Understanding What ACTUALLY Gets Done On Your Car Service

in BigBoxCars Service Tips



So, it’s time for your next car service? You might be wondering what the difference is between a minor, major, and interim service is, why some service centres are more expensive than others, and what the mechanic actually does each service. We’ve compiled a very simple guide for you to understand everything you need to know about car services.

Minor, major & interim

In your service logbook, you will likely see that your manufacturer has included services in between the mandatory scheduled service slots. These are called interim services and they would usually be performed if the vehicle has been driven regularly under harsh conditions, for example, driving off-road, towing, or racing. In this service, the engine oil and engine oil filter would be replaced as well as anything else that the driver knows needs immediate attention and cannot wait until the next scheduled service.

minor, basic or general service generally includes replacing the engine oil and engine oil filter. Aside from any other parts you and your mechanic discuss and agree upon replacing prior to the service, these should be the only parts used in this service. Minor services should also consist of a safety inspection under the body and under the bonnet. Other basic things will be checked such as the fluid levels, the brakes, tyres, and the lights.

major service is determined by your car manufacturer based on time or a certain mileage. Once your car reaches this time or mileage it is due for a major service where something ‘major’ like perhaps a timing belt or differential and transfer case fluid is changed. These types of replacements are not as regular as other things like a fuel filter or a coolant change. This obviously requires more time to perform the service and extra tasks involved so it’s best to speak with your mechanic about what’s involved and get a rough estimate of the total price. 

Ultimately it is best to follow your manufacturer's scheduled services in the service logbook but also stay vigilant at monitoring your car for any warning signs that it needs an interim service. 

Dealership VS Local Mechanic 

It is always recommended to read your Service book and adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendation when choosing a Service centre.  Most manufacturers only stipulate you need your vehicle serviced by Licences Mechanics.  Your choice of service centre must indicate on an invoice:

- Service Carries out

- Brand and Specification of oil used

- Parts used advising branding. 

These items are required as evidence if a manufacturer asks for service history as part of a Warranty claim.  This is becoming more common to ensure correct oil is used when servicing your vehicle.  Keep in mind you are responsible for your vehicle and where you decide to take your car for servicing.  Depending on which service centre/mechanic you take your vehicle to will determine the price. Some local mechanic shops facilities may not be as nice as a dealer, this is usually reflective on charges, and they will usually prioritise emergencies first.  At a dealership mechanic, if you do have to wait a long while, there is often the luxury of taking a loan car to save you having to wait around or organise someone to pick you up and drop you back to collect your car.  Dealership Servicing will generally service by the book only and may not be flexible with servicing options depending on your budget.  In all cases no extra work should be done without your authority. You may receive a phone call, text or email to explain any further repairs required above the normal service agreement.  It is usually good practice to return your vehicle to the site you purchased your vehicle. Being loyal is good practice and can assist when you decide to trade your vehicle for an upgrade.     

Reading & Understanding Your Receipt/Work Order

If you’re ever unsure what was done at your service a great way to check is to read the receipt (otherwise known as work order) they give you once you get your car back. This receipt will outline all the work that was done during the service. You can use this information to compare and determine whether or not you have paid more for the same amount of work as a similar previous service. This also helps you understand what work was done for a major service and can assist you in keeping track of exactly what work has been done to your vehicle during your ownership.

​​The next time you need to have your vehicle serviced, visit BigBoxCars Service & Tyres and put your mind at ease whilst our professional technicians take the time to ensure your tyres are well-cared for, and that you’ll be traveling smoothly and safely.

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