How Often Should You Take Your Car In For Maintenance?

Car service intervals represent a minimum maintenance routine a car can benefit from. These intervals depend on the type of vehicle as well as on its age. Taking your car in for maintenance keeps it running in good condition and it also avoids considerable repair bills.

New car versus second-hand car service intervals

New cars have strict service intervals. A car dealership can offer more information on what is included in every service interval. The mileage to the next interval is noted in the car’s service history. This is typical during the warranty period of the car. In some cases, service intervals can be extended past the warranty period for new cars.

Full-service intervals are generally recommended every 12,000 miles or every 12 months. Regular maintenance is also recommended for second-hand cars every 6 months. They can include oil and filter changes.

All cars regardless of age have specific set service intervals, this can include oil and filter changes as well as tyre rotations. For specific service intervals, your owners’ handbook should be consulted.

Car service intervals and manual guidance

Car service intervals can be seen in detail in the vehicle’s manual. The owner’s manual includes information on the specific service intervals and the parts which need to be replaced with every servicing. Other regular maintenance tasks are also mentioned, including guidelines for oil changes or timing belt replacement intervals.

How often should I service my car?

Servicing a car is done at different intervals. But there are a few main areas which need to be checked with any type of vehicle.

  • Mechanics checks – mechanics check vehicle parts for wear signs. Detecting possible problems earlier means the final repair cost is kept under control.
  • Changing oil and filters – a regular service comes with oil and oil filter changes. They can also include air filter replacement.
  • Battery checks – electrical systems’ check can be carried out, especially on the battery, during the colder months of the year.

Car maintenance and dashboard warnings

While all of these changes are made at fixed intervals, there are other urgent car maintenance issues which need attention. The car’s dashboard can indicate when the oil level is low, when the battery is not sufficiently charged or even when the brake pads need replacement. All of these indicators need immediate attention.

A car can also be taken in for maintenance in case the “Check Engine” light comes on. This onboard diagnostics system keeps an eye on vehicle performance. In some cases, this computer can correct some problems. When it can’t do this, it signals the driver to take the car in for servicing. From fuel mixture to ignition issues, this warning light can signal different car issues.

What happens if you don’t take your car in for servicing?

The real cost of skipping servicing is seen with major car problems. Servicing can avoid having to replace expensive car parts in the future. Hundreds of pounds can be spent on a new radiator or on a new water pump. Thousands of pounds can be spent on a new engine in case of a timing belt failure.

While these parts of the car are often checked during servicing either at a dealer or at a garage, other parts need the driver’s attention.

Car tyres play an important role in road safety. Worn tyres come with reduced traction.

Uneven wear is a symptom of tracking being out or tyre pressure being incorrect, the incorrect tyre pressure is what cause fuel consumption.

Tyre changes aren't logged in any manual or service history.

All service intervals should be logged in the cars’ manual so the driver always knows the miles to drive before the next service.

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