Let’s be honest, your car is you main mode of transport so what would you do if one day it was no longer available for a considerable amount of time? Because if you fail to have your car serviced every 12-months, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
It’s worth taking the time to understand the importance of looking after your car, and knowing when to do car servicing is a great step towards achieving that goal.
This week, I’m going to talk you through annual inspections and provide you with a handful of useful tips that you can use every time you need to book a service for your car.
During this article we’ll discuss:
- The costs of servicing a car
- How often you should be booking a car service
- The reasons why car servicing is so important for modern vehicles
- How you can find a cheap servicing centre
- Making sure you get a fair price
- Understanding the differences between a quotation and estimate
The costs of servicing your car . . .
Annual car servicing costs will differ in price depending on the location of the garage, and the volume of work required. Most garages will include three key forms of annual servicing. These will include:
- A basic service
- An interim service
- A full service
The approximate costs of a basic service on a standard 5-door car with a 1.2L engine are between £29 and £129. It really does depend on what you need covered and any repairs thereafter. You can book a quotation for car servicing in Milton Keynes here.
Frequency of servicing: How often should you book?
If you want to make sure that your car remains in its best condition, then ideally you should be booking a car service at least once every 12-months – this isn’t set in stone, but it is heavily advised and any good mechanic worth their salt will recommend the same.
Although most vehicles need a service every 12-months, some may differ.
The best way to be sure of this is to check your vehicles owners’ manual. This will include information of the frequency of your servicing appointments and what you can be doing in between to keep things ticking over.
Most owners book a car service after a specific number of miles or after a certain timeframe.
You could be saving a lot of money:
Some people may see an annual service as an inconvenience and additional expense but it’s certainly worth it when you consider the amount of money you could end up spending on repairs and recovery.
Through regular servicing, you’re more likely to identify minor issues and faults, allowing you to have plenty of time to get things repaired before it becomes something more serious.
So how do you make sure that your car remains in the best condition?
Check your service manual:
You cars service manual can be found alongside the general handbook. The clever bods that designed and built your car will have put your service manual together, so you know that what these guys say goes.
Your manual will include a load of useful information that includes:
- How often you’ll need a service and when
- When and how you can replace changeable parts
- When you might need to carry our basic tasks such as oil changes
Keep an eye out for warning lights:
You’ll see all of your warning lights appear on the dashboard when you first start up your car. At this point there’s no need to panic, as this is perfectly normal.
However, if you notice a warning notice lights up when you’re driving, you may need to pull over and refer to your handbook to get a rough idea of what the problem is. In most cases, warning lights are minor issues and can be repaired quickly.
But there are a couple that you should take seriously. Also refer to your handbook and if need be, pull over and switch the engine off before calling your roadside recovery provider.
Never skip a service:
If you’re strapped for cash at a time of servicing, try to find a way of getting it completed. Failing to have a car service completed when its needed can result in serious long term damage to your car, whether it be 12-months old or 12-years.
One of the best ways to make sure that you don’t miss a service is to invest in an annual car servicing plan. You’ll make either a one off payment or regular payments across a certain timeframe can cover you for two, three or even four annual services.
The biggest risk of all is the potential repairs. Here is an example of some parts needed for everyday vehicles without the labour costs:
- Water pump £75.99
- Brake discs £46.99
- Brake pads £78.99
- Drive belt tensioner £70.99
- Oil change £54.00
[Source]: Euro Car parts 2017
As you can see, it certainly pays to have you car checked on a regular basis.
Don’t forget your cambelt:
You cambelt, or timing belt is an engine component that simply has to be replaced after a specific amount of time. The best way to get an idea of when this may need replacing is to check your handbook.
A cambelt replacement in Milton Keynes can cost anywhere from £250 upwards, but if your cambelt fails when you’re on the road, you could face a hefty bill as there may be significant engine damages that require action.
Checking your tyres:
Tyre maintenance has become a frequent check for most drivers in everyday situations. All motorists are encouraged to check their tyres and pressures before travelling long distances.
When you check your tyres, you’re looking for a couple of key indicators. These include:
- General tyre condition
- The tyre pressure
- The tracking
Unfortunately, unless you have access to tracking and wheel alignment equipment, you wont be able to check this yourself. However, there are a couple of warning signs to look out for.
Look for uneven tyre wear, frequent fuel usage or even if you notice that the car is pulling to one side when driving.
Finding a car servicing centre:
There are two main places that owners tend to go to for annual car servicing. These are independent servicing garages and main dealership workshops.
Now in all honesty, either is good for your vehicle but one is going to be significantly more expensive than the other. Research published by The Money Advice Service claims that main dealerships charge a whopping £92 per hour, whereas local garages will be far more affordable with a £63 per hour hourly rate.
If you do decide to use a local independent garage for your annual servicing or MOT testing in Milton Keynes consider these tips:
- Look for open, transparent pricing
- Find a garage that can provide exact information on works
- Always ask for a quotation instead of an estimate
The difference between quotes and estimates is . . .
Its important to understand exactly what a formal quotation is in comparison to a garages estimate. Unfortunately, if you get this wrong and agree to works, you could find yourself spending a lot more money.
A quotation is a promise between the garage and you. Any works mentioned on the written quotation will be completed for the price that is stated, no more or no less.
Whereas, an estimate is a more flexible form of providing costs.
An estimate is the approximate figure that is provided by the garage before the work is completed. This is usually provided for explorative works and fault finding.
Any work completed based around an estimate could be more expensive once completed; a formal quotation is always the best route to go down.