It's critical your car is in good working order at all times. Regularly servicing your car is the best way to keep it in top working condition.
So how often should you service you car?
At the minimum, you should aim to have your vehicle serviced at least once every 12 months.
However, if you cover great distances on a regular basis, it's sensible to have your vehicle serviced more often - perhaps once every six months.
As a general rule of thumb, you should have your car serviced about once every 12,000 miles. By this time, your oil will probably need to be changed, and your coolant may have partially evaporated.
By ensuring your car is in good working order:
- It will be safer to use - benefitting you, your passengers, and other road users.
- You will spot problems before they become serious - which could prevent a more costly repair job later on.
- You will prolong the life of your car.
- Your car will be less likely to break down.
By having a full service history, you will likely increase your vehicle's resale value. A full service history could also help you sell your car faster than might otherwise be the case.
Ideally, a car will have been issued with a service book in which the garage carrying out each service will log the vehicle mileage and details of the completed work. Usually the log is accompanied by a stamp to authenticate the information. Asides from the service book, the service history should also include any invoices and paperwork from the repair centre
For vehicles manufactured within the last 3-5 years it is likely that there will be no physical Service History booklet available to view. Instead, service details are logged on to digital service logs.
If you are in the market to buy a car and you wish to check the vehicle service history, most sellers – both trade and private – will show you the service history logs if requested.
If you’re looking to sell your car but have lost your service book or misplaced your paperwork, it’s usually possible to retrieve the details of your vehicle service history. You can contact the centre who regularly services it. They should keep records – either on paper or electronically. They should be able to supply you with any missing documents, providing you can prove who you are and that you’re the owner of the vehicle.
At a minimum, a good mechanic should check the following:
- Engine oil
- Seat belt
- Steering wheel
- Tyre tread/inflation
Ideally, any other critical electronic or mechanical components should also be checked.
Many modern cars will tell you when it's time for a visit to your mechanic - by illuminating a light with a spanner on it. Once your vehicle has been serviced, your mechanic can reset this light so it goes off during the next interval period.
Even if you don't use your car often, you should have it serviced at least every 12 months. While components may not get worn out with rare usage, the oil, additives, and coolant are sitting there aging. As a rule, base your maintenance on the calendar, not the mileage. Even if you don’t drive your car often, it's a good idea to turn the engine over every few days.
If your car is older, it will need to be serviced more often. This is because older components will have become more worn out and are more likely to fail.
The average car service price varies depending on the size of your car. Generally, for a small car a full car service will probably cost around £150, a medium car, about £200, and for a large car you’ll be looking at around £395 for the full car service.
An interim car service will usually cost you somewhere around £75 to £125
You’ll no doubt find quite a bit of variation between service prices. Prices at independent garages will vary the most, while big chains tend to offer a standard price.
Start Rescue have partnered with halfords autocentre to offer our breakdown policy customers 10% off servicing and Free MOT with a full or major service.
Factors affecting car service charges
There are a number of factors that could affect the price you pay for your car service, including:
- Make and model of car
- Size of car
- Age of car
- Current mileage
Cost of servicing does not include the cost of any parts that might need replacing.