One of the most common questions we get asked is, ‘Do I really need to service my car so often? Is it really such a big deal if I miss a service or delay it a couple of months?’
Yes. We all skip our six-monthly trip to the dentist on occasion. The difference with our cars is that the engine oil inside is a key component of lubricating its insides. Not many people realise, but that engine oil has a use-by date. After about 7,000km, or 12 months, engine oil will start to break down and deteriorate, becoming less and less effective at doing the job it needs to do. If it is not changed regularly, parts in your car start to deteriorate and the inevitable result is unnecessary repairs, breakdowns and even a blown engine.
Then comes the coolant. If your coolant hasn’t been replaced and you go to the snow or other very cold conditions, your engine will freeze over. If your brake fluid hasn’t been replaced on time you’ll eventually get water contamination that will rust your internal braking system.
Get the picture?
So if servicing your car is the most important thing you can do for your car’s well being, why is car servicing the most neglected, underappreciated, misunderstood and abused aspect of car ownership?
I find that car owners who don’t service their cars as they should fall into three categories:
1. They haven’t budgeted for it.
It’s all well and good to buy a car, but many people don’t think of the costs beyond the purchase, so when their annual service rolls around they simply don’t have the money. Then they delay the service and/or cut back on replacing some parts to save cash. This creates a compounding effect as, the more services are delayed and the more parts that aren’t replaced, the worse their engine gets, and ultimately the more they’ll spend on repairs that would have otherwise been unnecessary.
2. They think, ‘I haven’t done the kilometres yet’, despite the service being due on time.
As I mentioned earlier, oil and other fluids in your car have a use-by date, so even if you haven’t travelled 10,000km this past year, your car will still be due for a service at least every six months (in most cases). This is why you see all services described in both kilometres and time. It’s whichever occurs first.
3. They don’t trust mechanics.
A survey by Canstar revealed that 80% of Australians are wary of being ripped off by a mechanic! Elvio and I hear stories every day from new customers about their past experiences. As a result of that fear, many people simply avoid going or put it off for as long as possible. Again, there’s nothing worse as most mechanics will then find legitimate additional repairs because the car has been neglected.
Regardless of why you’re avoiding your services, the fact is that they are necessary and play an important part in the function, safety, running cost and longevity of your car. For that reason, stick to your manufacturer’s recommended service schedule and if you’re unsure of what to service and when, we’ve got just the article for you: How often should you service your car