Why service at all?

Servicing your car means maintaining and replacing worn-out parts for your vehicle, to prevent the risk of a breakdown and a hefty bill incurred by a major component failing.

How often should you service?

Generally speaking, most cars need to be serviced once a year, or every 12 000 miles. However, there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to car servicing. In fact, every manufacturer has a recommended service schedule for its cars. But where the manufacturer’s guidelines are missing, a good mechanic will know what the best practice is for your vehicle.

Interim Service

An interim service is recommended once every 6 months, or every 6 000 miles to keep your car safe and roadworthy. And interim service will include all the essential checks, such as electrics, fluids, tyre pressure, as well as a visual brake inspection.

Full Service

A full service is ideal every 12 000 miles, or every 12 months. A full car service will reduce the risk of a breakdown and will, in the long-term, limit your expenses, as well as maintain the value of your car.

A full service covers everything included in an interim service, as well as a thorough inspection of your engine and a full brake inspection. It also involves extensive checks under the bonnet, filter replacements, fluid top-ups and adjustments to alternator belt, or auxiliary drive belt.

Major Service

A major service is the most comprehensive car service and it covers the replacement of part that become obsolete after two years. Ideally carried out every 24 months, a major service includes renewal of the cabin filters, checking the alternator charging rate, or the replacement of brake fluid (if necessary).

What happens if you don’t service your car?

Nothing. There’s no law forcing you to service your vehicle. The legal requirement is to make sure your car is roadworthy and pass the MOT test annually.

But the real costs of skipping the service schedule are much worse, and some repairs hurt more than others. For example, any type of service will check the operation of the clutch and top up of fluid (where applicable). A new clutch assembly replacement however, will cost between £200 and £1 000.

A routine check on any type of service is the inspection of spark plugs. Worn out plugs are usually replaced at a cost between £10 and £150, depending on the number of plugs and the type of vehicle.

A misfiring spark plug can lead to unburned fuel to enter the exhaust system which will damage the catalytic converter. The bill for a new “cat” can start at £300 and go up to £2 000, mainly thanks to the precious metals in it.