Cars can be an essential part of our lives; taking us to work, children to and from school, and providing a great way to explore at weekends or on holiday. However, while extremely useful, they can come with a lot of upkeep; from insurance to MOTs, cleaning and taking your vehicle in for a service.

While an MOT is a legal requirement and a service is not, they are still essential to ensure your car is roadworthy, safe and in good condition. You may be confused about how often you need to take your car in for a service, especially if you’ve had an MOT recently. There are different types of car servicing available, and how often you choose to book in for a service will depend on a range of factors such as how often you use your car, oil changes and the make and age of the vehicle. If you’re looking for more information about what a car service is and how often you should be having one, see our guide below.

What is a car service?

As mentioned, a car service is not required by law, but it is highly recommended to ensure your vehicle is running in as good a condition as possible. It involves a general set of maintenance procedures and car diagnostic services to make sure the vehicle is in a safe, roadworthy condition, and there are three different types of service which we will discuss in more detail below.

Interim servicing

This type of service can be performed every six months, and is recommended for a high-mileage car owner who uses their vehicle frequently. It includes an oil change and other basic maintenance checks such as looking for worn tyres, faulty lights and leaking hoses. The garage will also top up a vehicle’s coolant, brake and power steering fluids if necessary.

Full servicing

As you might expect, this is a more comprehensive service covering all the checks included in the interim service, and more. A full service will replace fluids, check the brakes, steering and suspension, and thoroughly inspect the car’s electrical and mechanical systems. A full service is recommended once a year, or more often if you use your car on a particularly heavy basis.

Major servicing

This is recommended every two years, and includes all the inspections and maintenance above, plus replacement of any parts if required. Engine oil will be changed, as well as air, fuel, oil and pollen filters, and a replacement spark plug can be added if necessary.

Why is car servicing important?

Taking your car in for a regular service is important for the safety of both you and your vehicle, and to keep it running in the best condition possible.

Safety

Regular servicing can identify any potential problems before they escalate, keeping you and other drivers safe on the road. A service checks parts which are critical for your vehicle’s safety, such as the brakes and suspension, to give you peace of mind that your car is completely safe to drive.

Naturally, wear and tear can start to build up as your car gets older and you clock up more miles, but many problems can often be hidden out of sight. Some signs of deterioration are not immediately obvious until the problem has become much worse, so it’s vital to get your car serviced to make sure.

Save money

Regular servicing can help save you money in the long run, as problems can be identified before they get worse; potentially causing you costly repair fees. Checks such as regular oil changes are essential to keep the engine running smoothly, as low oil can cause the engine to seize up. Repairing or replacing an engine can cost thousands, so the money spent on an oil check is more than worth it in comparison.

Maintenance such as replacing filters also means your car will run more efficiently on less fuel, saving you money on petrol.

Vehicle lifespan

Put simply, regular car servicing is more than likely to improve the lifespan of your vehicle and keep it in a roadworthy condition for as long as possible. The more effort you put into looking after your car, the longer it will last, so take good care of it by scheduling a car service as often as necessary.

Factors to consider

As mentioned earlier, the type of car service you choose and how often you book in for servicing will depend on several factors, including the age of your car, the usage and even the time of year. We will explore these factors that affect how often your car needs a service in more detail below.

Usage

As you might expect, the more you use your car, the quicker it will be to suffer from wear and tear, or encounter problems such as worn tyres or brake pads. General guidelines suggest servicing your car once a year, or every 12,000 miles, but of course if you use your car very often you may hit 12,000 miles in a far shorter time.

Very frequent usage (for example if your job involves driving for most of the day) means you might want to think about having your car serviced every six months to ensure any problems don’t affect your job or lifestyle.

Oil changes

An oil change is one of the most common maintenance services performed during a car service, and you may need to have your oil changed as often as every 3,000 miles. Signs your oil needs changing include a darker, dirty colour (you can check this by removing the dipstick), a louder engine noise, cloudier exhaust smoke, or if your oil change light is on.

The road surface

The surface material and quality of the roads you drive on can affect how often a car needs to be serviced. Rough or uneven terrain will naturally wear down tyres quicker than smooth tarmac, so if you live out in the countryside or an area with poorly maintained roads, you may need to consider more regular servicing.

The weather

Extreme hot or cold temperatures can take their toll on your vehicle, causing a range of issues from melting tyres to reduced car battery life and damage to belts and cooling systems. It’s always best to book in for a service after a period of particularly hot or cold weather to make sure everything is running as it should be.

Age of vehicle

As you might expect, the older the vehicle, the more problems you may encounter. Some newer models of cars have an in-built servicing schedule, with a light which will come on when your car is due for its next service. Unless your car is very old or used heavily, once a year should be enough, or every six months if your car is developing age-related issues.

If you’re in need of professional car servicing in Stoke-on-Trent, get in touch with Adderley Green Garage. Our professional team has over 30 years of experience, and we’re proud to offer the expertise of a large dealership with the personal touch of a family-run garage. From general car repairs and servicing to expert engine diagnostics, we can perform a full range of car services from the basic to the thorough. To book in with us and make sure your car is running in tip top condition, give us a call or visit the website today to view our full range of garage services.