What Does a Car Service Cover?

You’ve probably heard the term car service floating around the automotive world quite a bit. And if you’re new to the world of cars, you might be wondering what it actually means.

To help clear up some of the confusion, I’ve written this guide, unpicking all the different types of car service. So have a read and if you have any questions are the end, just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

What is a car service?

Like most things, cars need regular maintenance to keep them operating at their best. Services are designed to replace or refresh car components and consumables that have a limited lifespan. Typically, this includes things like engine oil, air filters, spark plugs, brake pads, belts, hoses, cables and gaskets. During a service, the mechanic will also inspect various components for wear and damage.

Precisely what is included will depend on the age and model of your car as well as the quality of the service the garage offers. While much of the work can be done by DIY car maintenance bods, leasing deals and warranties may require you to have your car serviced by an accredited garage.

What does an interim service include?

An interim service is the cheapest, most basic level of car service you’ll find. It’s the first point where you get a stamp in your logbook and can reset the car service clock.

Interim services are useful for high mileage drivers (over 20,000 miles per year) and are recommended every six months or 6,000 miles. Again, garages will have different recommendations so don’t take the time or distance as being set in stone.

At a minimum, interim services should include: an oil change, an oil filter change, a cabin air filter change, a coolant top up, a brake fluid top up and a wheel rotation.

Alongside that, the garage should check a wide range of things, commonly including bodywork, wheels, brake operation, steering controls, oil leaks, timing belt, spark plugs, clutch operation, gearbox operation, lights, brake pads and tyre tread depth.

Services are often advertised in terms of points. For example, a 49-point service or a 76-point service. The number of points is the number of things the garage will check.

What does a full service include?

A full service is your comprehensive annual check up. A full service will include everything in the interim service and a few extras.

At a minimum, full services should replace or top up: engine oil, oil filter, air filter, cabin air filter, engine coolant, brake fluid, gearbox fluid, power steering fluid. The garage should also lubricate moving parts like the prop and axel.

Alongside replacements and top ups, the garage will also check everything they did in the interim service and a bunch more stuff like the radiator, fuel lines, brake servos, mirrors, door locks and more.