Car Servicing - When Do You Need It?
Why Cars Need Servicing
Car servicing reasons can vary wildly depending on who you ask; from car reliability & catching problems early to retaining car value or keeping a warranty valid. Whatever your reason, it is important to understand what happens during car servicing.
What Is Car Servicing?
Along with your annual MOT test, car servicing is a booking you should arrange each year to keep your vehicle in tip-top condition, and keep running costs down. By spending a little bit each year, you can save on potential repairs identified while your vehicle is on a ramp. Read our article for a full run down on each, a summary is:
MOT test - a visual inspection of your vehicle
Car servicing - inspection of a vehicle's mechanical functioning
Annual garage maintenance is sometimes compared to visiting the dentist - your MOT is your checkup while the car service would be your trip to the hygienist. Like the dentist, it pays to address problems as quickly as possible!
Manufacturer guidelines, and most motorists (including us!) generally recommend a service every calendar year, or 10,000 miles depending on which occurs nearer (your motoreasy account can send a reminder). If you're carrying out servicing annually it can pay to have it carried out at the same time as your MOT Test.
Some vehicles will also display a service light that blinks on dashboard when servicing is due.
If you aren't sticking to annual servicing and have no car warranty obligations there are some obvious signs which should prompt you into booking car servicing:
Car Servicing 1: It Becomes Uncomfortable
It may be hard to spot this, we get used to how a car behaves and sometimes get used to faults. The general rule is, when the car becomes uncomfortable, say crashing over bad roads, or bouncing all suggests that there are suspension problems. Also, any handling issues that make it handle in an unpredictable manner.
Car Servicing 2: It Pulls To One Side Under Braking
This issue can also be related to problems with the suspension, but mostly unpredictable behaviour under braking suggests that the brakes need adjustment, or new pads and discs.
Car Servicing 3: Funny Noises
There are so many strange noises that a car can make and can be traced to a whole number of potential faults. Essentially, any loud, or regular noise like scraping is bad. Not just bad it needs to be investigated. The really obvious noises are a blown exhaust, worn brake pads, loose drive belts.
Car Servicing 4: Smoke Or Steam
Hopefully you won’t miss this when it happens, otherwise you may need to visit the optician. Smoke is an engine thing and is a result of burning oil. That can mean there are many engine issues, usually related to wear and tear. Steam is usually an overheating problem as the coolant evaporates.
Car Servicing 5: An Engine Light Comes On
And finally, here is something you should never ignore; the lights on your dashboard. At the lowest level there might be a gentle reminder to take your car for a service via a glowing spanner. If however, there is a yellow engine check light, this is much more serious and it is essential to make a garage appointment. There are also lots of other warning lights and possibly messages on the dashboard. Indeed, the only way to put these out is to visit a garage.
IMPORTANT: DASHBOARD WARNING LIGHTS
- Yellow Light - avoid driving & arrange a workshop diagnosis.
- Red Light - stop driving immediately to prevent further damage.
Further car maintenance reading:
Don't overpay on garage labour rates
Stop car theft in 5 simple steps