Having your car servicing is one of those unavoidable motoring expenses, like filling the tank with fuel, or booking the car in for its annual MOT. It’s easy to slip into a routine of just booking your car into the same garage at the same time of year for the same type of Car Servicing, but is this really the best way of keeping your car in the best condition possible?
Don’t just assume that your car needs a complete overhaul every year. Modern cars are often designed to go for longer between service intervals and often the requirement is based on mileage rather than the length of time.
Manufacturers will clearly state how often your car needs to be serviced in the handbook which comes with the car, or you can look up the information online. Some cars also have a notification on the dashboard which will tell you how long there is before the next service is due.
As well as different lengths of time between services, there are also different types of service. Usually, these are split into “major” and “full” services. Most cars need a major service every 2 years or after 25,000 miles. The other service is usually the type that is completed annually and will include a check-up into the car’s general health.
What are Checked and Changed?
The servicing of your car can be split into two main activities – changing and checking. First, the mechanic will change the oil and air filter, top up your windscreen fluid, change the car’s oil and replace a pollen filter if necessary. Once that’s been done, they’ll move onto a thorough check of the workings of the vehicle. It’s estimated that routine servicing covers about 80% of the same ground as the MOT check.
The mechanic will look at everything from brakes to horn and windscreen wipers, making notes about the condition of anything which raises concerns. As a service isn’t a legal requirement, you are free to choose when to get the work down.
However, take the advice of the mechanic about any aspects of the car which might result in a failure of the MOT, or might make your car dangerous.
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How much Does Car Servicing Cost?
Again, the cost will very much depend on the type of car and the cost of replacement filters and oil. Surveys find that premium brands such as BMW and Mercedes are usually at the top of the cost charts.
The average cost of basic Car Servicing is around £125, but this is just a starting point. If your car requires work, you’ll have to negotiate the price for the repairs separately.
Many drivers stick to the main dealership for the brand of their car for their servicing, but this is usually a fairly pricey option.
If your car is under warranty, there may be more restrictions on where you have your car serviced and what replacement parts are used. Out of warranty though, and the choice is yours.
Sometimes, the large chain garages and service centers will give you a better deal if you are prepared to have your MOT done at the same time as the service. Sign up for their email newsletters. They may send you offers for cheap servicing or MOT tests at quieter times of the week.
The other option is to have your car serviced by the local independent garage. You’re more likely to get personalized service, but the price isn’t necessarily any cheaper than you get from the large chains.
Wherever you get your car serviced, remember to ask the mechanic to stamp the service book.