Driving Test SuccessPASSED HOME --- MAIN MENU Car Service - The Facts A car service is where a professional mechanic puts your car through a series of checks and tests. These checks and tests go way beyond the MOT, which really only checks to make sure your car is basically safe and road worthy.

A car service probes deeper into a car's working parts and, if done regularly, will prolong the life of the car and it's parts, save you money, reduce the risk of breaking down and make your car a safer drive.

All cars have a service schedule - filters, fluids, belts, brakes, pads, spark plugs and many other components need to be changed at specific intervals. Check you car manual for your car's specific service schedule.

Not all car services are the same. You may find the garage you take your car to offers different types of car service such as an interim car service, a full service and a major car service. If you take your car to be serviced annually, or if the car you have bought has been serviced regularly, then a full service will service. If your car hasn't been service for over a year then go for a major service.

Be aware that if during the service faults are found or parts are discovered that need replacing it could cost you more money than the stated car service fee. Always instruct the garage to call you before completing any work that will cost more money.

Should you use a local garage or registered dealer? Your car manual will always advise you take your car to be serviced (or for any repair work including an MOT) to a registered local dealer.

Their reasons for this are simple, they claim the dealership will have correctly trained mechanics and only use authorized parts and materials. These claims are no doubt true. However a local garage or, for that matter a national auto centre, is likely to be cheaper than a registered dealer and are just as likely to use properly trained mechanics and use quality parts and materials.

When taking your car to be serviced ask what checks are covered by the service. A full service should include the following:

Check handbrake for operation and travel
Check operation of exterior lights Check horn Check seatbelts Check ABS warning lights for correct operation Check heater plug indicator (Diesel) Check for correct clutch operation Top up battery if applicable and check security Check and top up brake and clutch fluid Check windscreen wipers Check windscreen washer operations and top up Check / top-up power steering reservoir where applicable Check coolant and antifreeze strength and top up Check condition and tension of fan / alternator belt. Adjust if necessary Check condition, tension and adjust as required auxiliary drive belts (excluding timing/cam belt) Replace oil filter Drain engine oil and refill (special or synthetic oils subject to additional charge) Check and top up gearbox oil where applicable Check and top up axle oil where applicable Check and top up automatic transmission fluids where applicable Check for general oil leaks Check wheel bearings for play or noise Check steering / suspension components for wear and corrosion Check steering rack gaitors if applicable Check shock absorbers for operation Remove front wheels and check discs / drums for wear, cracks, corrosion and scoring Check brake pads for wear or damage Check calipers for leaks and operation Remove rear wheels and check drums / discs for wear, cracks, corrosion and scoring Check brake shoes for wear or damage Inspect wheel cylinders for leaks and operation Visually check brake hydraulic system, pipes and hoses for leaks, chafing and corrosion Check security of hand brake linkages, lubricate if applicable Adjust handbrake if required Check propshaft / drive shaft and joints Check drive shaft gaiters for security and leaks Inspect exhaust system for leaks security and noise Check tyre condition, tread depth and record readings (including spare) Check and adjust tyre pressures (including spare) Check wheels for correct balance (including spare) Set wheel nut torque to manufacturer’s settings Reset vehicle service light where applicable Carry out battery test Check condition of fuel lines Visual inspection of HT lead Visual inspection of distributor cap Visual inspection of rotor arm if applicable Replace Spark plugs if applicable (platinum, long life or multi electrode plugs subject to extra charge) Replace air filter element Replace diesel fuel filter Check smoke emissions visually (Diesel) Lubricate throttle linkage if applicable Check radiator for leaks Check condition of radiator cap Check coolant hoses for leaks and condition Check expansion bottle and cap for leak Check electric cooling fan for operation where applicable Test and report brake fluid boiling point (if applicable) Lubricate bonnet catch Lubricate accessible door / hinges if required Grease steering / suspension and propshaft if applicable Check fuel cap condition Check tyres for indications of steering misalignment Check security of handbrake linkages and travel, lubricate and adjust if required Check windscreen condition Check mirror condition. Exterior Check mirror condition. Interior Check number plates Check for timing / cam belt replacement (report if due) Check for cabin / pollen filter replacement (report if due) Replace brake fluid and bleed system Replace petrol fuel filter