Why You Should Choose the Right Service for Your Car

There is no doubt that servicing your car regularly can save you a ton of money over the life of your car, but performing the wrong service at the wrong time on the other hand, can cost you a lot of money as well. The point of regular servicing is doing the right things at the right time, so in this article, we will take a closer look at what the different types of services entail.

Minor Services

Although service intervals and servicing requirements differ from car to car, there are some basic features of each type of service that are common to almost all cars during minor services. The items listed below are only a guide, and full particulars relevant to your car should be obtained from your dealer. Nonetheless, during the first service at about 30 000 kms, the following items are typically replaced, or checked. Doing more than this is a waste of money because is not necessary.

  • Replace engine oil.
  • Replace oil filter.
  • Replace spark plugs. (Excluding plugs with platinum electrodes.)
  • Replace security system remote controller batteries.

During this type of service, all other fluids will be checked, and topped up if required, in addition to a general inspection to check the general condition of tires, hoses, wipers, electrical system, etc.

Intermediate Services

This type of service also differs from car to car, but again, many features are common to almost all cars, and at this point, around 75 000 kms or so, it is important to make sure that the dealer carries out ALL of the prescribed checks and inspections to ensure your car is still in a safe, and reliable condition.

In addition to the tasks carried out during the first service, the dealer is required to do the following:

  • Inspect tension and condition of drive belts.
  • Inspect battery condition and performance.
  • Inspect air cleaner, and replace if required.
  • Inspect brake lines, hoses, and control cables.
  • Inspect all brake pads, and replace if required.
  • Inspect tire condition and pressures. (Including spare.)
  • Check all fluid levels, and top up if required.
  • Inspect body work for signs of corrosion.
  • Inspect steering system for leaks, free play, or other defects.
  • Lubricate all components that require regular lubrication.
  • Inspect all suspension components, for free play, damage, and/or damage to rubber dust boots.
  • Check all lights, switches, and electrical controls for correct operation.
  • Check wipers, windshield washer, and forced ventilation system for correct operation.
  • Road test vehicle.

Major Services

This type of service is usually carried out between 90 000-, and 110 000 kms, depending on the car, and the prescribed service interval, but at this point in the car’s life, there are bound to be defects that require the replacement of some parts to ensure the efficient, and trouble free operation of the vehicle. This type of service is also the most expensive, but provided the previous services were performed correctly, there should not be major defects or malfunctions that would require extensive repairs.

Typically, the following will be done during this service:

  • Replace engine oil and oil filter.
  • Replace spark plugs, including platinum or other long-life plugs.
  • Replace fuel filter.
  • Replace air filter element.
  • Replace wheel bearing grease where applicable.
  • Check wheel alignment, and adjust if required.
  • Replace brake fluid.
  • Replace automatic transmission fluid.
  • Replace security system remote batteries.
  • Replace timing belt and tensioning devices.
  • Check battery condition.
  • Replace PCV valve.
  • Perform diagnostic check to confirm the vehicle complies with emission standards.
  • Road test vehicle.

Typically, these checks and replacements will be in addition to the normal checks and inspections that are carried out during every service.

Severe Operating Conditions

What constitutes “severe operating” conditions depends on the vehicle, but these conditions will be spelled out very clearly in your service schedule, which provides for decreased service intervals in these cases.  However, the term “severe operating conditions” is subjective, but it is always a good idea to have your car serviced more regularly than normal if you operate your vehicle in any of the following conditions, despite the intervals listed in your particular schedule, so if you-

  • Regularly tow trailers
  • Regularly drive in very dusty, muddy conditions, or on roads that are treated with salt
  • Do repeated short trips (less than 8 kms) during freezing temperatures
  • Do extensive slow speed driving or drive in conditions where the engine runs at idle for long periods,

You need to discuss your servicing needs with you dealer of mechanic to keep your car operating at peak efficiency.