Car servicing and maintenance tips

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I passed my driving test on the first attempt when I was 17 so I have now been driving for almost 24 years. I didn’t get my own car though until I was 23 when I bought an old Vauxhall Nova for the princely sum of £150.

That little car did me proud though and I had it for over two years during which it went to France and back four times – and one of the only reasons it kept going for so long was because it was serviced and maintained. It probably would have lasted even longer except it got stolen and written off on New Year’s Eve 2003 and that was the end of the Nova!

My first car with its four keys

I’ve been a car owner ever since then though and I don’t think I realised at first how important car servicing and maintenance were. When I was younger (and had less money) I definitely used to skimp on services, not getting them done as regularly as I should and going for the cheaper, less thorough options. It usually comes back to bite you though – leading to things breaking and being more costly to repair because they have been maintained.

How often should you get your car serviced?

Did you know you should get your car serviced every 12 months, or every 12, 000 miles, whichever comes sooner? You should check your car manual though as some manufacturers recommend more regular checks, especially if you do a lot of short, urban journeys like I do, or if you cover a lot of miles regularly.

We do less than 12, 000 mile a year in both our cars so now we usually just get a full service at the same time as the MOT every year. It’s worth remembering that a service and MOT aren’t the same thing though – the MOT only checks whether your car is legally road worthy. There are lots of things it doesn’t include and this is why you also need a service.

Car service and maintenance tips

What does a full car service include?

So what do they check when you get your car serviced? You can find a full list here but basically the garage will check things like the lights, brakes, steering and suspension, tyres, and exhaust, plus change filters and top up fluids such as antifreeze, brake fluid and engine oil.

After a service you will probably get some recommendations of work that needs to be done, either urgently or things to keep an eye on that may need fixing / replacing in the near future. At our car service last year we were told that some parts of the brakes would need replacing but that it wasn’t critical yet. By this year the brakes had deteriorated more and we’ve just had to spend £600 getting the rear brakes replaced. Ouch!

But if we hadn’t have had the car serviced we wouldn’t have known about the brakes and they could have failed catastrophically leaving us with a lot worse than a £600 bill. Apparently having them replaced should also improve our fuel economy as they were actually partly seized on which would have been slowing the car down.

Things like changing oil and air filters are also necessary to keep the car running as it should and will also improve your fuel economy and emissions.

Selling your car on

Handing over car keys - Get the best price when selling your car

Getting your car serviced isn’t only important for keeping it running smoothly and safely, it can also be important when it comes to selling your car on. When you get a full service the garage should stamp your service book – cars that have a full service history will often sell for more than those that don’t. This is especially important if you have a newer car that you want to sell on after a few years. We tend to keep our cars for years and then sell them for peanuts when they become too expensive to repair but even so, having a service history can help us get a bit more for them when it comes to sale time.

I hope I’ve managed to convince you that having your car serviced and keeping it well maintained is worth it in the long run. If you’re in Fife where we used to live and looking for the best car servicing in Stirling, then get your car to Fife Autocentre and avail of a service like never before.

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