20th February 2019
Staying tip-top: The importance of regular car services
Regardless of the age of your car, there is no denying that regular servicing is crucial for ensuring that all of the components in your vehicle are still working at their best.
Despite not being a legal requirement, there are many reasons why servicing your car regularly is not only the best thing for the vehicle, but also your pocket and the environment.
If you’re confused about the status of your car’s service – perhaps a new warning light has appeared on the dashboard, or you don’t know when your car was last serviced – don’t panic. We get asked lots of questions all the time about servicing cars (some may say we’re the experts), so we thought we’d put together a guide detailing everything you need to know.
How often should you service your car?
The consensus is that you should be servicing your car every 12,000 miles (manufacturer-depending) or 12 months – whichever comes first. To determine when your car’s service is due, it’s best to consult its handbook, as every car is different – there is no arbitrary time scale.
Some newer cars have a self-diagnostic system installed, which will retain track of when your vehicle needs servicing, and alert you when its service is due. If your car is starting to show the early signs of a potential problem, but your service isn’t expected, it goes without saying that you should be contacting your local garage.
What does a car service involve?
Many dealerships and independent garages primarily offer two types of services: interim services, that are carried out every 6,000 miles or 6 months (whichever comes first), or full services (as mentioned above).
Interim services generally check the levels of the fluids, including brake fluid, screenwash and antifreeze. The condition of the engine will also be checked, including the spark plugs (on petrol engines) and glow plugs (on diesel engines), as well as testing the lights, batteries, breaks and tyres.
Similarly, full services feature everything that is highlighted in an interim service, as well as more in-depth checks, such as inspecting the radiator and coolant pipes, the condition of the wheels and wheel bearings, and the door hinges.
On the completion of a full service, your vehicle’s service book will be stamped and the results recorded, which will then accompany your car throughout its life.
How much does a car service cost?
The cost of servicing your car is dependent on what kind of service is being conducted, and what work is being completed. Of course, every garage will also offer a different price.
Here at Vasstech, our minor services start at £140, interim services are from £170, and our major (full) services are £280. These prices are inclusive of parts, labour and VAT, and cover vehicles up to 2.0ltr TDI (excluding Transporters and Touaregs).
Where can I service my car?
There are four main places where you can service your car:
Independent specialist garages
Independent specialist garages (like Vasstech) generally specialise in vehicles from the same manufacturer as your car, and have on-site experts that are certified to work on your vehicle, with technicians trained by the manufacturer or main dealer. They will use genuine parts that won’t compromise your vehicle warranty, and the standard of work will rival what you would expect from the main dealer – with less of the cost.
Main Dealers are the obvious choice for many, as they specialise in the specific make of your car, while maintaining your warranty. Technicians at main dealers are specialist-trained by the manufacturer, making them the experts in your car. While this is beneficial (as they are more knowledgeable about your vehicle), the downside to using the main dealers for services is that they are costly, but you pay for their reputation and expertise.
Independent garages are generally cheaper than main dealers, but don’t compromise on the quality of work. Technicians at these garages are trained to work with a range of manufacturers. If you are considering using an independent garage to service your car, make sure to inquire about your warranty, before trusting them to undertake any work.
Fast-fits franchises (like Halfords & Kwik-Fit) focus on getting your car in and out of their workshop as quickly as possible, while offering arbitrary servicing packages with fixed prices. They’re quick and convenient, but since they spend so little time on the vehicle, they are unlikely to detect any specific issues.
Benefits of regular car services
There are many benefits of regularly servicing your car that help not only your vehicle, but also your pocket!
The cost of having your car serviced may feel like a financial burden, but think of all the money it is potentially saving you.
If your service detects possible problems before they have the chance to develop into real ones, you’ll be saving money by solving them quickly. In addition to this, regular servicing ensures that your car is in full working order – and many garages will include the price of parts, labour and VAT in with the total cost.
Ultimately, a well-maintained vehicle is cleaner than a poorly maintained one. Regular car maintenance – like keeping your tyres inflated to the right level, changing the oil and keeping your air filter clean – can all help minimise the impact of your vehicle on the environment. In addition to this, entrusting a garage to service your car can also help keep automotive fluids like petrol, antifreeze and engine oil out of the ecosystem.
A car that is well looked after and serviced regularly will run for longer, and continue to look its best. Not only will you be ensuring the safety of your vehicle (as more crashes are attributed to bad car maintenance than bad driving), you’ll also be reducing the likelihood of experiencing a breakdown.
Regular car services are crucial to ensuring that your vehicle remains in the best condition, while keeping yourself (and other road users) safe. By keeping all of the components of your car in correct working order, you’ll not only be driving a reliable vehicle, but also a more cost-effective one. And of course, if you are in doubt, you can either consult your vehicle handbook – or your local garage or dealership.