How Often to Schedule a Car Service

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Cars are complex machines, and whether you drive them or not, components are going to wear, malfunction and cause problems. Sometimes a modern car will tell you when there are problems – a check engine light might come on, or even a service light could tell you that it’s time for a service; But you can’t always rely on technology, and a lot of cars don’t have these features anyway.

Part of being a responsible car owner is making sure that your car is safe to drive; for you, your passengers and other road users. Whether your car tells you to get a service or not, it’s something you need to be thinking about from time to time.

For many people it can be confusing to know exactly when to schedule a service. Their car might seem to work fine, with no obvious problems; so how can you tell?

How to tell if your car needs a service

The best way to tell if your car needs a service is based on time, not on specific problems. Of course if you have any concerns about your car then that would be cause to have it seen by a mechanic, otherwise a car service is a preventative and one that is best done at certain intervals – before problems occur.

What is a car service

Think of a car service as it’s health check. Like going to get your blood pressure checked and weight measured from the doctor.

A good car service helps to:

  • Keep it running economically
  • Ensure it is safe to drive
  • Reduce risk of breakdowns
  • Maintain resale value

The main functions of a service are:

  • To check it over and ensure it is safe
  • To check components for wear and advise to replace as necessary
  • To keep fluids clean and topped up as required
  • To keep filters clean and effective

The most in-depth car services can involve around 50 or more component checks.

Types of car service

Before you go ahead and schedule a service, it can help to know the different types. If you tell your mechanic how much you’ve been driving it, what for and when the last service was, they can usually recommend the right type.

From new, every car should be seen and serviced by a mechanic at least once per year, whether it’s a full, interim or half service; so long as it has at least one health check then you’re helping to keep yourself and your passengers safe.

  1. Regular maintenance service

The regular service or maintenance takes place when the oil needs to be changed. This depends on the type of oil that your car uses and how much you drive it. On average, oil requires to be changed after around 1200 – 2800 miles of driving or four months, whichever comes first. The mileage specifically depends upon the type of oil your use. This service includes oil and filters replacement.

  1. Half service/Interim service

A half service, sometimes known as an interim service can be scheduled between full services, typically every 6 months or 6,000 miles. It covers essential checks and is usually sufficient for this time period.

  1. Full service

A full service is more thorough than a half service, as a general rule it should be carried out every 12 months, or every 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. Your manufacturers handbook should include recommended information on when to carry out a full service.

Its important to note that the content of services can vary from one garage to the next. For the layman who isn’t experienced in car servicing, essentially your half service is going to run the essential checks, and top up the essential fluids. Your full service is going to do the same, but then run some extra checks on-top.

If you do not have any interim services then you should probably have at least one full service per year. If you don’t drive your car much however, you may not need a full service every year and a half service may be sufficient one year, and a full service the next. Talk to a trusted mechanic about what they recommend.

Need to get your car serviced in the Ansonia, CT area? Contact General Muffler & Auto Supply: (203) 735-6406

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