Car Servicing Guide

Car services are a fundamental part of looking after your vehicle. A service will not only help your car run at its optimum, it will make your vehicle more efficient which could save you money and be safer to drive.

Car Service Locations

The Nationwide Service Repair Network is a great website where you can find prices for MOTs and services in your area. They are a series of UK’s independent garages prices start at just £89.99 for a Service and £39 for an MOT. For more information, visit the Nationwide Service Repair Network website.

Car Service Categories

Most garages offer the following types of car service:

car service

You can find more information about the difference between the services below:

Oil Change Service

This should be carried out between services or before taking a long journey. Oil is vital to keep your engine running smoothly as it lubricates vital components. Here’s what an oil service includes:

  • Oil and oil filter change
  • Tyre, battery, wiper and lights checks
  • Top up of essential fluids such as brake fluid, windscreen washer fluid and power steering

An oil change service is not classed as a service so your car’s book will not be stamped, this only happens after an interim or full service.

Interim Car Service

An interim car service should usually be carried out every 6 months or 6,000 miles. This will keep your car safe and roadworthy in-between full services.

Full Car Service

Full car service checklist
A full car service should be carried out every 12,000 miles or 12 months (or at the interval specified by your manufacturer) to keep your car maintained correctly. It is important to have a full service carried out as a trained mechanic could spot damage early and prevent further costs if something were to go wrong with your car. It is unlikely that you will be able to spot any potential problems yourself.

Take a look at the car service checklist below to see what is typically carried out during both an interim service and a full service.

Car Service Checklist

Service Checklist Interim Service Full Service
Vehicle history check, including customer comments and recommendations tick tick
Check for damage to trims, number plates, bodywork and mirrors etc tick tick
Checking of timing belt interval tick tick
ABS check including all interior warning lights and horn tick tick
Condition and operation of all seatbelts checked tick tick
Operational checks of interior and exterior lights and switches tick tick
Front and rear windscreen wipers and washers checks tick tick
Condition checked of the security of windscreen and rear view mirror tick tick
Fuel cap check tick tick
Air conditioning check tick tick
Top up power steering reservoir if needed tick tick
PAS and auxiliary and fan belts checks tick tick
Air filter check tick tick
Condition and security of battery checked tick tick
Clutch operation check tick tick
Handbrake operation and travel check tick tick
Gearbox oil/axel oil/transfer box oil (if applicable) checked and topped up tick tick
All under bonnet fluid levels checked and topped up tick tick
Brake fluid checked and topped up tick tick
Anti-freeze checked and topped up tick tick
Clutch fluid checked and topped up tick tick
Door hinges, catches and locks lubricated cross tick
Coolant system checked for leaks cross tick
Engine cooling fan checked cross tick
Operation of throttle checked and lubrication as required cross tick
Air filter replaced cross tick
Spark plugs replaced if needed (at extra cost) cross tick
Condition of HT leads checked cross tick
Under body inspection including checks for any corrosion tick tick
Engine oil replaced tick tick
Oil filter replaced tick tick
Condition and security of steering, suspension, mountings and gaitors checked tick tick
Exhaust system for security and leaks checked tick tick
Security of fuel lines, brake pipes, hoses and handbrake cables visually checked tick tick
Checks for signs of leakage from cylinders / callipers (if applicable) tick tick
Condition of distributor cap checked cross tick
Checks for engine and gearbox mounts for wear cross tick
Starter motor cranking operation and security tests cross tick
Visual inspections of radiator and coolant pipes/hoses for security and leaks cross tick
All wheel bearings checked for noise / free play cross tick
Condition of tyres checked including adjustment to tyre pressures (if needed) tick tick
Brake pads/shoes checked and recorded for condition & operation tick tick
Drums and discs checked and recorded for condition and operation tick tick
Remove wheels & check condition and operation of front and rear brakes cross tick
Wheels re-fitted (if needed) / set wheel nut torque cross tick
Final checks cross tick
Road test carried out tick tick
Exhaust emissions and idle speed checked tick tick
Service light re-set (most models) tick tick
Service book stamped tick tick

Tools needed for a Car Service

To complete a car service, the mechanic will need the following tools and spares:

  • Oil filter removal tool,
  • Spanner set up for sump,
  • Screw driver,
  • Jack,
  • Tyre inflator,
  • Oil catch pan,
  • Oil filter,
  • Air filter,
  • Anti freeze,
  • Tyres,
  • Washer fluid