What Does A Car Service Include, And How Often Do You Need One?

Mechanic Holding Clipboard Car Service

Modern cars are more reliable than ever before. But a service will identify any hidden issues that may need addressing, as well as ticking off any maintenance must-haves. We’ve created a guide to answer any questions you may have about what a car service is, such as what does a full car service include, how often should you service your car and is a service the same thing as an MOT. Read on to find out more.

What is a car service?

A car service is performed when you take your car in to a garage for a check-up. When it’s there, a mechanic will check your car, assessing its general condition. They’re looking for any visible wear and tear, and are also likely to test its oil, brakes and engine to see if any maintenance work is needed.

Is a car service the same as an MOT?

No, they’re two different things. An MOT is a legal requirement for cars that are more than three years old. This annual test is responsible for assessing whether your vehicle is roadworthy, and without a valid test certificate you can’t drive your car.

On the other hand, a car service is not an annual legal necessity. Keen motoring enthusiasts may feel happy carrying out some routine maintenance work, but there are some jobs that are tricky to do without the right tools and training. A service will address these.

How often should you service your car?

The timescale for how often you should service your car will depend on its age, the make and model, the roads you’ve drive it on and how many miles you do in it.

You can usually find your car’s service schedule in its handbook, while most modern vehicles have an automatic service reminder on the dashboard that will notify you when it’s due for a service. This is calculated using the time and mileage since your last service, with most manufacturers suggesting that a car should be fully serviced every 12 months or 12,000 miles.

What does a car service include?

When you take your car to the garage, they’ll gauge the extent of the work they need to carry out, then act appropriately.

During a service, there are a number of parts that may need repairing or replacing, these include:

  • Brakes and steering
  • Oil filter and engine oil
  • Suspension
  • Car battery
  • Fluids and coolants
  • Tyres, bodywork, exhausts and lights

If your car is a hybrid or an electric car, then they’ll also check over your cables, connections and charging port.

There are three different types of car service available:

1. Interim Car Service

An interim service takes place every 6,000 miles, or six months, depending on which milestone you hit first. This service is often recommended for cars that do regular short trips and will check:

  • Lights
  • Fluid levels
  • Brakes
  • Suspension
  • Steering
  • Tyres

Once these vital parts have been monitored, if it needs to, the garage may also change the oil, replace the oil filter and test the drive belt.

2. Full Car Service

It’s best practice to have a full car service every 12 months, however, this can also be carried out before then if you’ve clocked up 12,000 miles since your last full service. It will include the same checks carried out in an interim service but will also analyse the health of your car in more detail.

During a full car service, a garage may carry out over 50 checks, including:

  • Testing the car’s battery
  • Assessing the engine to ensure that it’s functioning correctly
  • Removing and rotating wheels
  • Checking air conditioning
  • Monitoring the cooling system (including radiators, hoses and pumps)

3. Major Car Service

As the name suggests, a major car service is the most thorough and it’s advised that one should be carried out every 24 months or 24,000 miles. This process will cover all the tests carried out during a full service, exploring them in more depth. It may also cover:

  • Replacement of spark plugs
  • Changing brake fluid
  • Replacement of fuel filters
  • Inspection of the automatic oil transmission
  • Replacement of the odour and allergy filter

Having your car regularly serviced will keep it in peak condition and can extend its life. Here at Euro Car Parts, we’ll help you maintain your car until it needs to be serviced, thanks to our stock of more than 130,000 parts for all makes and models.