A guide to servicing your car

To keep your car in tip-top condition, it will need regular servicing. Here’s everything you need to know about the process. 

To keep your car in tip-top condition, it will need regular servicing. Here’s everything you need to know about the process. 

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
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Posted 14 JANUARY 2020

What is a car service?

A car service is a regular check carried out on your car by a mechanic.

The mechanic will inspect your car’s mechanical and electrical parts and make sure everything’s working as it should. Your tyres, brakes and all the other essential parts will be checked too.

The older the car, the more likely it will need a tune-up. For new cars, a service might only mean an oil and filter change. 

Why do I need to service my car?

Having your car regularly serviced will reduce the risk of a breakdown. It could also help you avoid expensive repair bills by identifying potential issues that could become a problem down the line.

There are other cost benefits too. Having a clean engine means your car will go further to the gallon, saving you money on petrol. And when you come to sell the car, having a full service history will help it keep its value. 

How long does a car service take? 

An interim service – usually carried out every six months – should take around an hour and a half. A full service – carried out every year – should take around three hours. But if any problems are found with your car, it could take longer. 

How often does my car need servicing? 

That depends on the car. Check the manufacturer’s handbook to see when the car is due a service and what will need doing. Generally, a car should have a full service once a year to keep it in good condition. 

You have a few options here. You can go to your local garage – this is often the cheapest way to get a service. But make sure they’re familiar with your make and model of car, and that they use original or branded parts. Otherwise it could invalidate your warranty. 

Your second option is to visit your local dealership. The bonus here is that the mechanics will be specially trained to deal with your particular car model. They’ll also have a ready supply of brand-new, manufacturer-approved parts. This does, however, tend to be the most expensive option.

The third option is to head to a chain such as Kwik-Fit or Halfords, which can offer good deals on servicing. They can also do your MOT at the same time.  

How much does it cost to service a car?

Again, this depends on your car and where you have the service done. You’ll often get a discount if you have an MOT done at the same time. But don’t forget, if any repair work needs doing you’ll have to factor in the cost of this and any replacement parts. 

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