I need a car service - where do I go?

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Why do I need to service my car?

It seems like there are neverending costs involved with driving – road tax, insurance, MOT, fuel… the list goes on!

Unfortunately, we’re going to chuck another one at you. Servicing you car!

Don’t be fooled into thinking that servicing is optional. While it’s not a legal requirement to get an annual service, it’s a legal requirement to make sure that your car is roadworthy at all times!

If you get in an accident due to neglecting to keep your car in good condition, you could be held responsible.

Simply stick a tenner in a savings account a month for an annual service, and you’ll avoid a tremendous amount of stress (and money) in the future.

This page will run through everything you need to know about getting an annual service.

Why do I need a car service?

You must keep your car in good condition for several reasons:

You don’t want to cause an accident and hurt someone or yourself because of a mechanical issue!

The more car problems are left, the worse (and more expensive) they become!

Letting your car deteriorate will severely impact the resale value of it. A full-service history is a sure sign of a reliable and valuable vehicle.

Having your car serviced annually (at least) is an absolute core component of being a responsible car owner!

£21.1 billion

That’s how much Britons spend on car maintenance and repairs every year! The UK is excellent at keeping their cars in good condition.

Source SMMT, 2017

How much is a service?

How much your car costs to service depends on the car you have! For instance, a Ford Fiesta will be a lot cheaper to service when compared to an Audi R8 this is because the car’s RRP is much higher.

It’s worth noting that certain manufacturer parts will be more expensive than others – Toyota parts are much cheaper than BMW, for example.

As a young driver, you’re likely driving a supermini. The average price of a full service could be anywhere from £100-150.

Don’t put off having your car serviced.

It’s much better to put away some money each month than to be faced with a several hundred-pound cost in a few years because you’ve not kept up your services!

Does your car need an interim service or full service?

When booking your car in for the service, you will typically arrange for either an interim service or a full service.

Interim service (6 months or 6000 miles) – this is usually for higher mileage cars requiring more frequent checks, and generally includes checking of all the main moving parts that may need attention over a short period.

Full service (12 months or 12000 miles) – covers comprehensive annual maintenance checks, including a detailed inspection of the engine, drive system, brakes and other parts.

So while the interim service isn’t essential for all drivers, a full service is non-negotiable!

Don’t DIY service!

While you can do some simple car maintenance tasks, leave a proper service to the professionals, or you could seriously damage your car.

What garage should I use?

Check the garage out first before booking your service. Your car needs to be professionally serviced by a garage that uses trained and trustworthy technicians.

Choose a garage that has a reliable reputation and fair pricing policy – it’s worth checking out their reviews on Google, Facebook, and TrustPilot. You can also use a tool like WhoCanFixMyCar, who have reliability rating for every garage listed.

A good garage will be able to give you a fixed price for the service. Always ask the garage to supply a schedule of the service before starting work, and get an itemised bill afterwards.

When servicing, it’s quite common for the mechanic to find an issue with the car, that neither you or the garage were expecting.

You must make clear you don’t want it repaired without asking you first – ensure that the garage doesn’t carry out any additional work without first informing you of the other costs and getting your approval!

Can I reduce the cost of the car service?

Some garages – especially the franchised dealers – tend to either offer you a superior brand product to what you may want to pay or will charge the maximum retail price for the product anyway.

Chances are you would be able to arrange to have this done outside of the service at a reduced cost, had you thought about it in advance!

For example, You should always fill your windscreen washer bottle. If you let the garage fill it up, you may be surprised at how much you have to pay. A bottle of screen wash may cost the equivalent of a bottle of champagne from your local supermarket!

Tyres need replacing! Do you want the expensive brand tyre they fit, or would you prefer to pay for a less expensive option? Don’t be afraid to ask for alternatives.

Be careful if your car has a manufacturer’s warranty

To make sure the manufacturer continues to honour a warranty, you may need to take your car to a manufacturer-approved franchised dealer for servicing and maintenance.

However, this isn’t the case for every car, and some drivers who have a manufacturer’s warranty are not restricted to use only the franchised dealer for servicing.

The work could be carried out by an independent garage, which could cost less. However, you must be confident the garage you use can comply with the manufacturer’s service schedule – contact your franchised dealer if you’re in any doubt.