Most important things to consider when booking a car service

It’s easy to forget just how expensive owning a car is. You’ve already paid for it or pay for a loan and now you still have to pay for fuel, tyres, wear and tear and servicing it too. Some of these costs are easily overlooked when you buy a car, servicing especially. Without our cars beeping at us or mechanics calling us, many of us would simply forget, or not even know when to service it. But being regular with servicing can keep your car going for years and prevent minor issues from being major. Maybe more importantly having a regular service history will boost the price of your car by hundreds of euro or more when you look to move it on. Here’s some of the most important things to consider when booking a car service.

Servicing interval

The first question is, when? When should you service your car? The simple answer is your manual will have all the details needed. Typically though it’s every 12 months or 12,000km, whichever is sooner. Different cars such as diesel or petrol, manual or automatic and newer or older, will be slightly. Electric cars need far less servicing too. Different things such as timing belts will need to be changed at later services, after a certain time or total distance driven. So double check when your car might be due. Your easiest bet is to go off the last service and ask your mechanic when a larger service might be needed.

Cold weather

Irish winters are notoriously wet and cold. A new car should be fine but the older a car is more likely to suffer through the winter. Batteries, starter motors, spark plugs and more will really feel the affects of the cold and may struggle. If you can it’s a good idea to have you car serviced just heading into the winter season. Prevent a dead battery or blown spark plug. This will give it the best chance of not letting you down as you run out the door. If your car is due for a service during or just after winter its no harm having it done just a little early. Your service interval will be set for pre-winter from then on.

Wallet Considerations

Services range from mini to full, and the price to match. A mini service might involve just fluids, filters and a check in key areas. A major, or full, service might be oil, filters, coolant and brake builds, spark plugs and a more comprehensive inspection. Which one is needed is all in your service manual but a good mechanic will know what is, and more importantly, what’s not needed. If your car has only done 3,000km since getting new spark plugs there’s little need to change them again. Ask around and get a few quotes for a service before deciding who to go to. The cheapest option might not be the best. There’s no point saving a few euro just for the car to break down a day later, leaving you stranded for work.

Warning lights

It’s a panic moment for everyone when a strange (sometimes scary) looking light pops up on your dashboard. It could be something benign or something more serious but your best bet is to get it checked as soon as you can. If your car is due a service in a month don’t wait until then to get the issue checked. It could end up costing you a lot more in the long run if a serious issue is allowed to get worse. Bring it to a mechanic to check and let them know the car is due a service in a month. They may say it’s ok to wait, or they that it needs fixing now. Or see if the car can get an early service while it’s being fixed. It’ll save you having to make multiple trips to them.

Service log book

When you bring your car for a service you’ll be asked for your service logbook. They’re often at the back of your manual and are separate from your car registration form. There’s a number of blank sections at the back of the book. The mechanic will stamp and write a little note about what was changed, as well as what service was done and the mileage and date. This logbook is very valuable for a car. A good and well maintained car is worth a lot more than one that isn’t, up to thousands of euro more. This service logbook is your proof maintenance. The next person buying your car will know it’s been looked after. Always double check the logbook has been stamped after you service your car, mechanics are busy people and might forget from time to time.

Newer cars might be all digital. No manual and no logbook. Cars often come with an app for your manual and your service logbook built into the infotainment. Deep in the settings there’s a record of all services done to a car, but sometimes there isn’t much information on what was done. In this case we’d advise asking for a break down receipt of the service and any repairs. Keep a little folder at home with them all. The next owner will really appreciate it. It could mean the difference between someone buying your car for a good price or someone else’s if they know you’ve taken such care.

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