As a busy Mum of two, I often find myself dashing here and there in my car multiple times a day. It is my lifeline to the outside world. In our town, I would never be able to get everything done if I relied on walking or public transport and so I really value having a car.
I must admit that I used to be dreadful at remembering to get my car checked or serviced but my husband is hot on this area and his efficiency has finally rubbed off on me too. After having several problems with cars in the past due to putting off simple tasks like a full service, I have learned how they will save you money in the long-run as well as help to keep my family safer.
But What Does A Service Include?
It can be easy to think that a service is just a quick glance over your vehicle but it is in fact so much more than that.
Garages usually offer several levels of service from your very basic which will cover an oil change, tyre checks, fluid level checks, brake pads and other general areas, a middle option which will go into a little more detail and a full service will cover far more, such as:
- Oil and filter change
- New air filter
- New fuel filter (diesel engines)
- New spark plugs (petrol engines)
- Extensive checks for leaks, wear and damage
- Removal of wheels and brakes checked
- Wheel bearings checked for excessive play (wear)
- Brake cylinders, pipes and hoses checked for leaks or damage
- Suspension checked for wear or damage
- Clutch check
- Brake fluid tested and replaced if necessary
- Reset service light
- Tyres checked for wear, damage and signs of misalignment
- Exhaust system checked for corrosion, damage or leaks
You would need to speak to your local garage to find out what they can offer you, what their prices are (you may want to get several quotes to find the best deal for you) and also ask if they have any offers to cover services or follow-ups in the future.
The AA recommend that you have your car serviced every 3,000 miles which means, if you run your car for business you will require a service more often than somebody who is doing shorter journeys, however, all cars should ideally have a service once a year in order to sufficiently maintain them.
Why Is It Important?
Quite simply a regular service will:
- Help to reduce engine wear
- Improve your fuel economy
- Prolong the life of your engine
- Highlight any outstanding safety issues which include your tyres and brakes
The Vital Areas
If you don’t opt for the full service an interim one will still cover those vital areas for checks which are an oil change, tyre check and brakes.
The benefit of having your oil changed it to prevent a build-up of sludge which will eventually damage your engine and the running of your car. If left in a poor state, your entire engine may need replacing which is a costly business.
Your tyres are your safety net basically. They are what help you to stop in time and they grip the road in poor conditions, that is if you have the appropriate tread on them. Tyres wear down and once the tread falls below 3mm you may begin to notice issues whilst driving. When considering a tyre change it would be worthwhile spending some time asking for a garages expert opinion on which tyre would be best suited to your type of car and for the amount that you use it. Garages like Calmac Tyres Autocentre in Northampton are a great example of a centre that can offer you this advice and source the right brand of tyre for your car. It is also extremely important to then have your tracking re-tested to ensure they won’t wear down unevenly and to keep you safer on the road.
Brakes. Well, this is a pretty obvious one really, isn’t it? If your brakes fail, you will not stop in time and if you don’t get these regularly checked you are dicing with fate because brakes can fail at any moment and you may not have even noticed there was a problem lurking. Each tyre has brake pads which apply pressure to them to help them to stop. If these are worn, they will not be able to provide that grip and will increase your stopping distance.
Doesn’t An MOT Cover All Of This?
In short, no it doesn’t. An MOT covers the safety aspects of a car but it will not go into the depth that a full service will. Your MOT is a legal requirement, though so this you must do each and every year and attend to the advisories whereas a service is only highly recommended, it is not legally required to do. But these two aspects of car care go hand in hand. If you keep on top of your car service and you keep your car ticking over nicely, your MOT should give much better results, keeping your car safer all year round and saving you money in the long-term.
A car service is so important and I definitely won’t be skipping any of mine in the future.
*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.