Mechanic Gore – If you look after your car properly, you’ll be far less likely to get hefty repair bills in the future. Find out why your car’s service manual is your best friend, how to locate a good garage and get a fair price.
How often should a car be serviced?
To keep your vehicle in the best possible condition it should typically be serviced every year.
However, there are some age and mileage milestones you need to be aware of. For example, the distance you can cover between oil changes.
These will be shown in the cars manual, along with the tasks needing to be completed.
Caring for your car saves money
Getting your car serviced each year – and maintaining it between services – is money well spent. Problems are likely to be caught early on when they’re cheaper to fix, and your car will have a better resale value and longer life.
A well-maintained car is also more efficient, so you’ll save money on fuel as well. If you need to claim on a warranty you’ll normally have to show your car’s got a complete service record.
Get to know your car’s service manual
Your car’s service manual is the key to keeping your vehicle in good repair.
Written by the people who designed and built your car, it should show:
- How often you’ll need to get your car serviced.
- When the car’s replaceable parts might need changing.
- How often regular maintenance tasks need to be carried out – for example, oil changes.
It’s also a good idea to use the service manual to plan for the cost of your car’s maintenance and repair bills.
To avoid spending money on your car unnecessarily, always follow the schedule in the service manual.
For example, many dealerships and quick oil-change chains will typically recommend an oil change twice as often as your car needs.
Watch out for dashboard messages
Most cars now have dashboard warning messages about a wide range of topics, including issues with the braking system, engine, oil and coolant levels, and tyre pressure.
Your car owner’s manual will explain what each lit-up warning message means and what you need to do.
A few of the messages are particularly urgent – they mean you need to pull off the road and stop the engine immediately.
So if you see a lit-up warning message, always check it out straight away.
It could save you hefty repair costs later, or even prevent you being a danger to other motorists and pedestrians.
The cost of skipping servicing
When money’s short it can be tempting to skip servicing your car. But if you do this you risk much bigger bills later.
The cost of a service is far less than the cost of having to replace parts later because of damage through poor maintenance.
For example – a radiator, water pump or cylinder head gasket could be very costly.
Keep an eye on the cambelt
Check your service manual to find out when your car is next due to have its cambelt (the camshaft drive belt or timing belt) replaced.
This varies from car to car, but is often needed at around 100,000 to 120,000 kilometers.
Cambelt replacement can seem expensive but if it fails while you’re driving, you could face serious engine damage costing much more to fix than changing it when recommended.
Look after your tyres
Caring for your car’s tyres will not only save you money, but also keep it safe to drive.
If your tyres are in poor condition they could blow out on a busy road or lose traction in poor weather and cause a crash.
Stick to the recommended tyre pressures in your manual and check them regularly.
Tyres over or under pressure wear unevenly and will need to be replaced sooner.
Another cause of uneven tyre wear is the tracking being out of alignment, which can be checked and repaired at any garage.
Depending on your car, tyres can be costly but it makes sense to get maximum mileage out of them.
Choosing where to get your car serviced
With higher overheads and staff commission, dealerships are nearly always a more expensive choice for servicing and repairs than independent garages.
Drive in today or give us a call on 03 208 1185