It’s easy to put off getting your car service. To your untrained eye, it all seems fine – it’s not making any funny noises, conking out on the middle of the freeway, and it stills rumbles like it always has when you start it in the morning.
But forgetting to service your car could be an extraordinarily costly mistake. There are plenty of things that can go wrong, and they may affect your hip pocket in subtle ways too. Some may be surprised to learn that being slack with maintenance can negatively affect your fuel economy, and not just elevate the risk of mechanical failure.
Fluids, for example, need to be regularly checked and changed to avoid moisture building up or oil degrading in quality, which can see your engine seize up when you least want it to, or have your brake fluid boil and become ineffective.
Taking your car in for a regular check-up will also ensure it remains roadworthy and help it retain resale value.
So, how often do you really need to service your car?
As a general rule, you should book your car in for a professional service every six months or 10,000km (whichever comes first). But every car is different and manufacturer’s recommendations on service schedules do vary, and this should be outlined in your car’s logbook or owner’s manual. It’s also worth checking these documents for the handy tips on maintenance you can do yourself, and how often parts should be replaced.
As a rule of thumb, you should have your car looked over at least once or twice a year, and the schedule should alternate between a minor service and a major service, so expect to pay a bit more every second booking.
More modern cars have longer service intervals, often 15,000km/12 months. Bear in mind though that modern engines are far more complex and often less tolerant of neglect, so don’t be tempted to squeeze an extra few months out between visits to your service department.