How often should you service your car and why?

14 June 2019

Have you ever delayed taking your car for a service? You’re probably not alone. And even if you think you’re too busy, it’s worth taking the time, as servicing your car at regular intervals does wonders. Here’s what you need to know about your next service.

You should service your car regularly

This is a bit of a no-brainer, but just how regular is regular? Well, that depends on the make of your car, its age, and its condition. It matters because you could wear out your tyres without knowing they need replacing, or worse, find that the engine fails — which aren’t fun situations to be in.

Most car manufacturers will give you specific timeframes and maximum distance intervals before your next service is due. Some recommend that cars be serviced every six months or 12,500 km, while others will be different, so it’s worth checking online.

If you take your car to the local mechanic or dealership, they’ll generally give you a similar timeframe for servicing but it all depends on what car you’re driving and how you’re driving it. For example, if you’re off-roading or driving on the beach regularly, you might want to service your car more often.

Why every six months (or 12,500 km)?

Getting your car serviced is a bit like going to the doctor for a check-up, it’ll give you a general idea of the health of your car and help you to get on top of potential issues, before they lead to huge headaches. Having a chat with your mechanic each time you visit is a good idea, especially if there’s a bigger job coming up that needs doing.

What might a standard service include?

A standard service conducted by your mechanic might include:

  • Checking your engine oil and filters
  • Repairing and replacing your spark plugs
  • Flushing and changing the fluids in your car
  • Checking your brakes.

Top tips when servicing your car

Before you take your car in for a service, here’s what you can do to keep your car in tip top shape.  

Schedule it in  

Just like you schedule in a trip to the dentist, you need to book your car in for an appointment. It not only gets you organised, but ensures that you actually get your car serviced. If you just wait until you have a free day you’ll rarely be able to get someone to look at it, especially when mechanics are busy.

The more you drive, the more your car will experience mechanical wear and tear. Even short distances can wear down engine oil. So, apart from the obvious benefits of preventing a future mechanical breakdown, there’s a reason why vehicle servicing is time-based or interval-based. Just remember to go with whichever comes first!

Find a good mechanic  

A good mechanic can keep your car in good shape and may even help you save on repairs. Finding a good mechanic can be dependant on whether your vehicle is under warranty or not. Your local dealership will service the car if it’s under warranty – however, even with a dealership you can choose different options if you’re unhappy with your local dealership mechanic.

If your car’s out of warranty, then it’s a good time to shop around for a mechanic. Reviews come in handy! You can find a mechanic online, through a referral from a friend, or even by paying a few mechanics a visit to discuss your car servicing needs. Whatever your approach, it’s a good idea to do your homework first.

Do the simple checks yourself

It doesn’t hurt to check up on your vehicle every once in a while to keep you safe on the road. Here are some tips and tricks on how to maintain your car:

  • Look out for any deterioration or damage to your car such as rust or scratches.
  • Check the condition of your tyres. A good tyre maintenance schedule should include regularly checking the treads for any signs of uneven wear or damage, and also checking their pressure at least once a month.
  • Changing your car’s fuse if something electrical has stopped working. With the right tools, you could be up and running in no time.
  • Check the coolant levels in your car. Coolant can evaporate or leak over time, so have a look if it’s been a while since your last service.
  • Do regular oil level checks. Having too little oil can lead to premature wear and tear of your engine.

Doing maintenance checks could save you money in the long run, so make sure you have the right tools on hand for the job.

Discover the Car Service Toolkit checklist

Whether you’re putting off a big service or delaying the fitting of a new set of tyres, it’s probably not going to help the resale value of your car. And just like going to the doctor, it’s important to feel like you’ve got things under control when something unexpected happens.

Explore Suncorp Car Insurance

Suncorp offers a great range of affordable car insurance cover to get you back on the road. From Third Party to Comprehensive Insurance, you can choose cover that’s suited to your needs. Get in touch with our friendly team to find the right cover for your needs.

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Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision about this insurance. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.