Car Care

Why changing your oil isn’t enough

Nobody particularly enjoys taking their car in to have a service. Not only does it cost money, there is a risk more work might be needed.

It’s not necessarily surprising then that some motorists prefer to settle for an annual oil change and flush rather than a service which includes a full inspection of their vehicle’s condition. But how will you know if your brake or driveline fluid is about to run out or that it’s not already degraded? And are you doing the right thing for your car in the long run?

Following the manufactures servicing schedule allows a variety of items on your vehicle to be checked, as well as making vehicle owners aware of any immediate or future repair or replacement work that needs to be considered. A regular service can also put motorists’ minds at rest by knowing that their car is still working as it should.  

Take the cost of an oil change for example. If your vehicle uses standard mineral oil, a 4 litre oil change could come in around the $50 mark. Then you have to factor in the cost to replace the filter – about $17 – and of course the cost of labour which can be another fifty bucks for a half-hour job.  

This could bring the total bill to just shy of $120, not taking in to account any additional workshop sundries.

Basic services that include a number of additional safety and preventative maintenance checks can start from $30 extra if you have a petrol vehicle. A qualified technician will check all the vehicle fluids, air filter, tyre pressures and will even test the battery, which can cost $25-50 alone. So, it’s often better value to get them all checked at the same time rather than on separate occasions.

Likewise, it saves you having to take your vehicle back to the garage at a later date. As an oil change is completed while the vehicle is off the ground, it’s actually a very timely opportunity to get your wheel bearings and brakes checked too.

Services are often broken into levels or stages, offering motorists a range of options from basic to the most comprehensive checks.

A basic or entry-level service should really be considered as a supplementary, six-monthly option for drivers who cover a significant distance each year or for those who are keen to keep their wheels in tip-top shape.

We’d still recommend a more comprehensive, annual service, to ensure the car is checked by a qualified technician and maintains a good service history.

A more comprehensive vehicle service can include up to 50 vehicle check points, so that value saving can be even greater. It takes longer to complete, but more visual components will be inspected and adjusted, including the air con, headlights and tyre rotation, if required.

Carrying out each of the inspections that are included in a full service on an individual basis will cost you a lot more money, plus your vehicle will be spending a lot of extra time in the workshop until the work is completed. This can be a huge inconvenience for those who rely on their car on a daily basis.  

Servicing isn’t just about checking items though. Vehicle parts need to be replaced based on the time that they were fitted or the kilometres that have been travelled. For example, a cambelt may need replacing every 10 years or 100,000km and an air filter may need replacing when your car hits the 30,000km mark.

Maintaining a regular servicing schedule will allow a technician to monitor these items and inform you about any upcoming replacements. This will help you to budget in advance for any upcoming maintenance work on your vehicle, so you can avoid being hit with costly repairs and replacements out of the blue. It will also help to ensure that your vehicle is safe on the road.  

A complete vehicle servicing history has the added value of making your car more appealing to potential buyers when you’re looking to sell it. It could increase a vehicle’s selling value because servicing is essentially preventative maintenance that can help extend the lifespan of your vehicle.

So, when you’re thinking about booking your car in for its next oil change, why not ask or take a look at what’s included in the fixed price servicing options at your nearest workshop. It’ll enable you to see whether you’re getting the best value for your time in the workshop. 

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