It’s easy to ‘accidentally-on-purpose’ forget to take your car for its scheduled service, but it’s not a good idea in the long run, so just how often should you take your car for a visit to the mechanic?
The advice from those who do know what is under the hood, and what makes it tick, is to not be tardy when it comes to maintaining your car.
Everything may sound fine, and look fine to your untrained eye. You may think that if it’s not making any funny noises, not inclined to conk out on the middle of the highway, and it stills rumbles like it always has when you start it in the morning, then why worry?
But forgetting to service your car could be a big costly mistake. There are plenty of things that can go wrong, and they may be siphoning your hip pocket in subtle ways too.
You might be unhappy to learn that being slack with maintenance can drag your fuel economy down, and not just make the risk of mechanical failure more likely.
Fluids, for example, need to be regularly checked and changed to avoid moisture building up or oil degrading in quality, which can see your engine seize up when you least want it to, or have your brake fluid boil and become ineffective.
Taking your car in for a regular check-up will also ensure it remains roadworthy and help it retain resale value.
So, how often do you really need to service your car?
As a general rule, you should book your car in for a professional service every six months or 10,000km (whichever comes first). But every car is different and manufacturer’s recommendations on service schedules do vary, so check your car’s logbook or owner’s manual.
It’s also worth checking for any handy tips on maintenance that you can do yourself, and work up to how often parts should be replaced.
As a rule of thumb, you should have your car looked over at least once or twice a year, and the schedule should alternate between a minor service and a major service, so expect to pay a bit more every second booking.
More modern cars have longer service intervals, often 15,000km/12 months. Bear in mind though that modern engines are far more complex and often less tolerant of neglect, so don’t be tempted to squeeze an extra few months out between visits.
There are plenty of things that can go wrong, and they may be siphoning your hip pocket in subtle ways too.