What is a car service?

Servicing your vehicle is so important for many reasons, it will replace serviceable items in an orderly way as stipulated by the manufacturer of the car, which is why every service is different depending on the make and model, it also identifies issues early on before they become more of an issue. Ask any dentist and they will tell you that going to the dentist at regular intervals will save you pain and a lot of money, and the same is true with going to a reputable garage

One question I have been asked in the past is, why do I need a service if I have my MOT done every year?

An Mot is not the same as a service they address completely different things, an MOT is an annual (mainly visual) inspection for roadworthiness and safety for the ministry or transport ensuring your car is fit to be on the road (on an MOT inspection we don’t remove any parts of the vehicle like wheels) it will not repair or replace worn out filters and other components.

What is a car service?

When your car is serviced the garage will check the condition of your car, it will assess the general wear and tear in many areas while also checking the levels of all fluids and at intervals replacing parts and fluids, the timing of these replacements are laid down in the recommended schedule set by the manufacturer to maintain your vehicle in good running order (most reputable garages now provide a calendared ongoing maintenance list e.g. your tyres will need replacing in 4 months).

What does a full service include?

As above services vary by model and manufacturer, some vehicles will follow a three-year cycle of minor service, interim service and major service, where some manufacturers have smoothed the three-year cycle out to have a minor service followed by two years of interim style services spreading the replacement of parts across these to spread the cost, so it would be difficult to predict what needs doing without the make a model, but a typical major service for a petrol engine car could include

  • A replacement oil filter and new oil.
  • Checking of all Hydraulic fluids and coolant levels.
  • Checking correct operation of all lights
  • Ensuring the engine and gearbox are running correctly
  • Inspect all steering components
  • Take the wheels off to inspect all brakes
  • Inspect all wheels and tyres for damage wear and pressure
  • Test and check battery condition
  • Inspect the underside of the car for damage and wear
  • Inspect cooling system for leaks and operation
  • Replace air filter and pollen filters
  • Inspect suspension for leaks, corrosion and wear.
  • Replace fuel filters where appropriate
  • Replace spark plugs

This list will not be the full check as there will typically be over 50 items to check off before major service is complete.

Why should I service my car?

A way of looking at the service of your car is three-fold,

  1. it keeps the car in order and tip-top condition for you to enjoy.
  2. Dealing with smaller issues early could save you a lot of money in the long run as you could prevent major issues, for example not changing the oil regularly can lead to issues further on the cars life, engines have veins in them to direct oil to the correct places it needs lubrication if the oil gets old and dirty sludge can build up and block these veins leading to extra wear in the engine and causing damage.
  3. There are examples where not replacing an air filter or in a diesel a fuel filter, it will affect the fuel consumption of your car.

How is a service schedule calculated?

Not an easy one this one the manufacturer will work out the length of time or mileage a part will last or be in good service condition for, worth bearing in mind here that this is if there own parts are used and not copy parts, you may be familiar with the term “buy cheap buy twice” so be aware of the parts you are buying the same with the oil going into your engine.


Does servicing my car affect its value?

If you were buying a 5-year-old car what would you be looking for? Alongside it being the right car for you and its condition you can see, you would want to know how the car had been maintained a healthy-looking service history will not just give you the peace of mind the car has been maintained but will give you some insight into how the previous owner has treated the vehicle.

Also, a steady record of the mileage in the service history adds to its provenance.

So a 5-year-old car or any age car will always attract more money with a good service history than one that has none or patchy history.

Will servicing save me money in the long run?

  • If your air filter is getting blocked it’s the equivalent of gasping for air if we can’t get enough air we are not as efficient as we can be the same goes for your car,
  • if a fuel filter is getting blocked up the car will not get enough fuel so will not perform to its best.
  • If the oil is old and dirty and turning to sludge the engine will have a hard time pumping it around itself and will not work efficiently.

So yes you could be spending more at the pump as your car is not healthy and at its best.

How long does a service take?

There is a lot to take into consideration with time when a manufacturer brings out a model and a recommended service schedule this will be assessed in the UK by an independent institute to put a time next to each service and replacement time referred to as a “book time” in the industry and not all garages will use book times so for example

Garage 1 (manufacturer repairer)

The book time will typically be between half an hour for a minor service and anywhere up to 2 hours for a major service.

Garage 2 (independent garage or solo mechanic)

They may not use book times and have set prices for certain services of their own, or look at what time they will have to spend getting ready and carrying out the service.

If you want to understand more about service times vs cost see this article (link to how much does car servicing cost)


Mot keeps you legal

Servicing keeps you safe and your car healthy.


What is a car service?
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