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Vehicle health check

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Compare car health check costs and garages

Vehicle health check

What is a vehicle health check?

A vehicle health check is also known as a visual health check. It’s a visual inspection of your car which is often carried out by a garage or mechanic alongside a service or repair. Vehicle health checks are a useful extra that can be carried out alongside your service or in between services, for that extra bit of security.

After looking at your car, a mechanic will usually give you an idea about your car’s health and let you know whether they recommend any repairs or maintenance work. The mechanic will usually score each component that they check based on a traffic light system. Each part can be categorised as one of the following.

  • Green: Safe and doesn’t need any work.

  • Amber: Work is recommended but is not urgent.

  • Red: Unsafe and needs urgent attention.

Vehicle health check average costs and prices

A vehicle health check is often done free of charge while another service or repair is being carried out on your car. However, if you want to take your car in especially for a checkup, you may be charged, especially if no repair work is needed. The average cost of a vehicle health check booked on WhoCanFixMyCar is £39.29.

This price can vary a little depending on your car make and model. You can get a more specific idea of how much you can expect to pay for a range of popular car makes below.

Car MakeAverage Price
Audi£41.83
BMW£39.20
Citroen£36.78
Ford£38.17
Mercedes£37.36
MINI£44.50
Nissan£36.74
Peugeot£37.98
Renault£42.99
Toyota£44.60
Vauxhall£41.33
Volkswagen£44.38

What does a vehicle health check include?

A vehicle health check will usually include checks on the parts of your car that can be inspected visually. This includes your car’s:

  • Bodywork

  • Brakes (specifically the brake and disc pad thickness)

  • Electricals

  • Exhaust

  • Fluid levels

  • Lights

  • Steering

  • Suspension

  • Tyres (specifically the tyre tread thickness)

This is much less detailed than the other kinds of checkups you can get on your car. A full service is a much more thorough inspection of your car that involves more than 60 different checks. It’s recommended that you get a full service every 12 months or 12,000 miles to spot any issues that could turn into bigger problems later down the line. 

Meanwhile, an interim service involves around 30 checks and takes place around six months after a full service for cars that frequently cover a lot of mileage. And an MOT is a test of your vehicle’s safety that all cars legally need to get every year.

A vehicle health check doesn’t replace any of these other checks. Instead, it’s an ad hoc service that you can get while your car is at the garage for other purposes, or if you notice something strange but you’re not sure what it is.

  • Vehicle health check

    The average cost of a vehicle health check booked on WhoCanFixMyCar is £39.29. A vehicle health check is a visual check of your car's components in-between the major service intervals. During a vehicle health check, a mechanic will check the different oils and fluids in your car to make sure they’re topped up and doing their job correctly.

    Can include
    • Visual inspection
    • Fluid and oil check
    • Car fluid top-ups
    • Repair recommendation
  • Full service

    The average cost of a full service booked on WhoCanFixMyCar is £175.95. A full service involves up to 67 different checks of the efficiency and performance of your car and its components, followed by a recommendation of any repairs. It usually takes between 3-5 hours and should be carried out once per year. A full service will include checks and top-ups of the different oils and fluids your car needs including engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, engine coolant, and power steering fluid.

    Can include
    • Vehicle inspection
    • Component and system testing
    • Oil and fluid top-ups
    • Repair recommendations
  • Interim service

    The average cost of an interim service booked on WhoCanFixMyCar is £113. An interim service is recommended for cars that are driven a lot. It generally takes place 6 months after your full service or after every 6,000 miles - whichever comes first. An interim service consists of around 30+ different checks on your vehicle's condition.

    Can include
    • 30+ checks
    • Fluid top-ups
    • New engine oil and filter

Why get a vehicle health check?

A vehicle health check is a good way to give your vehicle a once over to make sure that nothing obvious needs to be repaired or replaced. It will normally only take a mechanic between 15 and 30 minutes to carry out, so it’s a quick and easy way to give yourself peace of mind that your car is in good condition and has had all the work it needs.

It’s also a great chance to spot any small issues with your car that could become bigger issues if they’re left unfixed. This way, you’ll often be able to save money in the long run by nipping any problems in the bud nice and early.

When do I need to book a vehicle health check?

Vehicle health checks aren’t a legal requirement and there’s no recommended timeframe for getting one. Often, garages will carry out a vehicle health check on your car for free whenever you bring it into the garage, for instance, while it’s getting its annual service, MOT or another repair.

That said, vehicle health checks can also allow you to get your car examined if something doesn’t quite feel right but you can’t put your finger on the problem. In this case, asking a mechanic to carry out a vehicle health check could clarify whether there is indeed a problem with your car, and if so, what repairs are needed.

Some garages also offer vehicle health checks that are specific to the changing seasons. For instance, a winter vehicle health check can help you make sure that your vehicle is well-prepared for the cold weather and darker evenings, while a spring vehicle health check can highlight any issues that have been caused by those challenging winter conditions.

What impacts the cost of a car health check?

As we’ve mentioned before, vehicle health checks are often free, especially if your car is already at the garage for another service. That said, different garages operate in different ways and what you end up paying could depend on a few factors like:

  • The make and model of your car

  • Whether your car is having other work carried out

  • Your location

The main thing that will affect the cost of your car health check, however, is whether any repairs are needed – and, if so, which ones. Your vehicle health check could throw up some major problems with your car and, if it does, you can usually pay to get them fixed there and then.

Find garages near you for a vehicle health check

Most garages near you will be happy to carry out a vehicle health check on your car. To make sure you’re getting the best service for the best price, we’d recommend getting quotes from a few different garages and comparing reviews. 

If you have a lease car or your car is under warranty, you may need to get any repairs that are uncovered carried out at a specific garage or dealership. However, it will normally be cheaper to use an independent garage, and to get the same garage to carry out both your health check and any repairs.

Get your car checkup at home

A vehicle health check can easily be carried out at your home by a mobile mechanic. Getting a mechanic to come to your home to carry out your vehicle health check can save you the hassle of dropping your car off at a garage.

Mobile mechanics are often cheaper than garages as they don’t have the overheads associated with working from a fixed location. However, they may be more reluctant to give you a free vehicle health check if no repairs are needed, as travelling out to you will take time and use fuel.

How often do you need a vehicle health check?

There’s no recommended timeframe for a vehicle health check. However, it can be useful to book one if your car feels unusual when you’re driving it or you want to check its condition between seasons.

Does a vehicle health check fall under warranty?

No. Warranties don’t usually cover routine or maintenance work and will generally only cover the costs if something goes wrong with your car. However, as vehicle health checks are often free, this most likely won’t be a problem!

Do I need to book a health check for a leased car?

Not specifically, but it is your responsibility to keep your leased car healthy. So, a vehicle health check could be useful to uncover any issues with the car that you need to fix.

How much is a car checkup?

The average cost of a vehicle health check on WhoCanFixMyCar is £42.05 but many garages will offer them free of charge.

Is a car health check the same as a service?

No. A car health check is simply a visual inspection of your car’s components. On the other hand, a service is a much more detailed inspection of your car’s performance that involves more than 60 checks.

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