How Often Should You Service Your Car?

John Tucker

By: John Tucker

As servicing is not a compulsory aspect of car maintenance it can be easy to overlook. Many people question how often you should service your car and whether maintaining your service schedule is actually necessary. However, the importance of regular servicing should never be overlooked as it can adversely affect the performance, safety and warranty of your vehicle.

servicing a new car

Manufacturer servicing for new cars

While you may consider that having a new car means anything is unlikely to go wrong, it doesn’t mean you can forgo essential maintenance. Maintaining your service schedule on a new car is often a requirement of the manufacturer warranty and failure to comply can invalidate the warranty. In addition, as new cars come equipped with a host of new technology, they often require software updates and your service is a great time for a garage to install any available updates.

Many manufacturers may also invalidate a warranty if it is not carried out at a manufacturer approved garage. The idea behind this is to standardise a high quality of service and ensure that only manufacturer approved parts are used.

Each manufacturer will set out its own recommended service schedule, as well as having a list of workshops which offer manufacturer approved servicing, so it is important that you follow these recommendations.

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servicing older cars

Servicing older cars

Older cars which are out of their manufacturer warranty can often be neglected when it comes to servicing. People can see servicing older vehicles as an unnecessary expense, however it is still important to maintain regular servicing.

As an older car is likely to be out of its warranty period you are no longer required to go to a manufacturer approved garage for your service. This means you have a wider selection of garages to choose from. However, visiting a manufacturer approved garage comes with benefits as aforementioned.

It can be difficult to know when to service a car; a good rule of thumb for a car over three years old would be to have a full service every year or every 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. A full service would include a number of checks on the vehicle as well as oil change and oil filter change. If you regularly cover a lot of miles then you might find it beneficial to have an interim service every six months or 6,000 miles, to ensure your car is performing at its best.

How do you know if your car needs a service?

Many modern cars now have a built-in computer which triggers a warning light on the dash to light up once you reach your service interval. It is recommended that you heed this warning and book your vehicle in for service, even if it is slightly less than a year since your last service.

In older cars, you will find information regarding the optimum service interval of your vehicle in your vehicle handbook. The service interval can vary from make and model vehicle so it’s advisable to stick to this.


how do you know if your car needs a service

Do you really have to regularly service your car?

There is no legal requirement to service your vehicle, but it is worth bearing in mind that regularly servicing your cars has a number of benefits for your car and your wallet:

  • Risk of breakdown decreases - Making sure you keep up with regular servicing can help with the early detection of problems which can reduce the risk of you having a breakdown.
  • Increased lifespan of the vehicle – Regular checks can lengthen the lifespan of your vehicle to keep it in full working order for longer.
  • Higher resale value of your vehicle - Research has indicated that cars with a full service history have a resale value that is up to 26% more than models which have not been regularly serviced.
  • Valid warranties – Keeping up with your service schedule at an approved garage during its warranty period ensures you should be covered should anything go wrong with the vehicle.
  • Decreased emissions – Servicing your vehicle can ensure that the engine and exhaust parts are working correctly which helps reduce emissions.
  • Better fuel economy - Regular servicing can keep your car running as efficiently as possible which can save you money on day-to-day fuel costs.
  • Greater insurance value – in the event you’re involved in an accident and your car service schedule is not maintained your insurance company may reduce the amount they are willing to pay out for the vehicle.
  • Decreased safety risk – Servicing picks up on problems sooner which reduces the chances of something going wrong on the move. So a regularly serviced car can be safer.
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