When a car is working fine and shows no signs of any issues it is all too easy to ignore the thought of getting it serviced. Why would you want to think about it?
The potential cost of parts and servicing means most people work on the premise “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
This is really not the best policy when it comes to keeping your car in top condition; there are a number of reasons why regular servicing can be hugely beneficial but below are the 3 big ones all car owners would do well to remember.
Booking your car in for a service may not seem like a safety measure but in actual fact, a well-serviced car is very often a safer car too.
Your car is made up of a vast array of different systems some of which keep the engine running, the wheels turning and the occupants safe. These systems all need to be checked and maintained to one degree or another and a manufacturer’s servicing schedule will cover these as a matter of course.
However, it is not just about keeping things like the airbags checked, however important that is, there is a broader safety consideration to think about.
If a driver has to brake heavily or even swerve to avoid a collision the car is subject to huge forces and it is these forces that could cause something to break. Poorly serviced cars may have parts that are in need of replacing or repair that seem to work fine on a daily commute but could fail with catastrophic effects of an accident.
Even something simple like the brakes can change the outcome of an accident vastly. A driver may feel the car stops as it should under normal circumstances but because they never brake heavily they may not notice the car pulling to one side. It is only under extreme pressure that this issue becomes apparent and could have very serious implications.
Everyone wants a reliable car. Reliability is one of the main factors people look at when considering buying a car. Of course economy, size and safety feature heavily in the buying process but research into running costs and how often it incurs repairs bills can make the difference between walking away and driving away from the forecourt.
As much as the design and quality of the car itself has an effect on reliability, so does servicing. Servicing your car regularly will have a huge effect on how reliable the car is during ownership. This works as well for new cars as it does well-worn used cars; the simple fact is a well-serviced car is less likely to break down than one that never sees the inside of a garage apart from MOT test days.
As with the safety consideration, parts wear out. It is a fact of life when running a car – making sure worn parts are changed before they fail can make the difference between being largely unaware a part exists, save the line on your service receipt, or sitting by the side the of the road waiting to be towed home cursing a CV joint or dying alternator.
As much as most people can understand that booking regular services can help avoid breakdowns, and even help keep a car as safe as it can be, many overlook another very important reason to not ignore that service warning light – maintaining the value of the car.
It is an odd situation that many people fail to factor this into their plans as they push the car another 1000 miles before admitting it might need a service. It is odd because anyone that ever goes to buy a used car always asks about the service history. A car with a full and clear service history is likely to be worth more on the used car market than one without, it is as simple as that.
So booking your car in for regular services not only keeps the car working, it also helps maintain the residual value too.
Yes it costs money to service a car and you might argue that will offset any gain in resale value but overall you will come off better by investing in regular services.
Not only is the car worth more but it will sell faster thus saving money on advertising and the like.
Where, When and How to book a service
For a lot of people, the idea of booking a service is actually quite annoying, there is an inbuilt fear of getting ripped off at garages.
Most people will have a story of a friend who paid twice as much as he or she should have. But these days there are some really useful garage guides that vet the service centres to make sure they are all above board.
Try something like the AA Garage Guide where you can search by postcode and find local garages to you, and these guides allow you to actually book the work in too.
There is also an issue for many people about how often to book a service. There are lots of different types of service so the best bet is to do some research online or speak to the manufacturer themselves.
As a general rule, a car should get a full service once a year if it is out of warranty and getting on a bit. But newer cars come with a servicing schedule to follow and follow it you should!
Newer cars may go 10,000 miles between services or more, but as a car gets older it is just good practice to make sure it gets regular care and attention, and this doesn’t just mean cars that are 20+ years old.
It is more about mileage, so if you have owned a car for 8 or 9 years and you have done a lot of miles it is worth booking it in for more regular oil changes and services.
Keep your car safe, keep it working well and keep the residual value as high as you can by making sure you keep it serviced and maintained.