Car servicing is important for so many reasons. Not only does it save you time and money on any big issues your car may have, but it could also save your life by identifying the issues early on. It’s important, but what’s involved in a car service, and why is it needed if you’ve already had an MOT? We’ve got the answers for you!
What is a car service?
A regular car service checks the condition of your car. It can assess everything from general wear and tear to fluids, brakes, the engine, and more. Each service is different depending on your vehicle’s make and model.
What does a full car service include?
A car service can involve up to 50 or more components, systems checks and adjustments including:
- An engine oil change and/or filter replacement
- Checking lights, tyres, exhaust and operations of brakes and steering
- Ensuring your engine is ‘tuned’ to run in its peak condition
- Checking hydraulic fluid and coolant levels
- Checking the cooling system (from radiators in your car to pumps and hoses)
- Suspension checks
- Steering alignment
- Testing the car’s battery condition
How much does a full car service cost?
The average cost for a full car service is £125 - but this will vary from different providers and is different up and down the country. It's a good idea to shop around when it comes to booking in a full car service as you may be able to get it cheaper. Remeber, the cost of the service does not include any repairs or replacements of new parts - these will be charged separately.
Why should I have my car serviced?
1. It's not the same as a MOT
But I've just had an MOT, why do I need to have my car serviced too?!" Many drivers feel this way, especially with all the other outgoings. But servicing is actually completely different to an MOT. An MOT is an annual technical inspection for safety - it's not designed to replace or repair worn vehicle components. A full service ensures wear and tear is taken care of, while an MOT won't.
2. Pay now, save later
Taking care and dealing with the smaller issues at an early stage will save you money in the long run. Although you would be paying in the present, it could be much more expensive if you let the issue get worse, and become a bigger problem to repair or replace. For example, oil left unchanged can break the engine which would result in a costly fee compared to a simple oil check up.
3. Save money on fuel
A healthy car tends to be more affordable to run. With its engine and components running at their most effective level, your car is likely to be more fuel efficient, saving you cash at the petrol pump!
4. Car lifespan
A car that's been taken care of will have a longer life expectancy, saving you from forking out on a new motor any time soon
5. Do you want to sell your car?
Having a full and thorough service history will allow you to ask for a better price when it comes to selling your car.
6. It will help with your insurance
If you have an accident and your car isn't repairable and needs to be replaced, your insurer may use your car's service history to estimate its pre-accident value. Having a full service history could improve its valuation figure.
How long does a full car service take?
It’s best to ask the garage that’s servicing your car how long they need it for, but here’s a guide, depending on the type of service you've booked:
An interim service is a less extensive service that checks over the main parts of your car, and it should be carried out every 6 months or every 6,000 miles. This takes around 1.5 hours to complete the service.
A full service is a complete check of the whole car, which should be carried out annually or every 12,000 miles. This service can take around 3 hours to complete.
How often should I have my car serviced?
How often you should have your car serviced depends on several factors, including:
1. The age of your car
2. The make and model of your car
3. How it is used (rural roads, motorway driving etc)
4. How many miles you do
Have a look at your car's manual, which should tell you how often the manufacturer recommends servicing. If you have a newer car, you may get a service reminder on your dashboard.
You can’t do a service yourself
Lots of modern cars are computerised and complex and most car owners simply don’t have the tools or skills to complete a service safely and effectively. Electronic control units and fuel injections have made cars easier to tune up and keep in good shape, but this can only be done with the right computer equipment and software. To ensure the job is done right, it's best to trust the skills and experience of a good mechanic.
You may be risking your life!
There are numerous checks that we should make as car owners. But, hands up – not everyone check their tyres before every motorway journey. We tend to rely on our cars without thinking, and often get lazy when it comes to safety checks and maintenance. An MOT only happens once every 12 months - that's a long time to let unseen problems bubble under, potentially resulting in a dangerous incident. Safety is a major reason to have your car regularly serviced between MOTs – although it shouldn’t replace regular maintenance checks such as oil, coolant and tyres.
It's recommended that every vehicle is serviced at least once between MOTs. If you own an older vehicle or rack up a high mileage over the year then you may need more regular servicing.