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How often should you service your car?

January 10, 2022 by

It’s essential to stick to a regular service schedule to keep your car running fit and fresh.

How often should you service your car, though? This guide explains

When is my service due?

A service schedule is a manufacturer-recommended interval to take your car in for a service.

Service schedules vary between manufacturers and specific models but, as a very general rule of thumb, expect to need to service your car at least once a year, or around 10,000 miles.

Manufacturers will detail the service interval of your car in the owner’s handbook, though, so always have a read through if you’re unsure.

If you’re still stuck on how often you should service your car, give your local manufacturer-approved garage a ring. They may be able to advise on your specific model.

When was my car last serviced?

Your car should come with a service handbook. This will be stamped by the garage after your car has been serviced.

This details the date of the service, and the mileage the car stood at when the work was done. This is the most accurate way to check the service history.

A handful of modern cars also record services within their infotainment systems, as well as provide a reminder of when an interval is coming up.

What work is carried out during a car service?

A basic car service usually includes a few checks of the engine oil, the oil filter, coolant levels, brakes and suspension.

Often, routine services will result in a new air filter being installed and any other recommended changes. You may also be advised on further work that may be required for your car beyond its normal service checks.

You may have other service intervals sporadically that will require changes such as new gearbox oil or a fresh timing belt.

The intervals and types of these changes will vary by car, but don’t tend to come up commonly. It’s worth checking your car’s handbook for a more accurate idea.

Where can I get my car serviced?

Your car’s manufacturer will recommend you have your car serviced by an approved dealership.

This is a sure-fire way of guaranteeing your car is maintained with manufacturer-recommended components and guidelines, though will tend to cost more than going to an independent garage.

These tend to be cheaper but are often less specialised, meaning your car may not be serviced exactly according to manufacturer guidelines. For example, they may use parts made by a different supplier from those originally fitted to your car. That said, you can find some specialist centres that focus on select manufacturers.

How much is a car service?

The price of a car’s service will vary depending on your model, and the extent of the work you have done.

Basic service with consumables such as filters and fresh oil can cost anywhere from around £100-£200 as a general rule. More extensive work will naturally command a higher price.

Both manufacturer-approved and independent garages should be able to provide you with a quote before you commit to anything, though.

FAQs: car service

When should I service a new car?

A brand-new car may need an interim service shortly after you purchase it. Your dealer should be able to advise you when this is needed, but this is usually within 12 months or 10,000 miles from new.

Do I need to service my car every year?

As a general rule, your car will need a service at least once within a 12-month period. It’s best to check your car’s handbook for exact intervals, though.

What happens if I miss a car service?

There are no legal repercussions for missing a car’s service in the way an MOT carries. That said, your car may not be operating in its best condition — and this could lead to failures down the line.