Buying a car, whether new or second hand, comes with a range of responsibilities. One of the most important of these is ensuring that the car is regularly serviced and that any necessary repairs are carried out. This can be a costly business. However, it’s worth the time and resources required to carry out servicing, maintenance and repairs properly. Not only will this ensure that you’re safe on the roads but it will also help the investment you’ve made in the vehicle to hold its value.
Servicing – why bother?
Regular servicing means that all the key components of your car are in good condition and functioning properly. Depending on the type of servicing you opt for, this includes checking the brakes to ensure that they are fully functioning, assessing the engine and examining the tyres to make sure that they are at the right pressure and there are no issues, such as damage from the road. Other key areas for servicing are the steering, lights, suspension and windscreen wipers, as well as air and oil filters, spark plugs and fuel filters. There are a number of good reasons for committing to regular servicing, including:
A regularly serviced car will run more efficiently when it comes to fuel consumption
You’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that you’re not going to have to deal with engine failure or preventable tyre issues while out on the road
If your vehicle isn’t regularly serviced then you may have problems making a claim under the warranty
The car will function better and be easier to drive if it gets regular attention
Arranging servicing for your car
The more often a car is serviced, the easier it will be to keep in good condition and the more peace of mind you’ll have when out on the roads. When you buy a new car you’ll normally receive a recommendation from the manufacturer about how often you should get the car serviced. However, if you’re planning to sell the car on in the future it’s often worth arranging a more frequent service. Remember that an older vehicle is likely to need more regular servicing – try to avoid putting this off because of concerns about condition or cost.
Standard interim or full car service?
A full car service is usually recommended every 12 months or 12,000 miles. In between that you can take the car for an interim service. The interim service usually takes around 30 minutes to complete and is designed just to focus on the areas of the car that get the heaviest use, such as the clutch, gearbox and battery. A full service takes a lot longer – upwards of three hours – and will take into account not just the parts of the car under the most strain but other components too. The full service is intended to identify any issues the car might be undergoing due to regular driving and often results in the need to order new parts, make replacements or carry out repairs.
Cutting the cost of your service, maintenance and repairs
Shop around to make sure that you get the best price. If you’re planning to get your car serviced at a branded dealership then this is often the most expensive option when it comes to any kind of work on your car. Independent garages may be able to offer cheaper deals but make sure that they have experience with your type of car.
Identify exactly what you want to have done to the car. The easiest way to approach this is often to simply produce a list of bullet points and then ask each of the garages you’re looking at to quote for the same work. Be specific about what you’re looking for, as it’s common for garages to add on extras to increase the overall cost.
Look online. There are comparison sites for car servicing and repairs (e.g. Book My Garage) and these can not only help you to find the right garage but also one that will do high quality work at the right price.
Ask around. Recommendations from friends, family or colleagues can be invaluable when it comes to identifying a great deal on service, maintenance and repairs. You’ll also be able to find out about quality standards and any issues that others experienced.
Look for accreditation. This won’t impact so much on what you pay but will ensure that a certain standard of work is being carried out on your car.
Servicing, repairs and maintenance are all necessary for a responsible car driver. However, you can cut the cost of these if you know how.
Alex Hartley is a keen advocate of improving personal finance skills. She's worked at Solution Loans since 2014 and written hundreds of articles about how people can manage their money better. Her interest in personal finance goes way back to...Read more about Alex Hartley