How much should a car service cost?

How much does it cost to service a car?

According to searches and statistic figures, the average price for a car service in the UK is £125.

But which service is that?

There are a selection of different service alternatives to choose from—from the less intensive interim option to full or major service procedures.

Given the varying amount of work that goes into each, it’s not really sensible to lump them all together into that £125 price bracket, so breaking them down into their different areas should give you a slightly better idea of what to expect.

Full, major or interim: how much does the service cost?

There are generally three types of service offered to motorists, and each at a different level of inspection and operation.

The cost of a major service

A major service, as its name suggests, is the complete inspection and upkeep operation. Your car will undergo as many checks as you can imagine to keep it running at its best possible health. This should hopefully lengthen its life, improve its performance and avoid any mechanical issues by spotting, and rectifying them, nice and early.

For this extensive investigation, the renewal of consumable parts and replaceable fluids, you can expect to pay anywhere between £150 and £500 depending on the make and model of your car.

Don’t hold us to any of these figures though! They’re purely ballpark estimations from our industry experience.

The price differences suggested look pretty big, and the reason for this is simple. The more expensive your car was to buy, the more expensive it’s likely to be in its upkeep.

Smaller, simpler cars with smaller, simpler service costs

If you drive a pretty small and simple city car, you can expect to fall into the lowest end of the price range. All you Fiesta, Micra and Polo drivers can relax; a service shouldn’t be something to break the bank. You should hopefully be looking at the £150 mark.

Mid-sized cars for mid-ranged service prices

For those who drive a bigger model, a typical family car let’s say, then you’re going to drop into a price point band that’s a little higher. We’d estimate somewhere either side of the £200 mark depending on who you choose to carry out the work.

Ford Focuses, VW Golfs, an Astra or a Civic, or any of the more affordable SUVs that are fast becoming the family car of the nation, we’d expect to set you back somewhere around this figure. It could be a little lower; it may be a little more. But as we say, we’re offering a ballpark figure here, so be prepared to see some sway. Where you live could also play its part. There are more than a handful of pertaining factors.

Paying the premium for premium vehicles

And those higher prices? Well, they’d be for your luxury saloons, sports cars, high-end SUVs and more.

What we’re saying here is, it’s a matter of common sense.

The parts for a Skoda are going to be a little more affordable than, let’s say, your average BMW or Audi. An oil change on a Picanto will take a lot less fluid than that of Range Rover. If your car sits somewhere in the middle of the sliding scale—then your price should too.

How much does a full service cost?

Skipping down a level, your full service will still get you a good overhaul, often with the same mass of checks the major service will get you but with fewer upgrades on your parts. It should still get you the oil and fluid changes, most of the significant filters, but you probably won’t see new plugs or the less essential cabin filters.

Due to the slightly less intensive level of service, the price drops accordingly.

We’d suggest that this is the option the nation’s motorists shell out for once a year for a pretty thorough once over—and rightly so. Preventing those expensive failures, and keeping your car roadworthy is worth the hundred or so pounds it’s going to cost, never mind the peace of mind and security when it comes to the safety of yourself and your family.

The interim service cost

An interim service does exactly as it suggests. For high-mileage drivers, your car parts are going to work harder and wear quicker than those who only use their cars to nip to the shops or the mums and dads on the school run.

Auto fluids will require more regular replacement, and the filters that are doing double the work of the casual driver will wear twice as fast.

A typical interim service will include an oil and oil filter change, top-ups to screenwash, antifreeze, brake, power steering and battery fluids (where required).

You won’t get the mass of checks a full or major service tends to include, as they’ll be left to those yearly undertakings, but you’ll get some of the more important ones to make sure your car is safe to keep working as hard it is.

How much should an MOT and service cost?

Given that every year you must renew your MOT certificate to drive your vehicle on the road legally, it seems a good time to kill those two birds with one stone.

Getting your car serviced at the same time as your MOT keeps everything neat and tidy, and also there’s a good chance it will save you some money.

Many of the repairs required from failures highlighted by your MOT test can be included in the service. It will also save the time and inconvenience of your car being off the road on two or three occasions, instead of only the once.

Look out for special offers that include an MOT as part of your service, or the reduction in MOT price.

The price of an MOT test isn’t set in stone and garages can charge up to £54.85 for their trouble. If you choose a garage or mechanic who will reduce the cost (and some offer an MOT for as little as £20) because you’re committing to a full service, then that’s money worth having back in your pocket straight away.

From dealer to mobile mechanics—just how much the cost to service a car differs

If you’re looking to save money, it pays to shop around.

Where you go for your vehicle service plays a big part and has a real impact on what you get for your money.

A dealership could end up charging as much as £92.11 per hour—that’s the average rate for franchised dealers—where independent garage rates will be much lower. Their average for the UK is currently £63.56/hr.

The savings are much greater if you consider the big picture

When you look at the costs you could incur from an engine seizing by not keeping a close eye on your water pump or cambelt; a £150 service bill seems a lot more affordable than paying out for a new car or an engine replacement.

Look after your car, and it should look after you. Treat it to a good service once a year, and it should treat you to the extended life of stress-free motoring we all expect from our cars.