How often should I have my car serviced?

When you see the service light appear on your dashboard, are you tempted to ignore it? We all lead busy lives, and it can be inconvenient to be without transport for even a day. Some of us put off car servicing and assure ourselves we’ll get around to it sometime soon.

But a car is an extremely complex piece of machinery, and having it serviced regularly is essential if you want to remain safe on the road. If you haven’t had your car serviced for a while, or you are due to have your first service, here’s why it matters, and what to expect from car servicing.

Why a car requires servicing

A service is basically a health check for your car, performed by an experienced professional mechanic. They will check that all the important components of your car are working as they should. They will also examine the levels of engine oil and other car fluids, and change these as and when necessary.If everything is in good working order, you can drive away from your service with complete peace of mind. If the mechanics identify problems, they will advise you on what needs to be done to fix them, ensuring your car is made safe for you and your passengers.

Obviously, safety is the most crucial reason to have your car serviced regularly. However, there are financial benefits, too. Identifying problems early means you can have them rectified before they become much more expensive to fix. In addition, if you choose to sell your car, it will be worth more if it comes with a full service history.

Types of servicing

There are three types of service which you can have for your car. The appropriate type of service for you will depend on a number of factors, including what type of car you drive, where you drive it and how many kilometres you cover, among other considerations. Your mechanic will recommend one of the following:

  • General service. This is the most common type of car servicing and is sometimes known as a basic service or a minor service. Your car will be thoroughly inspected for any signs of damage, and your engine oil and fluids will be checked.
  • Interim service. This is recommended between general services if you regularly drive your car under challenging conditions, such as driving at high speeds, stop-start driving in city traffic, or towing a caravan or trailer.
  • Full service. This is the most thorough type of service, also referred to as a major service. In addition to the areas covered by a general service, every element of your car is checked, including the steering, exhaust, tyres and suspension.
When to service

Cars differ significantly from each other, so the type of car you drive will have an impact on how often you should have it serviced. You should check your owner’s manual, as this will state the minimum and maximum service intervals recommended by your manufacturer.

As a general guideline, most relatively new cars should be serviced every six months or 10,000km, whichever comes first. However, if your car is older, or you regularly drive in difficult conditions, it can be worth having an interim service every three months or 5,000km.

What happens if you don’t service your car

Regular car servicing is essential if you want your car to keep running safely and efficiently. Cars can develop a wide variety of problems which can often only be identified by an experienced mechanic.

Many common problems come from not having your engine oil and other car fluids changed regularly enough. Engine oil deteriorates over time, and failure to change it can increase wear on the engine’s components. This can reduce the fuel economy and performance of your car, and ultimately lead to dangerous mechanical failures. Your brake fluid also needs to be checked and replaced regularly to keep your brakes operating as they should.

What’s more, if you drive a relatively new car, you might invalidate your warranty if you do not follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on servicing.

Find out more about car servicing

If you would like more advice about car servicing, the experienced team here at Autospark are always happy to help. Check out our locations offering mechanical car servicing and give us a call today.