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Scheduled car check-ups: what you should get and when

By David Bonnici, 12 Jul 2018 Car Advice

Scheduled car check-ups: what you should get and when

Regular servicing takes the guess work out of car maintenance, but there are some things you should be checking yourself

Having your car serviced regularly can be a bit of an inconvenience, especially if you cover a lot of kilometres, but doing it right and in a timely manner can extend the life of your engine, reduce fuel consumption, increase the safety of your vehicle, prevent wear of moving parts, maintain road-worthiness and improve resale value. Quite worthwhile, you might say.

Servicing frequency varies between different cars and manufacturers. The most reliable resource for your car’s regular service timing is its logbook, which is usually found in the glovebox. As a general rule most cars benefit from a service at least once a year, or after 10-15,000km since the last service, whichever comes first. The basic necessity here is an oil change, but it provides an opportunity for your mechanic to check other vital signs, as well as the condition of your tyres and brakes, which are critical for safety.

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There are two main types of service: minor and major. The intervals between major services are long, and there are usually one or two minor services in between them. This pattern should be continued even after the warranty period has expired to ensure longevity of your vehicle.

MINOR SERVICE

Generally includes:

  • Engine oil and oil filter change
  • Air and fuel filter check
  • General inspection (fluids, belts, hoses and brakes)
  • Tyre check and rotation
  • Battery test

Read next: Should you get your car serviced at the dealership?

MAJOR SERVICE

Generally includes all minor service inspections, plus:

  • Engine check
  • Lights check
  • Spark plug replacement
  • Air-conditioner filter check
  • Brake fluid and brakes check
  • Coolant flush
  • Transmission service
  • Wheel alignment
  • Windscreen wiper replacement
  • Suspension check
  • Repack wheel bearings
  • Full-vehicle inspection and correction of any issues
  • Tuning if necessary

Some high-wearing components such the battery, windscreen wipers, light globes and tyres can deteriorate or fail between services, so it’s worth giving them a quick visual check once a month. Also check fluids such as oil, radiator coolant, windscreen washer and brake fluid, as well as the air pressure in your tyres to stop them wearing out too quickly and costing you money.