Car Care

Why changing just your car's oil isn’t enough

Often in an AA Auto Centre, you’ll hear comments along the lines of: “I don’t need a full service, just an oil and filter change will do.” But, what about the rest of the vehicle? How do you know if your air filter no longer flows clean air, for instance, or if the driveline fluids haven’t turned brown?

Clearly an occasional oil change has its needs, but it should not be the only service your vehicle has annually – you need to look after all of your car’s components.

Servicing schedules

There are a few benefits of following a service schedule. It ensures important items of a vehicle are checked and the vehicle owner is able to be made aware of what is due for replacement and are given a preferred timeframe. This gives the driver peace of mind that the vehicle, as a whole, has been given a quality service by an experienced mechanic. This could also save you time and money instead of paying for each inspection individually.

Services are generally broken up into different levels or stages. In the AA’s case, it’s the AA Bronze Service™, AA Silver Service™, and AA Gold Service™. The AA Bronze Service™ is usually a supplementary service at six months for those who would travel a lot of kilometres in a year and require a service part of the way through, or similarly, those who are very particular about their vehicle and want it serviced at every six months.

The other two AA service options are recommended at a yearly interval, which ensures that a complete service history is maintained and the vehicle is well checked by a vehicle expert.

Two birds, one stone

If you had to price up some of the service items such as parts and oils, or get them carried out individually, it would cost more than if it was included in the price of the service. For example, a vehicle using a standard mineral oil could take five litres during a change at a cost of $80, and an oil filter for an additional $30-$50. Add on top of this the price of labour and you could be looking at $180, plus any workshop sundries on top for an oil and filter change, only to have to get a full vehicle service further down the track.

During a comprehensive service (like the AA Gold Service™), you need to raise a vehicle off the ground in order to remove the wheels and check things like the breaks and bearings. Getting the vehicle onto a hoist is also required when changing the oil, so it makes sense to do these things at the same time as part of a service. Another is an Engine Management System scan, which could cost at least $65 on its own, but is included as part of an AA Gold Service™.

What AA Auto Centre offer

The entry-level  AA Bronze Service™ includes a check and replace of all vehicle fluids, a battery test (which on its own could cost up to $50), an air filter check (another $25 in some cases) and tyre pressures checked as part of the 26-point service.  

The services options build from there, with more items checked/replaced the further you move up the levels, right up to the complete 40-point AA Gold Service™, which naturally takes longer and involves a lot more components being inspected. These components include checks like the air conditioning and the aforementioned wheels-off wheel inspection and Engine Management System scan. 

Keeping on top of things

Servicing is also not just about checking items, but there are parts on a vehicle that will require interval replacements periodically. Most items on a vehicle will wear out, get dirty or have a shelf-life, and ultimately require replacement at some stage.

With regular servicing, a technician can monitor these items and inform you when they will need to be replaced.

For example, a cambelt may need to be replaced every seven years (or 100,000km), an air filter may last 30,000km, and sparkplugs (depending on type fitted) may need replacing between every 30,000km to 100,000km. Parts like these are why it’s a good idea to budget a small amount of money over and above regular services each year to keep your vehicle functioning the way it should – safely and soundly.

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