Saturday, 30 March 2013

What Is A Car Service? And What is Involved?

What is a car service
Car Service Using a Ramp

In the automotive trade there are questions that mechanics and office staff in garages all over the world, are asked time and time again. 

What is a Car Service? Isn't it the same as an MOT Test? How Much does a Car Service cost? Are the main questions I have seen asked.

Well lets get stuck in and answer some of these rightly asked questions. (At the end of the day if your're paying for a service you have the right to know what it is!)

What is a Car Service?

A service is routine maintenance on you car that is required to be carried out at intervals determined by the manufacture. This can be mileage based or time based. It is not required by law, but it is required to be carried out to keep your manufactures warranty valid. It is also law in the UK to maintain your car in a roadworthy condition and correct servicing will help to ensure your vehicle is roadworthy. A car service is carried out to a standard that is laid down by the manufacture. In nearly all circumstances a specific set of checks and part or lubricant replacement are to be carried out at a specific mileage or time. This set of checks can vary wildly between service intervals and different manufactures. Failure to carry out these checks correctly and recording the service in the car's service history can void a car's warranty, de-value a car and leave it in a non roadworthy condition. To conform to most warranty terms and conditions parts used during a service must conform to original fitments specifications. This is not required when out of warranty but is recommended, as it can prevent premature wear and failure of associated parts i.e using a poor quality oil filter could result in premature engine failure.

Where can I get my Car Serviced?

A common misconception in the UK and Europe is that you must get your car serviced at the main dealers to keep the warranty valid! This is untrue! Because of European legislation you are in fact free to have your car serviced anywhere you like. Provided the garage follows the manufactures recommended schedule, uses original equipment parts and lubricants and fills out the service history correctly. This is brilliant for the customer as it allows you to ensure you are getting fair and competitive pricing.

Is a Car Service the same as an MOT Test?

In a word No! I'll explain why. The MOT Test only tests vehicles to the minimum standards laid out in the MOT inspection manual, see this article here MOT Test How To Pass First Time. During the MOT the removal of parts i.e Hub caps, road wheels, access panels and engine covers is strictly forbidden making it nearly impossible to test what is underneath. During the service things like road wheels may be removed to allow full inspection of things like brakes, steering and suspension  Without this removal faults or underlying problems may be missed. The MOT test also does not cover lubricant and filter replacement of refilling of low fluid levels. 

How much does a Car Service cost?

This can vary by massive amounts. But i won't leave it there! I'l give you some advice on getting the best price and being prepared for the bill. OK so you car is due a service what do you do? First thing is first, phone around for a price from various garages. Ask them to provide you with the list of items that will be checked and ask them if this is in-line with the manufactures recommendations. If in doubt first get a price and list of items from the main dealer then compare the list given by other garages to the one obtained by the manufacture. Next ask the garage whether they will be using original equipment parts and lubricants. Another thing to ensure you get the best price is once you have compiled a list of prices ring each garage back and let them know the lowest price and see if they will compete with that price. When presenting your car for service always ask the garage not to carry out any extra work required until you have been notified and agreed the costs. Ask the garage if they have a work authorisation sheet for you to sign and ensure you read it fully. 

I really hope this helps answer the original question of 'What is a Car Service?' Have you any further questions about servicing? Ask us in the comments.


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