do is enter the numberplate.

Check if vehicle is stolen

Thinking of buying a car but want to carry out some checks first? Follow these steps.

  • Contact the seller and request some information about the vehicle - the make, model, registration number, and MOT test number

  • Use the government's vehicle enquiry service to cross-reference the information you have been given

  • Make sure the MOT is up to date and that the history matches that which was given to you by the car's seller

The vehicle enquiry service from the DVLA provides information such as:

  • MOT expiry date

  • Tax expiry date

  • Year of manufacture

  • Year the car was first registered

  • Engine size

  • Tax band

Check if a vehicle is SORN

SORN stands for statutory off road notice, meaning that a vehicle is kept on private land and is no longer in use.

You can use the government portal to check if a car is taxed or if it has been registered as SORN.

Vehicle spec check

There are a number of online services which allow you to check a vehicle's specs. All you'll need is the registration plate number.

You can also use the government portal here, which will give you information such as engine size and colour.

If you're looking to get quotes for a vehicle inspection from reliable garages in your local area, we're here to help. Simply enter your registration number and we'll find you a range of quotes from garages to compare.

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