When you plan a quick trip to the garage, the last thing you want to hear is that your car is actually going to be stuck there for hours longer than you anticipated.
You could end up stranded, waiting endlessly at the garage until a hero partner, parent or flatmate comes and picks you up.
No matter what your car is in for, it’s good to know how long your car is likely to take. That way you can make other arrangements, or have someone pick you up, and bring you back to collect your car.
To help you avoid any tricky situations or hanging around the garage for hours on end, we’ve outlined how long a car service takes by each type of car service.
What’s a car service and why does it take 1hr+?
We've done a whole post on what a car service includes, but to summarise, it's a comprehensive look at the complex workings of a vehicle.
While you can carry out some DIY car maintenance yourself, your car needs regular servicing by a professional mechanic, even for your own peace of mind.
Given the number of checks car servicing involves, it naturally takes more time than other routine tests like your MOT.
But whether you go to an independent garage or dealership, the specific time required for your service mainly depends on the type of service you’re getting.
We’ve covered the different types of services, so here we’ll give you an idea of the times they’re likely to take.
How long does my first service take?
The first service for a new car is usually done once you hit the 12 month mark, or roughly 12,000 miles, and can often be a requirement of your car’s warranty. You shouldn’t need to have one done any earlier than this, but you can check your recommended service schedule in the car owner’s handbook.
As your car is pretty fresh, everything from the fuel efficiency to spark plugs should still be in good condition. There’s probably not much for your mechanic to do, so you’ll get your car back fairly fast.
You can check in with your garage beforehand, but for your first service we’d budget around 1-2 hours.
How long does an interim service take?
An interim service is carried out every 6 months, and is generally recommended if your car is regularly used for a high number of miles.
High mileage driving can take a toll on your car, so interim Services can help keep it in good condition with brake checks and fluid top ups.
It’s not quite as comprehensive as the full service. An interim service will only take around 1.5 hours.
You can find out exactly what the mechanic will look at in our “What does an interim service include” post.
How long does a full service take?
For a basic car of 3+ years, there’s more your garage is going to want to look over. With age and wear, you’re more likely to need coolant, brake fluid, air filter and oil filter changes.
You can check out our article on what a full service includes for a breakdown. Generally, a full car service takes around 3 hours.
We know it seems like a lot, but neglecting maintenance like an engine oil change can have a detrimental impact on your car at any stage of its life.
Read more about full servicing in our “What does a full service include?” post.
How long does a major service take?
A major service is the top dog of all servicing. Your mechanic will check everything included in a full service and more, so these are typically only done every 2 or 3 years.
The time for a major service really depends on the parts that need replacing, but it’ll likely take at least 3-4 hours.
For more on major services, check our “What does a major service include?” post.
How long does a combined MOT and service take?
If you’re looking to save a little time, and potentially some money, on the cost of a car service, you can get your service and MOT done all at once.
You won’t save much time on the actual service, as you just combine the time of the service and the MOT, but it does mean just one appointment per year. You can then use your service history to keep track of when your MOT is due too!
Getting your car serviced properly and on time is an important part of its maintenance, keeping it running smoothly for the years to come. If you've got a contract hire deal, you should take a look at our post on servicing a lease car.
You can check out our article on how often you should service your car, or look in your manual for the manufacturer recommendation on timeframes for servicing your vehicle.
Or if you’re still not sure which service is for you, head over to read about the different types of car services and the difference between an interim and full service if you’re stuck between the two!.