Advice and Tips

How often should you service your vehicle?

Paul Green, National Remarketing Manager
Thursday, 02 January 2020

How often should you service your vehicle? This is a question asked by vehicle owners not knowing whether to spend the money on a service or not. 

Although it’s not a legal requirement, servicing your vehicle can offer many safety and financial benefits in the long run. You can catch any issues early so that it doesn’t effect the running of your vehicle, but also find and fix any safety issues that may affect you later down the line. 

Each vehicle type is slightly different when deciding how often and when to service your vehicle. We would suggest servicing your car or van ideally once a year, especially if it’s over 3 years old. For motorbikes we would suggest every 4,000 miles or every 6 months, whatever comes first.

What is the difference between a MOT and a service?

You might think that a MOT and a service look at the same parts of your vehicle, this is not the case.

A MOT is an annual legal requirement, and every vehicle has a specific date that an MOT needs to be completed by. It’s not optional, and is a technical safety inspection, making sure that the vehicle is roadworthy. 

A service checks wear and tear on the vehicle and will highlight any parts or fluids that need replacing to ensure your vehicle is not only safe but that it performs in the best way for you.

Although an MOT is a legal requirement it doesn’t look at a vehicle as thoroughly as a service, which is why it’s considered best to get both checks on your vehicle. 

MOT test centre sign

How often should I service my vehicle?

It’s recommended by manufacturers and mechanics alike, that a car should be serviced every 12,000 miles or every 12 months, whichever happens first. Some vehicles will also feature a self-diagnostic system, which will tell you when your car is ready for a service, please don’t ignore any warning lights even if your car hasn’t travelled 12,000 miles since the last service.

Motorbike manufactures and mechanics suggest that these vehicles should be serviced every 4,000-6,000 miles or every 6 months, whichever happens first. If you are unsure, your motorbike will come with an owner’s manual, in here the manufacturer will have specified how often to get your motorbike serviced.

If after your last service you were told that your car or van might need an ‘interim service’, this means that you should look at getting another service completed 6 months or 6,000 miles after your previous one. This is probably because something is wearing on your car or van and the mechanic would like to check everything is as it should be. It is a precautionary measure.

Service type How often could you need this type of service?
Regular maintenance When the oil and filter need replacing
Interim service Every 6 months or 6,000 miles, whichever comes first
Full service Every 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first
Manufacturer service This is decided by the manufacturer, you can look in your car manual to see when this might be

For a motorbike, an interim service will be between 2,000 -3,000 miles. This is to ensure your motorbike is as safe as it can be for you to ride. If you only use your motorbike as a second vehicle, a service may not be needed often. However, if you are using a motorbike as your main source of transport then services will be needed much more frequently.

Why should I service my vehicle?

There are several reasons to have your vehicle serviced but knowing whether a vehicle needs a service is dependent on the vehicle’s model, age, mileage and how it’s driven.

Safety of yourself and your passengers is probably the most important reason to have a service. It can help to identify any potential problems before they become actual issues, issues that will cost you (most likely) an arm and a leg to fix. Servicing your vehicle will give you peace of mind that your vehicle is in a road-worthy condition.

You may be saving money if you don’t service your vehicle regularly, but in the long run you won’t be. As with anything, if you catch a problem sooner rather than later then it’ll be cheaper and easier to sort (most of the time). Engine oil is a good example, you need it to lubricate and protect the moving parts inside your engine, and without it your engine could seize up costing thousands to repair or replace. Servicing not only makes your vehicle safe and cheaper to run, but it can also increase the vehicles life span. If you look after the vehicle the healthier it will be for longer.

Service MOT

If you are thinking of selling your vehicle, it’s worth bearing in mind that it adds value to the vehicle if it’s had regular servicing, better still if it has a full-service history. It’s likely to attract more buyers and allow you to charge a higher price.

Servicing your vehicle gives you the security that everything is in full working order.

How much does it cost to service a vehicle?

Prices depend on the garage and the vehicle you have. Some websites say a full service on a car can average around £186.32 depending on your vehicle type, which is based primarily on the type of oil the manufacturer uses.

We would suggest using a website such as Who Can Fix My Car, which will compare prices for a car, van or motorbike service using your registration number, the service you are wanting and your postcode.

Services are important, and a lot cheaper and less stressful than breaking down on the side of the road. So keep an eye on your miles and get one booked in when the time is right. Make sure you know what type of car service you need.

Paul Green, National Remarketing Manager
Bringing you expert advice on how to maintain and service your vehicle, so you can enjoy a stress-free life on the road.