How Often Should You Service Your Car?

Just like how it is for humans to have medical checkups at regular intervals, you are required to service your car regularly to keep it in top shape for as long as possible.

Since there’s no debate on whether or not you should service your car , the big question is ;

How often should you service it?

An easy answer would be as much as possible, but unless you’re a rich and less busy person, you might not have that much cash or time on your hands. Therefore, the more appropriate translation to the question is, how long can you leave your car for without servicing it? – not very long!

It is therefore important to make plans to service your car by following a certain timeline in order to keep track of its performance.

Normally, it would be appropriate to spell out signs that show that you need to service your car – such as the engine making more noise than it should, and so forth – but it’s best not to wait for your car to develop a fault before thinking of servicing it.

Modern vehicles with OBD II software embedded in them have indicators that tell you it’s time to service the vehicle, but this is unavailable for older models. Basically, the ideal period is after every 10,000 kilometers or after every 6 months.

However, if you use your car on a daily basis to travel long distance , you might want to pay closer attention to the mileage rather than wait six months to service the car.

 

 

Types of Car Servicing Based on Frequency

 

There are three car servicing types namely;

  • Interim Servicing
  • Full Servicing
  • Major Servicing

In this category, I will provide a detailed description of the three major car servicing types based on how often they are done and what they entail. It’s important to note that servicing of vehicles also depend on the type of transmission they use as well as other component factors, but that’s not for you to worry about.

1). Interim Servicing :

 

 

Interim servicing should done on your car every six months, or at least after every 10,000 kilometers driven. Towards the end of this guide, you’ll discover that there’s not much work to be done in other servicing types, as long as the interim servicing is done properly.

  • The Engine :

The engine is basically the car itself, and this needs to be paid the most attention. For interim servicing, the automechanic is expected to replace and refile the engine oil as well as the oil filter. The cambelt also needs to be changed depending on the car type and how often it is driven.

When all that is done, it’s advisable to also check the other components of the engine such as the entire cooling system consisting of the radiator, the electric cooling fan, the coolant cap hoses and seals, the alternator belt and the tension fan, etc. This part in particular keeps the engine temperature regulated, and prevents it from overheating.

  • Transmission :

Automatic cars don’t have clutches, so there’d be no need to service clutches in them. However, irrespective of the transmission type, the major areas to be covered include the clutch fluid levels as well as the operation of the gearbox and the clutch itself. The clutch fluid is refilled if need be.

  • Electrical Components :

The electrical components of a vehicle are just as important as the engine itself, because mechanical and electrical parts are very interrelated in the architecture of vehicles. Therefore, major circuits such as the headlights, the warning lights on the dashboard as well as the horn need to be examined. Also, the voltage of the car battery needs to be measured and probably replaced or boosted.

  • Suspension and Steering :

This is just as important as the transmission. The major areas to be covered here include the steering rack, the bearing wheels, the shock absorbers and the power steering fluid. Other suspension components that require just as much attention include the ball joints in the crankshaft, the bushes, and the drop links.

It’s impossible to fix everything every time. Sometimes, it’s better to change an engine part to prevent damages from recurring.

  • Exhaust :

Check for leaks in the exhaust as they tend to make the engine produce excessive noises. The strength of the exhaust metal is also examined because a certain amount of corrosion can make it fall off. Also, the color of the exhaust smokes is also used to determine whether it has to be cleaned, or if there are any other problems wrong with the vehicle itself.

  • Fuel :

The fuel parts are not very important for interim servicing as long as you use clean and quality fuel.

  • Brakes :

This part of the vehicle is a major stop for auto mechanics considering how delicate it is. A slow brake response time could cause more problem than you can imagine. Therefore, the brake pads are examined to ensure that they haven’t worn out.

If so, they are replaced. The calipers are also checked to ensure that they are secure and have no leaks.

The same goes for the brake cylinders and the brake drums. Brake fluid levels are checked and refilled is necessary, and the handbrakes are tightened and lubricated if need be.

  • Wheels and Tires :

The automechanic is required to check for cracks and punctures, the depth of the tire as well as the pressures using an air compressor. The wheels are also balanced to ensure more accurate steering coordination and the wheel bolts are tightened properly to prevent the tires from coming off at high speeds.

  • Interior :

If the driver is not comfortable while driving, it’s just as unsafe as having a faulty transmission or worn out brake pads. For interim servicing, the only important thing to be checked is the cabin filter as other parts take longer to develop faults.


See Also : Start-Stop Technology In Cars – What It’s All About


2). Full Servicing :

 

 

Full servicing should be done at least once a year or after driving the vehicle for about 18,000 kilometers – almost twice the usage of  interim servicing. As mentioned earlier, as long as the interim servicing is done properly, there won’t be much left to do at other intervals.

  • Engine :

For the engine, the air filter has to be replaced, same as the spark plug. Also, the antifreeze needs to be refilled if necessary and the engine tray has to be examined for keeps.

  • Fuel :

As long as you use good fuel, there’s not much work to be done here, except maybe to check the condition of the fuel lines and the fuel cap seals.

  • Transmission :

Pretty much everything here should have been covered in the interim servicing. However, the  prop shaft needs a little bit of attention every now and then. So it should be greased if need be.

  • Electrical components :

For the electrical components, the glow plugs need to be checked and replaced if the need arises, same as the high tension leads which require a bit of attention.

  • Suspension :

Note that failing to service the suspension regularly could make the car dangerous at high speeds. Therefore, with the annual servicing, the suspension components are properly greased.

  • Brake :

Check the servo of the brake to see it if works properly, and that’s pretty much it.

  • Interior :

On a yearly basis, the interior of the car requires more attention than biannually. The doors and bonnet hinges have to be lubricated properly, the door locks have to be serviced to make sure they work properly – for safety reasons, just as much as the seat belts too.

You don’t what them coming off when you hard press the brakes.


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3). Major Servicing :

 

 

As you probably guessed, this one is required every two years or at least 35,000 kilometers. While there’s not that much work to be done, it’s still important to the health of your vehicle.

  • Engine :

Unlike interim servicing , the coolant has to be completely drained and replaced to keep your car in top shape. There’s no way around it.

  • Fuel :

The fuel filter has to be replaced with a new one. No matter how clean the fuel you use it (even with premium fuels), you still need to change it. Even though using premium fuels will ensure cleaner hoses, and injectors, you still have to consider changing them after two years.

  • Transmission :

The fluid level of the gearbox transmission has to be correct if not the gear will get stiffer and transmission will become harder. Therefore, the color and level has to be checked to see if a change or refill is necessary.

  • Electrical :

For the electrical components, check to see if the starter motor is functional. The charging rates of the alternator too need to be examined and juiced up if necessary.

  • Brake :

The entire brake system should be bled for air, and the brake fluid has to be replaced to make it as effective as new.

 

Conclusion

After servicing the car at whichever interval, the car needs to be road-tested to make sure that any changes made hasn’t worsened the operation of the car. Afterwards, you’re good to go, knowing fully well that you just bought more good years for your vehicle.

The schedules as explained thus seem to clash, but that doesn’t mean you need to do all the types because they clash. For example, after doing the interim servicing midyear, you could instead do a full servicing 6 months later, continue with an interim 6 months after that and then, the major servicing at the end of two years.

That has worked for me so far, I expect it’d work the same wonders for you. Do well to share this article with your friends on social media using the share buttons below.

Hey Guys! , I am Daniel Coleman and I LOVE CARS. I’m a computer programmer by profession but when not writing code , you’d find me researching on new cars and keeping up with the latest automotive trends.
Say hello ! , message me on  daniel.coleman250@gmail.com

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