Regular servicing is an essential part of looking after your car and keeping it in good condition. During a service, a technician will examine your vehicle for wear and tear and replace fluids and parts where necessary.
Motorists often mistakenly think that a service is the same as or very similar to an MOT test. In fact, MOTs are completely different. They are a technical safety inspection of your car and don’t include a check of its general mechanical condition. Services are far more comprehensive, and they are designed to maintain rather than simply assess your vehicle.
If you’d like to know more about why servicing is such an important aspect of vehicle care, and get the lowdown on what to expect when you book a service, this guide will help you.
Why Should I Get My Car Serviced?
Regular servicing helps to ensure that any issues with your car are spotted before they develop into more serious problems, meaning you’re less likely to face big repair bills further down the line. This can give you added peace of mind and help to protect your finances. It also means you’re at a lower risk of vehicle breakdowns, which let’s face it can be inconvenient and potentially costly if you need to arrange a replacement car or rely on public transport until your vehicle is fixed.
Servicing also helps to keep your car running as efficiently as possible, helping you to save money on fuel. Regularly changed air filters and refreshed oil allows the engine to run more smoothly, helping you to get more miles per gallon.
In addition, maintaining a regular service history for your vehicle will help to increase its value if you come to sell it. This is because buyers like to know they are getting a car that has been well looked after.
What Is Included In A Car Service?
The checks carried out on your car will depend on the type of service you book. The two most common options are interim services and full services.
In an interim service, you can expect a full wheel-off brake inspection, engine oil replacement and oil filter replacement. Your car’s fluid levels will also be checked and topped up, and a full range of vehicle safety checks will be carried out. From your windscreen wipers and seatbelts to your brake pipes and battery, this service will involve an in-depth look at a wide range of features and components.
A full service includes all of this plus a range of other checks. For example, it can include the replacement of air filters and fuel filters (for diesel engines).
Whether you get an interim or a full service, your log book will be stamped so that you have a record of the work.
How Long Does A Car Service Take?
How long it takes to complete your car service will depend on a range of factors, including the type of service you select and the model of vehicle you have. Typically, full services can be carried out within around three hours, and interim services are quicker. However, if problems are found that mean extra work is needed, services can take longer.
How Much Does A Car Service Cost?
The cost of your car service will also be affected by a number of factors, including the type of service you go for. For example, if you’re asking the question ‘how much does a full car service cost?’, the answer is usually anything from around £125. However, this doesn’t include the cost of new parts and repairs.
How Often Should I Service My Car?
In terms of when to service a car, it’s recommended that you get a full check carried out every 12,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first. Some cars now have a self-diagnostic system that advises when a service is due. If you wish to take advantage of interim services, they are recommended every six months or 6,000 miles, whichever comes first.
However, don’t wait until your next service is due to visit a technician if you spot warning signs that something is wrong with your car. For example, if warning lights appear on your dashboard, make sure you get the problem checked out. Ignoring these warnings could mean a fault with your car continues to get worse; it could even put your safety and the safety of other road users at risk.
Be on the alert for other indications of problems too, such as strange noises coming from your exhaust, brakes, gears or under the bonnet. If you spot smoke or steam rising from the bonnet, this is a sure sign that something’s wrong. You should also arrange to get your car looked at if it starts pulling or vibrating when you press the brakes.
What Do I Need To Service My Car?
Before you go to get your car serviced, there are a few things that you can do to prepare. For example, it’s a good idea to empty your boot. This is because the technicians will inspect the condition of your spare tyre, which is typically located in the boot.
You should also find your alloy wheel keys or locking nuts and take them with you to the service. This is so that the technicians can remove your wheels to inspect your suspension and steering systems. Take your service book too so that the technicians can check when your vehicle last had certain things replaced, such as the brake fluid.