Why it's important to have your vehicle serviced
The importance of having your car serviced should never be underestimated. According to the RAC, a high percentage of roadside breakdowns are a result of neglecting basic maintenance on a vehicle.
Services can help spot potential problems before they arise, and although servicing comes at a cost, it can end up saving you money in the long run. Un-serviced cars tend to consume more fuel as they are not running at their most efficient. Even seemingly minor issues like needing an oil change, can have a big impact on fuel consumption.
Services will pick up on these details and rectify them, making the whole car run more efficiently and in turn saving you money in unnecessary fuel. Basic maintenance such as checking tyre pressures and levels of engine oil and screen wash are things that you can do at home, but there are also many parts of a car service which cannot be carried out at home and which require the skills, expertise and tools of a manufacturer-trained technician. Modern cars can be complicated machines, and people who are not trained technicians cannot possibly be expected to know everything there is to know about the inner workings of their vehicle. Trying to service your own car could result in damage being caused to your engine which in turn, could be dangerous or considerably expensive to fix.
What happens during a service?
The length between services varies from car to car. To find out when your car is due, check in your owner’s handbook. An increasing number of cars offer a digital display which counts down the number of days or miles, or a light which comes on when a service is due. What happens during a service will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and the type of service required on your vehicle at the time but there are several aspects which will be checked every time, by every workshop. These include:
- Lights. Making sure that all front, rear, side and main lights are in full working order. Indicators and hazard lights will also be checked, as will the brake and reverse lights, fog lights and registration lights.
- Fluids. Every service will include an oil change, and oil filter change. Washer fluid will be topped up, and engine coolant and power steering fluid will be checked and topped as required.
- Brakes. A visual inspection is done at every service, and brake fluid changed or topped up as necessary. The pipes which deliver the brake fluid will be checked and the wear on the brake pads measured.
- Tyres. Tyres will be checked for obvious damage, such as cracks and punctures. Their tread depth will also be measured to ensure they are above the legal limit of 1.6mm, and pressure checked and topped up if required.
- Electrics. All the vital electrics will be tested to ensure they’re in good working order. This includes the battery, alternator and starter motor.
- Instruments. Instruments such as the rev counter, speedometer and mileage counter will be tested to ensure they’re working correctly, along with all gauges, warning lights and the horn.
- Windscreen. Both front and rear windscreens, washers and wiper blades will all be checked for damage.
- Engine. All of the engine components will have rigorous tests and checks. This includes the transmission and rear axle, the radiator, coolant hoses, clutch, air and fuel filters, auxiliary drive belt, fuel pipes, spark plugs and the exhaust system. It also includes thorough checks of the drive shaft joints and gaiters, suspension linkages, ball joints, and shock absorbers.
- Interior. Seat belts will be tested to ensure that they are in full working order in the event of a collision. All of the internal and external mirrors will be checked to make sure that they are in good condition, as are the seats, interior lights, doors and locks and the handbrake. Wheels. In addition to full tyre checks, the wheels are also given a thorough inspection. The wheel bearings and balancing are checked, as are the wheel alignment and suspension.
When it comes to selling your car, prospective buyers will be reassured to know the car has a full service history and it will generally be worth more than those without, as they show that the car has been properly maintained and should give more trouble-free miles.
If you're ever in any doubt about when your car needs servicing, what it entails - or have questions about general maintenance, don't hesitate to get in touch with us.