Find a car service centre

Keep your car serviced properly and it will be more likely to pass the MOT, with less chance of breaking down – and it will be worth more when you come to sell. Find a car service centre you can trust to keep you safely on the road.

Your car must be serviced

Cars need to have routine and scheduled maintenance to keep them running and in good condition. A car that runs well will save you money, and the stress of an unnecessary breakdown.

Expensive car = dearer service

As a guide, the value of the car when new will determine the cost of the service. For instance, an Audi R8 costs a lot more to buy than a Ford Focus ST, and likewise it should cost more to get serviced.

Servicing a car is not cheap

Many drivers avoid getting their car serviced to try and save money. Although missing a scheduled service may not cause a problem in the short term, sooner or later something will go wrong with the car. It may cost you much more to get repaired than if you had kept to the correct service interval.

Protect your asset

Your car is an asset, and you need to protect the value. One day you may want to part exchange it for another car. With regular servicing, your car will remain in better condition, and you are likely to receive a better price when you come to sell.

DIY servicing is not advisable

Before cars became as complex as they are now, the thought of doing your own maintenance was quite reasonable. However, due to the technical advancement by car manufacturers, routine car servicing is much more involved than in the past. In most cases, it is best left to professional technicians.

Check the garage out first before booking your service

Your car needs to be professionally serviced by a garage using trained and trustworthy technicians. This is in the interest of your safety and your car’s health.

Choose a garage that has a reliable reputation, combined with a good pricing policy. A lot of garages 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 being serviced it’s quite common for something to be found wrong with the car, that neither you or the garage were expecting. What is important is the garage doesn’t carry out any additional work without first informing you of the additional costs and getting your approval.

Does your car need an interim service or full service?

When booking your car in for the service you will normally be arranging for an interim service or a full service. Where the car is in its life cycle will dictate interim or full.

  • 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 require attention over a short period.
  • Full service (12 months or 12000 miles) – comprehensive annual maintenance checks, including detailed inspection of engine, drive system, brakes and other parts.

Before the service

The garage may offer a fixed price for the service, but if something is found that needs attention and is not included in the service, this may cost you dearly.

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 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:

  • Empty windscreen washer bottle. If you let the garage fill it up, you may be surprised how much you are charged. A bottle of screen wash may cost the equivalent of an OK bottle of Champagne from your local supermarket.
  • Tyres need replacing. Do you really want the expensive brand tyre they fit, or would you prefer to pay for a less expensive option?

Don’t get conned by a dodgy garage

There are many competent and trustworthy places to have your car serviced, but beware of the unscrupulous garages who will claim that significant work needs to be carried out when it clearly doesn’t.

Be careful if your car has a manufacturer’s warranty

In order to be certain a manufacturer’s warranty will be honoured, you may need to take your car to a main franchised dealer for servicing and maintenance.

Since the introduction of the Block Exemption Law (2003), motorists who have a manufacturer’s warranty are not restricted to use only the main dealer for servicing. This means the work could be carried out by an independent garage, which could cost less. However you must be confident the the garage you use would be able to fully comply with the manufacturer’s onerous service schedule.

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