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When does my car need to be serviced?

Kevin Thorpe | Wednesday 25th March 2020 10:47am

Man looking under car bonnet

Designed to help keep your vehicle working reliably, safely and efficiently, a service is a key element of car maintenance. During a service, expert technicians will inspect your vehicle to check for a variety of potential problems, and they will fit replacement parts and carry out fluid changes as required.

Given the importance of these checks, itís not recommended to skip or delay them. Keep reading to find out when your car might need its next service.

Full service

In general, most cars need to be taken for a full service every 12,000 miles or every 12 months, whichever comes first. However, every vehicle model is different, and manufacturers provide a recommended service schedule for their cars. So, if youíre not sure how frequently your vehicle should be serviced, simply refer to your ownerís manual. This should have all the information you need.

The manufacturer will also provide recommendations for the scheduling of maintenance checks such as cambelt replacements and oil changes, so pay attention to this advice too.

If youíre not sure when your car was last serviced, you can check the logbook. It should have been stamped at the time of your last check-up. Based on this information, youíll be able to accurately calculate when youíre due your next service.

Bear in mind that some vehicles also now have a self-diagnostic system that alerts you when a service is due. You shouldnít ignore these warnings, even if they happen before youíve reached 12,000 miles or 12 months since your last service.

Interim service

As their name suggests, interim services are intended for in between your full services - so every 6,000 miles or six months. They arenít intended as an alternative to main services, but rather as a supplement to them.

Designed to keep your vehicle in the best possible condition year-round, they arenít as comprehensive as full services, but they can include a range of important checks, including brake, battery and tyre inspections, as well as engine oil and filter replacement.

The importance of regular servicing

There are many reasons why regular services are a must when it comes to looking after your car. For example, they help to ensure that any problems are picked up and dealt with at an early stage, rather than being left to get worse over a long period of time and ultimately resulting in more serious and expensive repairs. During a service, the technician will check your car over carefully and will be able to identify even minor issues that might otherwise go undetected until they cause a major fault or breakdown. Because of this, servicing can save you considerable hassle and expense in the long term.

Keeping on top of maintenance will also help your car to run more efficiently, saving you money on fuel. For instance, refreshing oil and replacing air filters in your engine on a regular basis allows your car to run more smoothly and efficiently.

Then thereís the value of your vehicle to think about. If you sell your car on, you can expect to get more money for it if youíre able to provide evidence of regular servicing - or ideally a full service history. Potential buyers like the added reassurance this brings.

What you should take to your service

When youíre preparing to take your car for a service, itís a good idea to make sure you take your vehicle logbook along with you. This is so the technician can stamp it once theyíve carried out the service. If you forget your logbook or canít locate it, donít panic. Your service can still go ahead. However, itís useful to get your logbook stamped so that you have proof to show potential buyers if you go on to sell your car.

Also, if youíve booked a full service, make sure that you take along your locking wheel nut key. This is so that the technician carrying out the checks can conduct a complete wheel-off brake inspection.

Not a legal requirement

Even though regular servicing is crucial when it comes to looking after your car, itís not a legal requirement. People sometimes confuse servicing with MOT tests, but the two are in fact very different. An MOT is a technical safety inspection of your car. During these tests, technicians will check your vehicle over to make sure itís safe to use and they will check for toxic emissions that could cause environmental harm.

Currently, all cars in the UK over three years old are required to undergo an MOT test every year, and this must be carried out by an approved testing centre. The only exception to this is vehicles that were made before 1960. They are presently exempt from needing MOTs.

Consider a service plan

To take the financial pressure off paying for car servicing, you might want to consider entering into a service plan. These agreements enable you to spread the cost of these checks by splitting the payment into monthly instalments. You could also add the cost of your annual MOT to this.

This approach means you get the benefits of ensuring your car is checked over on a regular basis without having to stump up the full amount in one go, helping to make budgeting easier.

However you decide to pay for servicing, itís really important to keep on top of this element of vehicle care. If youíre not sure when your car was last looked over, check your logbook and, if necessary, book an appointment.

Tags : Advice Tips

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