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Everything you need to know before your next car service

Kwik Fit | Tuesday 10th October 2017 11:08am

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Taking your car for a service can be a tense undertaking, especially for new drivers or those with older cars. While regular services are vitally important if you want to ensure that your car is safe to drive and is performing as efficiently as possible, they can also be costly if you find your vehicle is in need of a lot of work. On top of this, unless you happen to be relatively knowledgeable about cars, you may not know which types of maintenance work and repairs require specialist skills and understanding and which jobs you could safely learn to do yourself. 

Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate the potentially high costs involved when taking your car for its services, and by taking certain steps ahead of time, you may be able to reduce the costs associated with keeping your car in shape.

Don't leave it too long

Regular services are not mandatory for vehicles. Unlike an MOT, which is a legal requirement and something that can be passed or failed, a service is merely recommended. For many drivers, the only time they will consider a service will be just before their MOT, and while a car cannot fail a service, it can be a costly endeavour if small problems have been left to get worse over a long period of time. Additionally, after your service you could choose to ignore all the advice given by your service technician but this will almost certainly shorten the lifespan of the vehicle and maybe even put your safety risk.

If you donít use your car very often or drive long distances, an annual check up may be all that is needed, but if you clock up the miles quickly, it might be worth getting your car serviced more regularly. Itís advisable to book a full service once a year or every 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. You might also benefit from booking interim services. We recommend having these checks, which help to keep your car roadworthy and safe between full services, every six months or 6,000 miles. Theyíre especially useful if you use your car for a lot of short journeys around town or if you have a high mileage and want added peace of mind that everythingís in good working order between its annual checks. 

Certain problems can be easily and quickly fixed if they are caught early enough. Leaving them to get worse could instead leave a massive dent in your finances and put you and other road users at risk in between services.

What do you need to bring when your car is serviced?

Before you set off to get your car serviced, there are a couple of things you should make sure are in the car. Firstly, be sure to take along the vehicle log book so the technician can stamp this once the service is complete. A stamp in your log book each time you have you vehicle serviced shows potential new owners that the car has been looked after and increases its resell value. The second thing you should bring, especially if having a full service, is your locking wheel nut key. This will allow the technician to remove your wheels and check the braking system thoroughly. You may not need the locking wheel nut key if your service only includes a visual brake check but it's a good idea to make sure it's in the glove box anyway in case you ever get a puncture and need to remove the tyre.

Learn some simple maintenance

Learning some simple fixes and maintenance techniques could allow you to do some of the more simple tasks yourself and save you a significant amount of money in the process. This could prevent you from needing major and costly repairs further down the line. 

You donít need to be a mechanical whizz to keep your car in decent shape. Keeping an eye on oil levels, screenwash levels and tyre pressures, and checking and changing air filters are things that anyone can do with a little knowhow. By consulting your carís manual or even watching short tutorials online, you will be able to quickly familiarise yourself with everything from where and how to check and top up your oil, to exactly what pressure each tyre should be and when you should check your tyre pressure (on a flat surface, when your tyres are cold). 

It is also wise to keep an eye on your tyres by checking them every couple of weeks to make sure they are still roadworthy. If your tyres are dangerously worn or have a tread depth below the legally required limit of 1.6mm, youíll need to change them as quickly as possible. If you leave them, you risk a fine of £2,500 and three penalty points on your licence for each tyre that falls below this standard. Bear in mind that if you go into a service with worn tyres, youíll need to factor in the extra cost of having them replaced.

Talk to the technician

Whenever you take your vehicle in for a service, be sure to let the technicians who will do the checks know what you expect. Most service centres offer a variety of service packages and itís important that you make it clear what sort of checks you are looking for. This will help ensure you know exactly how much the service will cost and what tests will be carried out.

Also, when leaving your car with any service centre, ensure the technicians are aware if you would like to be consulted before any repair work is carried out.

Shop around

When it comes to servicing, you should make sure you put your car in the most reliable and trustworthy hands. Even if you have used the same centre for years, and it was used by your parents and their parents before them, it may be worth doing a little research into how competent or trustworthy they currently are. Ask around to get some recommendations and do a little research online before committing to a particular place. By using a reputable service provider like Kwik Fit, you can rest assured youíre getting value for money and a high standard of checks and repairs. Our skilled service technicians use advanced diagnostic equipment and, if repairs are needed, they use parts that match the quality of the manufacturerís originals. Whatís more, all our service components and any other mechanical parts required, including starter motors and alternators are guaranteed for 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes sooner.

By taking the time to learn more about your car and the professionals you entrust it to, you are likely to find you spend far less on repairs and servicing and that your car stays in better condition and performs more reliably and effectively for longer too.


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