Driving without servicing – what’s the risk?

Driving without servicing – what’s the risk?
When it comes to car maintenance, one of the most common ways of keeping it in optimum condition is to take it for a regular service.

However, unlike the annual MOT, a car service is not an annual legal requirement – but what are the dangers of avoiding a service?

The MOT will highlight any repairs that are needed to ensure that the vehicle is road legal. The service is a way for you to drastically reduce any chance of your car having any serious issues in the months and years ahead.

What is a car service?

Simply put, a car service is a routine health check for your vehicle, where a mechanic will assess the current state of all its major components and ensure it will be in its optimum condition.

Getting a car service is a crucial part of owning a vehicle for many important reasons. Although the extent of what the service will include can change depending on how long you’ve waited between having a service – they are vital for many reasons aside from just maintenance.

They increase the value of the vehicle, catch any issues before they get worse and keep all road users safer.

A service is usually undertaken by a mechanic and the most in-depth of them involve around 50 or more system and component checks, adjustments, and part replacements.

Types of car service

When you take your car to a garage or call out a mobile mechanic, there are three options when it comes to getting a service for your vehicle.

The type will depend on how many miles you have travelled in the vehicle since your last service – or a set amount of time.

Service typeService Interval
Regular maintenanceWhen oil and filter need replacement
Interim ServiceEvery 6 months or 6,000 miles (whichever comes first)
Full ServiceEvery 12 months or 12,000 miles (whichever comes first)
Manufacturer ServiceAs per manufacturer service schedule, check your car manual for information

Services are important to car owners for many reasons – so keeping up to date on how many you have had since you owned the vehicle and what’s been done to the car can mean a lot when it comes to selling or maintaining the car.

Service, repair or MOT?

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Service, repair or MOT?
Service, repair or MOT?

What needs servicing regularly?

Although it isn’t a legal requirement to carry out a service of a vehicle, keeping your car in its best condition throughout the year is very important.

A service can include more than 50 ‘points’ of inspection – some include more than 80 – but there are some key components that need the most attention from a mechanic.

No matter if it is an interim or full service, these are the most common parts of the vehicle that need the attention of the specialist.

Oil changes – replacing the oil in your vehicle is important in maintaining safe and reliable engine. Oil helps to lubricate key components, mechanics and also aids in maintaining the correct operating temperatures across various parts of the engine and internal systems. Older and unclean oils will impact the mpg, emissions, and efficiency of the vehicle. Although it is not a necessary change, it is advisable to have it done when you get to a full service.

Tyre pressure and conditions – if you are looking at travelling a lot, over various different quality roads, then it will impact the quality of your four tyres. Pressure, tread, and overall condition of the tyre can be reviewed and replaced if necessary.

Car fluids – aside from the engine oil, there are other fluids that are important to keeping vehicle in healthy condition. Brake fluid, screen wash, coolants, power steering fluid, anti-freeze concentration and many others will be assessed and replaced if necessary.

Spark plug replacements – although many manufactures recommend that they are replaced every 30,000 miles, they should be checked every service. However, this can change depending on driving style, model, and the condition of any other parts that could link to the spark plug.

Air/cabin filter changes – a simple check that involves unclipping the airbox and replacing the filter. The gassing of an air conditioning unit can also be carried out, however, this comes with an added cost in most cases.

Braking system checks – a crucial part of the safety of the vehicles, a mechanic can check all the components that are made up to run the braking system, as well as a fluids check.

Electronics – modern vehicles are loaded with all kinds of technology. Some are crucial, some are for comfort, and some are there to aid the driving experience. Some, if not all, can be checked by a mechanic during a service.

It is crucial to remember that although these checks are not mandatory, they are in place to ensure your vehicle is safe, road legal, and is also a preventative measure to ensure more expensive problems do not develop.

Having breakdown cover in place can give you peace of mind that if the worst should happen, then you are prepared.

Does your car need a service?

Is your car making strange noises? Is your vehicle juddering or stuttering? Then your car may have a common breakdown problem.

Although visiting a mechanic will normally resolve any issue you may have – and the annual MOT will certainly result in your car being road legal – regular servicing is important to keep your car in perfect condition.

There are certain signs that your car needs a service – and they shouldn’t be ignored.

You should have your car serviced every year as a minimum if you wish to maintain your vehicle and ensure no serious problems develop.

You can keep on track with your car's maintenance and save money by getting a service or MOT plan to spread the cost over two years.

How long does a car service take?

Now that you know what is involved in a service, you will need to plan a visit to your local garage or call out a mobile mechanic.

An interim service may take up to three hours – and a full service may take all day.

However, this can vary on the vehicle, and if there are any issues that need to be resolved. It will also depend on whether the garage or mechanic have the correct tools and components to carry out the necessary work.

Car services are often combined with the annual MOT – and in this case, many of the jobs are combined to save time and money.

How often should you service your car?

There are five main time frames that you should look to book in your service. There is a regular service, which can happen several times a year – or whenever oil, fluid or filters need replacing.

A manufacturers service is a schedule laid out in the car’s manual that is specific to that make and model. It will also explain what is needed to carry out the service.

An interim service should be taken every six months or 6,000 miles – whichever comes first. This isn’t as extensive as a full service which should happen every year or 12,000 miles.

Finally – if your car is not looking, feeling, or sounding correct, take it to have a service.

What are the risks if you don’t service your vehicle?

As explained previously, a service is not an annual legal requirement, but there are many reasons why it is vital for you to book one in when it is needed.

This is because there are many negative consequences that could result from avoiding a car service.

One of the many reasons why there is the annual MOT is to make sure that your vehicle is road legal and safe. If it isn’t, then you could face fines, legal action and having your car confiscated by the authorities. Servicing your vehicle will catch any potential issues before they become a serious problem.

This is why servicing is important for overall safety of the vehicle. In modern cars, there are so many parts that make up everything that makes it work. Ensuring that it is all working in optimum condition will ensure the safety of all passengers and road users. It will also help you avoid any breakdowns and serious issues developing.

As a result of this, the vehicle will have a longer lifespan – and help you save money by having to splash out on a new car or pay for expensive repairs to keep your current one on the road.

And even if you do want a new car, regular serving will help get a better price for your current one. Whether it is a sale or part-exchange, you will end up losing money by not regularly servicing your vehicle. A full service history has been proven to add value to a vehicle that is being put up for sale.

Overall, car servicing will help save money in a few other ways. Without one, the vehicle will likely suffer from poor fuel economy – as over time, cars will develop small issues that could either develop into larger ones, or combined with others will result in reduced fuel economy and increase greenhouse gas emissions.

If you own a new vehicle, then there are service schedules which should be adhered to in order to keep warranties valid. Not servicing when instructed to do so, could lead to paying for expensive repairs which would be covered by the manufacturer.

And finally, car insurance is vital to all drivers. However, if you need to make a claim, then your insurer could take service history into account. Without it, you could face having to pay for any repairs not covered by the insurance.

What is a service plan?

A car service plan is a fixed price, monthly or annual payment, where the customer gets a certain number of services throughout the contract.

This is common for new cars and can be used to ensure the vehicle gets routine maintenance and a detailed service history.

The level of service can depend on what the customer has signed up for. By signing up to a service plan, you gain all the benefits of a service, for a set fee.

Also, any small wear and tear can be addressed throughout the year, meaning even the smallest issue doesn’t grow into a larger problem for the driver.

What can you do to help?

Even if you are not a mechanic or even know what goes into making your car run – there are a few things you can do to help keep your car in the best condition possible before a service or MOT.

Throughout the year, it is essential to check your brakes, gearbox, exhaust, battery, dashboard warning lights, and so much more – and this can be done by a mechanic or yourself!

There are some essential car maintenance checks that you should be doing, and there are signs that your car should be taken for a service – do not ignore the signs.

Car maintenance is something that all car owners should take an active interest in to help preserve their vehicle and save them money.

What car maintenance tips do you know? And how often do you take your car for a service? Let us know in the comments below.

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