No one wants their car to break down, whatever time of year it is, and even less so during the winter months.
Not only do you have more treacherous conditions to contend with, but you also don’t want to be shivering on the side of the road in the bitterly cold wind, while you wait for a breakdown service to arrive. Plus, you’ll no doubt be saving for Christmas and you don’t want to find yourself unexpectedly spending the money you have put aside for gifts on getting your car back on the road.
This is why servicing your vehicle is so important. It’s easy to ignore booking it in for a service because it isn’t actually a legal requirement and you may not want to spend money you don’t feel you have to.
However, servicing your vehicle could actually save you money in the long run, as it will avoid potentially minor issues building up into incredibly costly ones. In this guide we take a look at what a service involves and more importantly, how much it costs, to ensure you get the best price.
When should your car be serviced?
Your car should be serviced at least once a year or after driving a certain number of miles. You should have a service schedule within the manual from your manufacturer that will advise when to book it in, depending on the specific make and model of your vehicle. This manual will inform when your car should be serviced as well as when parts may need changing and how often maintenance tasks need to be completed.
Is this part of the MOT?
No. An MOT is a legal requirement to ensure that your vehicle is safe and roadworthy. For this, there is a checklist supplied by the DVSA – Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.
Checks during the MOT include lights, brakes, mirrors, seatbelts and windscreen wipers. You don’t have to have a service but it is recommended that you do, especially because an MOT doesn’t cover the engine, gearbox and clutch. You may like your car to have a service at the same time as your MOT because your car will already be in the garage and you can have any issues sorted out in one go.
Why should your car be serviced?
- Your car runs more efficiently – Having your car serviced regularly will ensure it is reliable as well as keep it running for longer and more efficiently. When the car drives more efficiently, you’ll save money on petrol too.
- You’ll have fewer large repairs – The risk of contending with any big repairs is also minimised, as potential issues will be discovered sooner when they are cheaper and easier to deal with. If parts deteriorate or are damaged through poor maintenance, you may have to deal with a hefty bill which far exceeds the costs associated with a service.
- Your car won’t depreciate as quickly – When it comes to selling it, your car will also have a higher resale value – which means you’ll have more to put towards your next vehicle.
- It improves the safety of you and your passengers – As well as the financial benefits, having your car serviced will ensure the safety of you and your passengers.
What is included in a car service?
During a car service, old parts will be replaced, fluids will be topped up and inspections will take place to check specific elements are working correctly.
There are three types of car service to choose from:
- Interim Car Service – 6 months
- Full Car Service – 12 months
- Major Car Service – 24 months
Interim Car Service: This is for drivers that tend to cover more than 20,000 miles and therefore need a service more than once a year. This is a basic inspection that might include, for example, an oil change.
Full Car Service: This is the service that you should have once a year or after 12,000 miles. This involves more detailed checks including testing electrical components and brake inspection.
Major Car Service: This service is advised after 24,000 miles or every two years. This includes everything from a full service as well as changing parts that should be replaced every couple of years.
How much is a car service?
The average cost of a car service is £125. You may be able to find this cheaper, but this may not include all of the work that may be required. Repairs and new parts will be an additional cost. The price will depend on the type of service you require. Interim is the cheapest, followed by full and then major.
How much is a full car service?
The full service is the most popular. Cost and work-wise it sits between interim and major and will cost around £140. An interim is the cheapest, starting from around £75 while the major service cost is the highest – this will start from around £190. Remember, this isn’t the final price – depending on how much work needs doing.
Are all garages the same price?
No. Each service will increase in price – interim will always be the cheapest and major, the most expensive. However, the specific car service prices as well as what the service entails will differ from garage to garage. You may want to avoid dealerships, as they are typically more expensive. Instead, look for independent garages.
How do you ensure you get a fair price?
If you don’t agree with the work they are recommending – perhaps the list seems too extensive – don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion. Make sure you know exactly what you are getting for your money so you don’t have any unexpected and costly surprises when the work has been done. You can do this by asking the garage to give you a breakdown of the work required and costs, including parts and VAT. It’s better to spend time shopping around to ensure you are getting the best deal than going to the first garage you find. Once you find a garage you are happy with, you will feel confident about going back each year for your service.
What is the difference between a quotation and an estimation?
If your garage gives you a quotation, this is the price you should pay at the end. If there are any extras you weren’t expecting you are in your rights to query this, as you should have been informed. If they give you an estimation, this is how much they expect it to cost. This could be slightly more or if you’re lucky, slightly less, depending on what is required once they start work on the car.
Does your car need a service?
Have you have been putting it off or weren’t aware that one was required? Now you know the different types of service available and how much each one costs, you just need to do some research and determine the right one for your vehicle and then get it booked in. It’ll save you a lot of money in the long run and keep your car going when you need it most.