We’ve all been told that it’s important to service our cars in time with the manufacturer’s schedule, and for the most part are pretty good at getting the car in eventually. But if someone asked us what exactly is involved in your car’s annual service and why it’s important, a lot of us would be a bit stumped. And I’m sure more than a few of us are guilty of putting off or skipping services when we’ve been feeling a bit strapped for cash. So to clear up some confusion surrounding servicing, we’ve made a rundown of all the important points.
Why it’s important?
A bit like the dentist, we’re often reprimanded for not getting our cars in for a service as regularly as we should. And like the dentist, there are some important reasons why regular servicing is a vital part of car maintenance.
Firstly, most warranties will include a section in the T&Cs that it’s your responsibility to keep the car regularly serviced in line with the manufacturer’s schedule. If not, they could refuse to cover work if a part were to fault due to ‘lack of proper maintenance’. So it’s important to make sure that you have your service history documented and up-to-date just in case.
The second key reason why it’s important to have you car regularly serviced is that it will keep the car in good running order. Bringing your car in on schedule will help to catch any issues early, before they become far more complicated and costly. A part of any service is a thorough check over many key components including fluid levels and condition, brake conditions and tyres. Regular servicing could catch a slow puncture before it becomes a blow-out or worn brake pads before they become illegal.
When should I be getting my car serviced?
Each car will have a slightly different schedule when it comes to mileage. But if you’re driving under 10,000 miles a year, you should bring your car in as close to the anniversary of its registration as possible.
If you’ve bought used, be sure to check if the car was serviced at the time of purchase, and if not when the registration date is so you don’t get caught out.
Manufacturer vs Dealer Servicing
If you’re taking your car to a main dealer you’ll probably be given two options for servicing – the manufacturer service or a cheaper, more basic dealers own service. While you may be tempted to go for the cheaper option, it’s important to consider the following factors:
Age of the car
- Is the car still under the manufacturer’s warranty? If the answer is yes, it’s better to pay a bit more to be sure that your car is being serviced by manufacturer approved technicians and with genuine parts. For new Mazdas and Suzukis, it covers the first 3 years from date of registration. For Hyundai it’s 5 years, and for Kia it’s up to 7 years. The details of this should be in the service book or pack which came with the car.
- If the car is outside of the manufacturer’s warranty, it may be cheaper to opt for a simpler dealer service. A health check should be included in every service, and this will pick up any additional work that might be needed, as and when it’s needed.
Pricing and What’s included
The checks and changes included in each year’s service vary, but as a basic you should expect:
- An oil and oil filter change with every service
- Brake and clutch fluid replacement every other year (i.e. 2nd, 4th, 6th year)
- A Visual Health Check every year
Some garages – including T W White and Sons – will also include a complementary service wash and vacuum.
The price of servicing will vary from year to year, depending on how much work is involved and how many components are changed. It can cost from £100-£600.
What is a V.H.C.?
A Visual Health Check or V.H.C. is a visual inspection of the car to ensure everything is running as it should be. This will include:
- Checking fluid levels and condition
- Brake disc and pad wear
- Tyre wear, puncture and tyre damage check
- Windscreen wiper check
- Wheel alignment check
- Air conditioning check. Anything found
All components checked will be given a GREEN, AMBER or RED rating. Green means everything is fine. Amber means some work may be needed, but it isn’t urgent. Red means urgent work is recommended.
Myths and Misconceptions
Servicing costs the same each year
The price of servicing varies from one year to the next, depending on the work and parts required. You can expect the odd years (i.e. 1st, 3rd, 5th) to be cheaper, as they are more basic services.
I can get my car serviced anywhere and still maintain the warranty
Yes and no. Unlike warranty work, car servicing can be carried out anywhere. However it is important to ensure that only genuine manufacturer parts are used. If not, it could invalidate the warranty. There’s also a bonus in the long run for getting your car serviced at a main dealer. If your car has a full manufacturer’s service history it will hold a higher re-sale value. This can only be done by having the car serviced by a manufacturer approved dealer.
Servicing will take the same amount of time every year
Like with the price, the duration of the service entirely depends on what checks are required and components are changed. This can vary from a basic oil service taking approximately 1 hour to over 2 ½ hours for a more involved service.
Servicing must be done on the same date every year
Unlike and MOT, there is some leeway when it comes to servicing. As long as your within a few weeks, or few hundred miles of the interval it should be fine. However, the closer you can get it to the anniversary of registration or next mileage interval the better.
It’s okay to miss a service by a few months, or skip one entirely
Not only is this bad from a warranty perspective, it’s also bad for maintaining the car and its resale value. And not having your car serviced could leave small problems to develop into something larger and far more costly.
Servicing is covered by my warranty
The warranty is only there to cover material faults. That means anything that fails before it would be expected. Servicing is to maintain the vehicle and replace wear and tear items which would be expected to need replacing regularly.
Additional work will be covered by my warranty or service plan
Again this depends on what is found. Some faults may be covered by the warranty. But any wear and tear items (e.g. brakes, bulbs, wipers) won’t be covered by the warranty or any service plans.
Where we are and how to book
We have aftersales facilities at both our Orpington and Bookham branches, as well as a dedicate service centre in Byfleet, just a short drive from our Weybridge sales site. All our garages are able to carry out servicing on any vehicle, as well as carry out warranty work for Mazda, Suzuki, Hyundai and Kia. To find out who’s closest visit https://www.twwhiteandsons.co.uk/find-us/
You can also make a booking enquiry online.