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How Often Should You Service Your Car?

You should aim to service your car at least once a year. You can service it more frequently but an annual service is recommended and will ensure that everything’s working like it should. This will also mean that you can sort out potential issues long before they become serious problems. Servicing your car is an essential part of car maintenance.

What is a Car Service?

A car service is a trip to the garage for a routine check-up. The garage will assess your car’s overall condition while checking key areas for wear and tear, such as your brakes and your engine. Some garages might change your oil, or at least your oil filter, as part of the service.

When is My Car Service Due?

You can work out when your car service is due through a number of different methods. You can check how long it’s been since your last service, how many miles you’ve travelled since your last service, or you might be notified by your dashboard service light.

Date of your last service

First, how long has it been since your car’s last service? If it’s been more than a year, or if you can’t remember ever having serviced your car, then you should arrange one as soon as possible!

Recommended mileage

Also, read your car’s handbook. It should feature a recommended service schedule. For many cars, this will be every 10,000 miles, though some cars can go longer between services.

Service warning light

Some newer cars will even display a warning light on the dashboard to remind you that a service is due. This light might look like an engine, or a car with a spanner in it, or perhaps a simple warning sign with the words “service required.”

Other dashboard lights might indicate that a service is due. For example, the engine oil warning light, or the battery warning light, might remind you that it’s been a while since you changed your oil or your battery. You can change your oil yourself. You can also charge your car battery yourself. But if you’d rather a professional handled either of these dirty, hazardous jobs, then a warning light for either is a good sign that your car’s due a service.

Warning Signs to Watch Out For

Finally, there are certain warning signs to look out for that might indicate a growing problem with your car. For example, you might start to hear a strange noise when driving in certain conditions. Or you might start to notice more smoke billowing from the exhaust than usual. With regular servicing, mechanics will pick up these issues long before they become problematic. But if you suddenly notice something’s amiss with your car, then you should book a servicing as soon as possible.

What’s the Difference Between a car service and an MOT?

Most garages will service your car as part of your annual MOT. But a servicing and an MOT are two different things.

You have a legal obligation to get an MOT, and it’s illegal to drive without one. It’s a mandatory annual check to ensure your car’s safe and roadworthy. You have no such legal obligation to get a service, though. That’s why some people drive for years without getting a service, and why many small motoring issues grow into serious problems.

The Different Types of Car Service

Most garages offer three levels of car servicing:

  • Interim Car Service – Most garages and manufacturers recommend you get one of these every six months or so. Mechanics will check all of your car’s most essential systems, including your lights, breaks, steering, suspension and fluid levels. They might also inspect your drive belt and change your oil and oil levels.
  • Full Car Service – You should aim to get one of these every 12 months or so. Garages can complete a full service at the same time as an MOT. In addition to the checks that come with the interim car service, mechanics might also balance your wheels, replace your fuel filter, and perform more thorough checks of your engine and brakes.
  • Major Car Service – As well as all the checks that come with a full car service, mechanics might replace your brake fluid and spark plugs. They may also look at your battery. Most garages and manufacturers recommend getting a major car service every 24 months or so.

How Much Does a Car Service Cost?

It depends on the garage. But usually, an interim service will cost no less than £75, while a full service will probably set you back at least £150. If mechanics find you need any replacement parts, you’ll have to pay for these on top of the cost of the service.

Yes, car services are costly but some manufacturers and garages offer service plans which might help with affordability.  However, it’s a small price to pay to ensure your car’s running as safely and efficiently as possible. Regular servicing might save you money on repairs in the long run. Addressing an issue before it becomes a problem will certainly cost less than major repairs further down the line.

Another thing to consider: Regular servicing keeps things running smoothly, like your brakes. So it’s no exaggeration to say that car servicing can help prevent road accidents. If you’re less likely to be involved in an accident, you’re less likely to make a claim on your car insurance. So you can build up a no claims bonus.

No matter how much you pay for servicing, it’s money well spent.