Car Servicing Guide

Are you the type of person who gets their car serviced as often as possible or do you like to skip your scheduled servicing dates because you want to save money? Hopefully, you’re the type of person who gets their car serviced because it is important to preserve the life and integrity of your car.

Cars are very delicate and complex machines. Many people take their vehicles for granted and assume they will always work. But when you have thousands of moving components inside of one machine, it doesn’t take much for that machine to malfunction. One damaged or worn out component could affect the operation of the entire vehicle. Sometimes it’ll cause damage to other components as well.

The Advantages of Servicing Your Car

You pay a lot of money for your car, so you need to protect your investment. Here are the top 4 advantages of getting your car serviced:

1)  You Will Save Money in the Long Run

You may hate paying for car maintenance services but think about how much it’ll cost you in the long run if you don’t get them. Maintenance services involve replacing old or worn-out components that could potentially cause your vehicle to breakdown. Failing to get these services may result in several components getting damaged and needing to be replaced. You will save money if you can maintain your existing components.

2) Better Safety

Maintenance services help keep your car safer. The most vital components of your vehicle will be inspected, such as the braking system, seatbelts, steering, suspension, and so on. If any component looks like it’s on the verge of failure, then it will be replaced before anything bad happens.

3) Longer Lifespan

The engine is the most important component to get serviced because it generates power for your vehicle. If you ever need to replace your engine, then you might as well replace your whole car because you’ll be paying thousands of dollars either way. Regular maintenance will keep your engine functional for many more years.

4) Resale Value

If you ever want to sell your vehicle, then your potential buyers will want to know that you’ve kept up with the maintenance of the vehicle. If you can show proof of the maintenance history, then it’ll be very attractive to the buyers.

Service Frequency

As a guide you should get your vehicle serviced every six months or 10,000 kilometres, whichever comes first. Your vehicle manufacturer may specify a different service interval time so it is always a good idea to check what is best for the vehicle you drive.

The operating conditions of your vehicle also play a factor in how often you should get maintenance service done. Let’s look at the following scenarios:

1) Sulphur in Your Fuel – Australian petrol stations typically provides fuel with high levels of sulphur in it. Your exhaust emission control devices become more stressed out over it.

2) Short Trips – If you take a lot of short trips with your vehicle, then your car won’t ever have time to reach its operating temperature. This causes more wear and tear to your internal components.

3) Prolonged Idling – If your vehicle remains in an idle position for long periods of time throughout the day, then the engine will never reach the proper operating temperature. Meanwhile, the odometer reading won’t change very much even though the engine has been running all day.

4) Dusty Areas – The metallic surfaces of your vehicle are highly sensitive to dust. When dust gets into your engine, it can decrease its efficiency and slowly reduce its lifespan. Maintenance services can eliminate dust from your engine. If you live in a dusty environment, then you need to take this service seriously.

5) Pulling / Towing a Trailer – All the major components of your vehicle are put under more stress when you tow a trailer behind it. Your suspension, brakes, and engine overexert themselves and become heavily worn from the stress. If you tow trailers often, then get your maintenance services more often.

6) Stop and Go Traffic – The mechanical components of your vehicle are put under more stress if you continuously accelerate and brake as you drive. If it is common for you to drive in stop and go traffic, then maintenance services will be needed.

Types of Maintenance Inspections and Services

Below are the primary types of maintenance inspections and services that you should get done regularly.

Brake Pad Thickness – All your brake pads must have the proper amount of thickness in order to function properly. As you continue to use your brakes, the brake pads slowly wear down, and their material thins out. This is why you need them checked regularly to ensure they are not too thin.

Brake System – Your braking system would perform very poorly if it had leaks in it. Then your vehicle would be a safety risk as you drive it on the road and attempt to step on the brake pedal. An inspection will verify a leak and determine which components need to be replaced.

Brake Fluid – Vehicles use a hydraulic braking system that requires the right amount of brake fluid to remain functional. As your brake pads become more worn out, you start to lose brake fluid. Once you discover this is happening, you must replace the pads and change the brake fluid in the system.

Oil Filter and Engine Oil – The internal components of a petrol engine require lubrication from engine oil. That is how these components continue to move smoothly and reduce heat in the system. Soot and other contaminants are also removed by the oil. For this reason, you must get oil changes every 10,000 kilometres or whenever your car’s manufacturer recommends you should get it. Change the oil filter too because that collects a lot of the contaminants from the oil.

Battery – Inspect the battery and look for loose connections, frayed cables, cracks in the casing, and powdery residue on the terminals. If you see anything like that, then replace, clean, or fix the necessary components.

Tyre Treads and Pressure – It is important to have good depth in your tyre treads because it helps enhance their traction on the road and removes water from them. If your tyre treads lose too much depth, then it’ll be more difficult for them to grip the road. Check your tyre treads often to ensure they’re the proper depth.

Power Steering Fluid – Check to make sure the right amount of power steering fluid is in the reservoir of your hydraulic power steering system.

Exhaust Pipe – Fumes could end up in the passenger cabin if your exhaust pipe has any cracks in it. Your engine’s performance will suffer too. Check your exhaust pipe for cracks to prevent this from happening. Also, check to ensure your exhaust is fitted properly and is not restricted.

Boots and Joints – CV joints allow you to turn your vehicle while maintaining the drive. Rubber dust boots protect the joints from dirt. But if the rubber splits, then dirt will get into the joints and wear them down.

Transmission and Gearbox – The gearbox contains moving gears that require oil in order to be cooled down. Inspect the casing of the gearbox to ensure that it does not leak oil.

Vehicle System – The engine control unit is the onboard computer of modern vehicles. It controls and communicates with most of the components and systems of the vehicle. If a diagnostic scanner is connected to the computer, then it can tell you the health status of the vehicle.

Front Lights and Rear Lights – The headlights, rear lights, and brake lights must all be functional to comply with traffic laws and to see at night. A period inspection of those lights is recommended. Replace all dead bulbs.

Coolant Level – Engine coolant prevents the engine from overheating. Make sure the right level of coolant is in the engine. Add more coolant or replace it when necessary.

Engine Components – The engine bay needs to be inspected for signs of oil leakage or damaged components.

Headlight Adjustment – Your headlights need the proper adjustment to improve light vision at night. Not only will this help you see better, but other vehicles can see you better as well.

Windscreen Wiper & Washer Fluid – Replace windscreen wipers if they look too worn out. Replace the washer fluid too.

Horn – The horn and hazard lights are tested. You need both to be functional for safety reasons.

Steering System – The steering system contains a steering box that is connected to the wheel end by a series of rods. The track-rod ends are movable joints on the rods that keep your steering smooth. If they fail, then steering will become more difficult. Inspect the rods to ensure they’re in good working order.

Test Drive – Let an experienced technician or mechanic test drive your vehicle. They will listen for certain sounds and get an overall feel for how well your vehicle drives. If anything is wrong, they will let you know and address the issues.

Warning Light Reset – If you had your vehicle serviced recently, or if the service warning lamps of your vehicle turned on for some unknown reason, then a mechanic can reset them for you.