Most, if not all motorists, think of an MOT when it comes to getting their car checked. But getting your car serviced is also an important step to ensuring your car is healthy and roadworthy. So when is the best time to get your car serviced, what factors indicate whether your car needs a service and what maintenance should you expect the mechanic to carry out?
How often should you get your car serviced?
How often you should get your car serviced depends on how much you use it. Generally, you should service your car every year or every 12,000 miles. If you drive a lot more than that, it’s a good idea to get a service every six months.
Your car’s manual will tell you the distance you can cover between oil changes, and the age and mileage milestones at which point your car will require a service.
For many people, it is convenient to get your car serviced at the same time as you take it in for its MOT. A service is not the same as an MOT – while an MOT will provide a technical safety inspection of the vehicle, a service is used to check for wear and tear on the vehicle and replace any parts or top up fluids where necessary.
How do you know your car needs a service?
While your manual will show you the servicing schedule for your car, there are other indicators for knowing when you need to take it to the garage. Most cars have dashboard warning messages that tell you if something is wrong, and some even have a light to tell you that its next service is due.
You should also carry out regular basic maintenance, such as checking tyre pressures and fluid levels, to ensure your car keeps running smoothly between services.
What should you expect during a service?
A car service usually consists of at least:
- Checking fluid levels
- Changing the oil and oil filter
- Lubricating moving parts
- Check tyres
- Check brakes
However, there are different types of service to choose from – you should usually have a major service every two years, whereas an interim six month service for those who drive more will be a more basic service.
The best thing you can do for your car is stick to the manufacturer’s recommended servicing schedule, and take it to an authorised mechanic or garage.