What happens when your car is serviced?

By: James Ruppert

Different models have various requirements and there are major and minor services, according to the number of miles covered and, or years since the last garage visit. Essentially, every visit various parts are inspected and replaced as required or according to the manufacturer’s schedule.
 
So, what will happen at a general service? The oil will be changed. This involves draining the oil and replacement with new, fresh oil. At each change the oil filter also needs to be replaced as well. Many garages will also flush the engine whilst it is drained of oil to remove any old gunk and deposits that have built up over time.  


Car Service Checklist; The Cooling Fluid

This contains anti-freeze and will be checked for how diluted it is and may be changed. Recommendations vary according to the manufacturer. Many suggest every two years and every 30,000 miles, others much more.

 

Car Service Checklist; Spark Plugs

Spark plugs are essential for getting the car to start. They are often changed at each annual service or every 12,000 miles, however there are some very expensive high-quality plugs, which can last 80,000 to 100,000 miles.


Car Service Checklist; Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid is used by your steering system to keep its parts moving smoothly and is on many modern cars as part of a sealed for life system. Older models may need a refresh at the 100,000-mile mark or as recommended by the manufacturer.

 
Car Service Checklist; High-tension Leads

High tension leads connect to the spark plugs and can last for up to a decade. They are inspected at the service and if there are any splits of degradation, or the engine is running unevenly, they will be replaced.

 

Car Service Checklist; Air Filter

The air filter can be cleaned, but ultimately it is replaced at set intervals.


Car Service Checklist; Timing Belt

The timing belt, which is part of the internal combustion engine, is manufacturer dependent as is so difficult to check for wear. Some sports cars need regular changes every two years irrespective of mileage. Others suggest 45,000, 60,000 and 100,000 miles. Timing chains are fitted to some car engines and may never need replacement, that is, until they become noisy.

 
Car Service Checklist; Auxiliary Belts

Auxiliary belts spin the alternator, power steering compressor and water pump. They used to be called the fan belt and can also be referred to as the serpentine belt. These will usually last 60,000 to 100,000 miles. However, the garage will inspect it for wear and tear at every service if it is accessible.


Car Service Checklist; General Safety Checks

General checks are always carried out on the steering and suspension. Brakes are checked based on wear and if the pads or discs are seriously worn, they will be replaced. Wiper blades will also be inspected and if split or badly worn, replaced.

 
Car Service Checklist; Air Conditioning

Air Con should also be checked for performance, any leaks and recommended filters changed.

 
A car service is always dependent on the manufacturer’s schedule and what this includes is contained in the owner’s manual. When in doubt, ask the garage what they will do and ask to see the replaced components, you are entitled to do so. A garage will be pleased that you are taking an interest in the well-being of your car.

 

Further Reading

Car Maintenance: How To Get Your Car Roadworthy

Service Cost - What Is A Big Car Bill?

How Car Servicing Keeps Your Finances Healthy

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