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How Often Should You Service Your Car For Optimal Performance?

Car servicing and how often it should be done on your vehicle is very important for optimal safety and performance. But, does everyone understand what servicing involves and its significance? Statistics show that only half of all UK car owners keep up regular servicing of their vehicles.

A well-maintained vehicle is more efficient, performs better, and will generally last longer, making regular car servicing a must. But the all-important question remains: car servicing, how often should it be done?

Why Regular Car Servicing Matters

Car servicing might seem like a burdensome chore, but it’s essentially preventive healthcare for your vehicle. Regularly serviced cars are less likely to face breakdowns, meaning you’re less likely to get stranded on a lonely road or pay hefty repair bills. You’re also less likely to face nasty surprises during the yearly inspection.

Regular servicing increases the life of your vehicle, improves fuel efficiency, and, most importantly, ensures your car is safe to drive. Remember, a stitch in time saves nine—or in this case, a service in time saves a whole heap of potential problems down the road.

Understanding Car Servicing Schedules

When it comes to how often is a car service required? Typically, most manufacturers recommend that you get your car serviced every 12,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first. However, this can vary depending on your car’s make and model, the age of your vehicle, and your driving style.

Different vehicles may require different servicing schedules. For instance, an older car might need more frequent check-ups compared to a newer one. Heavy-duty vehicles used for towing or commercial purposes may need more frequent servicing, while electric cars might have different servicing needs altogether.

Always consult your vehicle’s handbook for the manufacturer’s recommendations.


Related Reading: How To Check A Car’s Service History


The Mechanics of Car Servicing

Basic car servicing typically includes an oil and filter change, and a general health check of the major parts of your vehicle. This might involve checking your brakes, tyres, lights, fluid levels, and exhaust, among other things. Some services might also include a check of your vehicle’s battery, a test of the alternator, and a look at the car’s suspension.

Intermediate and full services usually involve a more thorough investigation of your vehicle. This could include checking the condition of your spark plugs, coolant hoses, drive belts, wheel bearings, and more. Full services will also often involve checking the vehicle’s steering and suspension for signs of wear and tear.

Typically, a basic service is recommended every 12 months or 12,000 miles. An intermediate service is often suggested at the 24-month or 24,000-mile mark, while a full service is typically recommended every 36 months or 36,000 miles.

However, as with all things car-related, these figures are only a guide. It’s always best to check with your manufacturer or a trusted mechanic.

DIY Car Servicing: What Can You Do?

While certain aspects of car servicing require professional expertise, there are many things that you can do at home to keep your vehicle in top shape. Regular checks of your oil and coolant levels, tyre pressures and treads, and lights can help you spot any issues early.

While some tasks can be performed at home, remember that some aspects of car servicing are best left to the professionals. If you’re not entirely comfortable with a task, or it requires specialised tools or knowledge, it’s better to consult a professional.


In conclusion, regular car servicing is an investment in your vehicle’s health. Whether it’s a basic, intermediate, or full service, maintaining a regular schedule will ensure that your car remains reliable, safe, and efficient. While the question of “car servicing, how often?” can depend on various factors, it’s safe to say that an annual service is a good starting point. Happy driving!


Related Reading: When To Replace Your Car Battery


Car Servicing FAQ

What is car servicing?

Car servicing refers to the maintenance and inspection of a vehicle to ensure its optimal performance and longevity. During a car service, various components, such as the engine, brakes, fluids, and filters, are checked, repaired, or replaced if necessary. Regular car servicing helps prevent breakdowns, improves fuel efficiency, and prolongs the lifespan of the vehicle.

How often should I service my car?

The frequency of car servicing depends on various factors, including the car manufacturer’s recommendations, the age of the vehicle, and the driving conditions. As a general guideline, it is recommended to service your car every 12 months or every 10,000 to 15,000 miles, whichever comes first. However, it is best to consult your car’s owner’s manual or a qualified mechanic to determine the specific service intervals for your vehicle.

What are the benefits of regular car servicing?

Regular car servicing offers several benefits. It helps identify potential issues early on, preventing costly repairs in the future. It ensures that all components are functioning optimally, improving safety and reliability. Additionally, routine servicing enhances fuel efficiency, extends the life of the vehicle, and helps maintain its resale value.

What does a typical car service include?

A typical car service includes several essential maintenance tasks. These tasks may vary depending on the service package or the specific needs of your vehicle. Generally, a car service involves inspecting and replacing engine oil and filters, checking and topping up fluid levels (such as coolant, brake fluid, and transmission fluid), inspecting and adjusting the brakes, checking the battery, examining tyres and tyre pressure, inspecting the suspension and steering components, and conducting a general safety inspection.

How long does a car service usually take?

The duration of a car service can vary depending on the type of service, the specific tasks involved, and the condition of the vehicle. In most cases, a standard car service can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. However, if additional repairs or maintenance tasks are required, the duration may be longer. It is advisable to check with your service provider or mechanic for a more accurate estimate based on your specific requirements.


Related Reading: Why Is My Car Making A Noise?


Can I service my car myself?

While some basic car maintenance tasks can be performed by car owners themselves, such as checking fluid levels or replacing wiper blades, it is generally recommended to have a professional mechanic service your car. Qualified mechanics have the necessary expertise, tools, and equipment to conduct comprehensive inspections, identify potential issues, and perform complex repairs or adjustments. They also have access to manufacturer-specific information and technical knowledge, ensuring that the service is performed correctly and in accordance with the car’s requirements.

What happens if I skip car servicing?

Skipping or neglecting car servicing can have several negative consequences. Without regular maintenance, minor issues can go unnoticed and develop into major problems, resulting in costly repairs. Additionally, the performance and fuel efficiency of the vehicle may decrease over time. Skipping servicing can also void warranties provided by the manufacturer. Regular car servicing is essential to ensure the safety, reliability, and longevity of your vehicle.

How much does a car service typically cost?

The cost of a car service can vary depending on several factors, including the type of service, the make and model of the vehicle, and the service provider. A basic car service typically starts around £100, but this price can increase if additional repairs or parts replacement are required. It is recommended to obtain quotes from different service providers and compare their offerings to find the best value for your specific needs.

Can car servicing help improve fuel efficiency?

Yes, regular car servicing can help improve fuel efficiency. During a car service, components that directly impact fuel consumption, such as air filters, fuel filters, and spark plugs, are checked and replaced if necessary. Additionally, the engine is inspected and tuned to ensure it operates at optimal efficiency. Properly maintained and tuned components contribute to better fuel combustion, resulting in improved mileage and fuel efficiency for your vehicle.

Is car servicing required even if my car is running fine?

Yes, car servicing is still necessary even if your car is running fine. Regular servicing is not only about fixing existing problems but also about preventing potential issues. Many underlying issues may not be apparent until they worsen and lead to breakdowns or expensive repairs. By conducting regular servicing, you can identify and address minor problems early on, saving you from major repairs and ensuring the ongoing reliability and performance of your vehicle.