Is my car due a service?

There are a handful of ways to decide when your next car service is due. Your service date could depend on the age of the car, its performance or even how long you’ve owned it.

New car service history

Just because your car is new and feels like nothing could possibly go wrong with it, servicing is an essential part of protecting it from just that. For many new cars, servicing will be part of its warranty conditions.

Your manufacturer’s handbook will outline which service level you’ll need and by which dates. You’ll receive a stamp in the handbook to show the completed work. This creates an excellent record of the vehicle’s care and maintenance schedule.

When it comes to selling a car, however old, its service record shows potential buyers just how lovingly it’s cared for.

New-to-you-car servicing

Depending on where you bought your used car, it could be a sensible option to have it checked over and given an appropriate level of service.

If you’ve bought a used car from a dealer, there’s a strong chance that they will have carried out some kind of service. They may even have added a years’ MOT as part of the deal. However, if you’ve bought a car via private sale, there are no guarantees to the state of its care. A full service could be just the ticket for beginning your new life together, knowing everything is intact and in the best possible condition.

When is my service due? Typical mileages

Depending on whether you’re a high- or low-mileage driver, the frequency of your car services could be different from those of the typical driver.

There are 3 types of service: Interim, Full and Major. As well as dictating when you should book in for your service, the mileage you cover, or the time between services, will also help answer the question, what services does my car need?

  • Interim service
    Every 6 months for high-mileage drivers, or at around every 6,000 miles.
  • Full service
    This is the standard service most drivers will carry out each year. However, if you drive the estimated 12,000 miles before your year is up, then we’d suggest that you book a full service in earlier. That way, you can make sure all the consumables and components are in the appropriate condition.
  • Major service
    A major service is considered a bi-annual event, carried out every 2 years. Alternatively, for those high-mileage drivers, at around a further 24,000 miles of driving. This service is the most intensive, with almost all fluids and filters changed and with safety and health checks far more widespread and thorough.

Signs that your car is ready for a service

We’ve put together a few ideas for drivers who regularly let their service plan slide, and can’t remember when their last one was. Here are a few telltale signs that it’s time to bite that bullet and book it in.

Warning lights

You’d be amazed at how many people continue to drive their cars with an illuminated warning light screaming at them from the dashboard. Plenty of modern vehicles will tell you when your service is due—often with a warning light in the shape of a spanner.

If your car lights up any yellow warning lights, they need checking out at soon as you get chance. Their job is to help you spot something that’s not quite right before it grows into a much more serious problem. Why not take the opportunity to get the rest of your car checked over at the same time? You know what they say: bad things usually come in threes…

Unusual noises

There are many ways that your car will talk to you. Unusual noises are an audible voice you shouldn’t ignore. Here’s a list of typical whines and moans your car could make, and what they might mean.

Whining from the engine compartment

This is almost always caused by a loose belt. It’s a critical item to look into as loose belts can lead to heating problems, battery failure, and even fatal engine damage.

Noisier than normal exhaust systems

Any holes or cracks in your exhaust system, or joints that are loose or badly connected, will lead to loud noises that need attending to.

Uneven engine sounds and misfiring

You’re more likely to hear these suspect sounds when your engine is idling. If you detect misfires, uneven sound patterns, or you feel small jumps as the engine ticks over—it’s time to get them examined. It could be something as minor as ageing spark plugs, but it could just as easily be something far more severe.

Scraping sounds

If your car emits any metal-on-metal scraping sounds, then something has already broken. Just because it’s already broken, doesn’t mean the damage is done and you can ignore it. Your current problem could lead to far more severe issues, interfering with any of the other nearby parts on the vehicle.

Squealing brakes

More often than not, this is a sign of excessive disk and pad wear. Alternatively, there could be something trapped in your brake system or a faulty calliper. Either way, you need to get them sorted.

Grinding gears

Your gearbox is working hard every time you drive your car, and it has plenty of moving parts and operating fluids. Without regular attention and upkeep, your gearbox can be prone to wear. If you hear any kind of crunching when changing gears, then it sounds like your gears are more than ready for some love and attention, or perhaps your clutch is starting to fail?

Smoke and steam

It’s quite easy to get these confused, but the difference is the colour. Steam is typically white—smoke is a shade of blue.

Steam indicates possible problems with your radiator and cooling system. Smoke is caused by burning engine oil, so any issues are more likely to relate to piston and piston ring wear, worn or damaged seals or even head gasket failure.

Vibration while driving

If your car vibrates or pulls to one side when you apply the brakes, you could have issues with your brakes, suspension, or steering.

These are all serious issues so you must attend to them as soon as possible. It might also be the result of tyre wear, so that’s another area worth checking.

Bumpy driving and discomfort

If you feel your car is providing less protection against the lumps and bumps in the road, there’s a chance your suspension is failing. If you spot or hear your tyres rubbing against a wheel arch, then it’s guaranteed.

Get a car service before something much more severe develops

A car service will save you hundreds of pounds when helping you to avoid a smaller issue growing into a much bigger and far more expensive one to fix.

Servicing is one of the main components of car healthcare and keeping every vehicle operating at its prime performance.

Visit and book the appropriate service for you and your car today.

About Fixter

Fixter is revolutionising the car maintenance industry, one repair at a time. Fixter was founded to make car maintenance as easy as booking a taxi. Digital, transparent and stress-free, with world-class customer service. Since launching in Manchester in 2017, Fixter has expanded to more than 100 cities across the UK and provided thousands of car owners with honest, convenient and affordable car repair services.