A Guide To Car Servicing

Do I need to service my car?

Yes. Servicing is required in order for every car to work well. The safe and efficient performance of your car is guaranteed by regular servicing. Diesel engines especially have a complex system of exhaust treatment which requires regular maintenance, while their filters and fuel injectors need routine cleaning or replacement.

Absence of routine servicing is responsible for the majority of the problems faced by older diesel and petrol cars. Modern engines in particular are sensitive to substandard oil and blocked filters.

Ultimately, service history has a direct influence on a car’s value. Foremost car valuation specialist, CAP HPI, says sellers could lose thousands of pounds on a car without a service history.

A complete service history from an authorised dealer is most important for a prestige vehicle and has an effect on both desirability and value, particularly with a lower mileage.

Does my car need to be serviced by a Main Dealer?

This relates directly to the idea of shopping for servicing. Thanks to the regulations set in October 2003, your car can be serviced by any garage of your choosing. Previously, car makers were able to restrict your car servicing to their authorized dealers only within the period of its car warranty. Once this warranty period was over, they had no control.

Since this policy was set, car owners can have their cars serviced at their preferred garage – authorized dealer or not – while still within the warranty period. However, the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule should guide servicing and only approved parts should be used. Records, including invoice and a stamped service history listing the work carried out should be kept by the owner.

Can I service my used car in any garage?

Yes, but endeavour to check the terms and conditions in the small print if it’s covered by a warranty. Some insist that the servicing be done by the dealer that sold the car. It’s quite rare however, and similar to new car warranties, you are most likely free to service your car wherever you choose, providing it follows the manufacturer’s schedule and that there is proof of the work that was done.

Car Servicing

Must cars on PCP finance be serviced by a Main Dealer?

No – in spite of any suggestion from sales reps. The same policy of 2003 which allows freedom of car servicing within the warranty period also applies to a PCP or other financial product.

Nonetheless, since with a PCP the future value of the car is dependent on it remaining in a suitable condition and adequately serviced per the manufacturer’s schedule, it could be easier to have it serviced by an authorised dealer instead of an independent dealer. However, for customer retention, many car makers provide subsidised plans for servicing within the PCP contract term.

Finding a reputable garage nearby is
simple, just search for garages in your area and check out the online reviews from the various sources available. View their website content and make an informed decision based on the information you gather.

Of course this takes time and that’s before you even take the time to contact your chosen garage and run your vehicle over to them.
Alternatively you could use a garage network service such as Servicing Master.

These companies maintain a list of local garages in their network, these garages are selected based on their customer reviews, pricing, customer care, services offered, years in business, location and many other factors. Not every garage gets to be a part of these networks.

The idea is that they take the hassle out of finding a quality local garage at the right price.

Some offer extra services such as Servicing Master above who will also collect and return your vehicle to your home or work place and also wash and vacuum your vehicle after your service or repair is complete.

Sounds great, but who monitors these portals? Well in that case we’re back to online reviews but now it’s a much easier process because if you find a network you like the look of and you find positive reviews online you can be sure that their network of garages are of the highest quality.

Does a service history with a Main Dealer increase the value of my car?

A car with a full service history (servicing which strictly conforms to the manufacturer’s schedule) has a higher price in the used car market. Yet, the price can go higher still, for cars of up to 3 years old, where all the servicing has been executed by a Main Dealer and not an independent garage.

Once a car is older than 3 years old, this price difference closes except on some specialist and luxury cars which can still get a premium with a full servicing history from a Main Dealer. Beyond 3 years there is little difference in value for a service history from the Main Dealer or an independent.

Service interval

A service interval is the time which a service falls due. Most intervals are every 12 months or 12,000 miles whichever comes first.

What Is Variable Servicing?

This refers to a situation where there is no fixed service interval like a regular schedule, but changes subject to the handling of the car as well as the kind of journeys it makes.
Variable servicing is becoming increasingly popular among car makers. Generally, cars which go on more frequent short, cold trips would need more standard servicing than cars which go on longer trips at a steady running temperature.

Some car makers, like Audi, offer car owners two kinds of service schedule: Fixed Service for low mileage, short trips is yearly or 9000 miles, and Flexible Service for higher mileage, longer trips is biennial or 19,000 miles.

Some cars will notify you when servicing is required. For instance, subject to the age of the vehicle, there are two kinds of service indicators in Minis. Condition-Based Servicing (CBS) can be found in recent models. This checks the different service parts for wear, and ensures the vehicle only notifies you when attention is needed. At that point, a CBS icon can be seen on the dashboard. Also, vehicle data is saved in the car key and can be read with the MINI Key Reader, allowing for the identification of the required task by technicians.

A time-based and mileage service indicator can be found in earlier Minis. This observes the mileage of the car and is displayed when the next servicing is due. It also has some added warning symbols which show the health status of major parts.

Variable servicing ensures that you can maintain your car when the need arises, but it may take you by surprise since it does not follow a set servicing interval. In any case, things are much less significant on the first alert so there is time to book a service.

Mechanics Servicing A Car

Major, Main (or Full) and Interim Services?

These refer to the various levels, or types, of service. Interim is the simplest – on a 6 months basis. For most cars, it is maybe too frequent. It consists of a change of oil and filter, which comprises one of the essential service features, as well as checking many components.

A full service can be said to be a deeper version of the interim service. Most cars require this once a year or every 12,000 miles. More parts will be checked and fluids, including coolant and brake fluids, will be refilled if necessary.

In addition to the interim service, the major service involves more evaluations and maintenance actions, including the replacement of spark plugs for petrol engines, engine coolant and all filters. It occurs every 24,000 miles or biennially (every two years).

Do I need to service my car after an MOT?

MOT’s monitor only areas that are of safety concern, such as the condition of your brakes or car tyres, windscreen washer fluid levels and the limits of exhaust emission. However, it does not attend to these issues and cannot prevent either of them from occurring. Also, it will not check or change essentials such as engine oil, air filters and spark plugs.

Is diagnosis free?

It’s likely that all garages will charge for diagnosis, unless you are on very good terms with the garage owner or manager, workshops, mechanics and tools are not free.

The Authority to begin work

A trustworthy garage will inform you of anything improper or highlight the reason behind a fault, clearly indicate the repair work required and what the extra costs will be.

A good and trust worthy garage will seek authorisation from you for any additional work that may be required.

They will explain the reasoning for the extra work and provide a cost. You are under no obligation to have the work done on your vehicle, neither are you obligated to have this particular garage carry out the extra work. You could take their recommendations and contact other garages for quotes.
Though in most cases it makes sense to listen to their reasoning for the extra work and allow them to continue with it as it will save you time and likely money in the end.

A good garage will mention work that is recommended but not essential, such as replacing a badly rusted exhaust bracket. In this case it’s wise to ask how urgent a replacement may be. If the bracket is in danger of breaking within the next few months, clearly it would be a good idea to have it replaced, if it’s likely to last until your next service or beyond them saving the cost of a replacement and fitting is likely to be the more appealing option.

Genuine parts

Parts which are prone to wear and tear, like brake pads, should not be changed until the end of their useful life. However as mentioned earlier, the garage is in a position to give advice in its service report on what useful period remains for such parts.

Branded, original parts have to be the same as the factory-assembled fitted items. However, this option may be most expensive. Most of the time, you can request that the garage fits comparably high-quality parts in order to save you a small amount in costs.

If you live in or around Manchester, get a quick quote and book your car service for an easy and hassle-free service at reasonable rates. Or call us now on 0161 302 0201. You can get an instant quote on various service options using our quick quote form. We offer a collection and drop off service and online payment. You can get your vehicle MOT, serviced without leaving your home or work. A convenient, friendly and affordable service, try Servicing Master once and you will never go anywhere else for your car servicing needs.

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Customer Reviews

A small sample of our thousands of satisfied customers.

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Hassle Free!

These guys do what they say on the tin. I work for NHS so I am usually always at work these guys collected it while I worked, liaised via email as i couldn’t answer the phone.

Carried out the work and dropped it back off for me, Happy with the service and the nice touch at the end vehicle came back nice and clean!

30 Jan 2019

Craig Hill

Top service, knew straight away what the problem was. Had it back next day which was great, glad I’ve found a garage I can use in the future would defiantly recommend. Even gave my car a wash.

Jack Walker

Had my car service and mot with Bury branch. Excellent service kept me posted with everything they were doing. Professional, friendly and helpful definitely recommend them. Thanks.



Booked online, great realistic price, none of this cheap drag you in and shake you down when you get there. Car collected from work, serviced and mot all done and straight forward, I needed an additional bulb which they rung me and told me.

Car delivered before I finished work and they even gave it a long awaited wash and vacc Lol!

All done from my desk at work defiantly be using them for my wife and daughters vehicles!

30 Jan 2019

Tim Sheply

Great people to deal with. Trusted with my family’s cars for many many years. Great service, go the extra mile. Thoroughly recommend for anyone looking for work on their car whatever the marque.

Alan Rait

Just a quick line, I have finally found a garage where I have complete confidence. Professional and informative, Lisa and Mike are a pleasure to deal with. Thank you.