Heels & Horsepower Magazine


3 basic things you should know about servicing your car

Owning your first car and not having to rely on anyone else to get you to where you need to go, is a true rite of passage. However, with great power comes great responsibility, and maintaining it should be a priority.

Keeping your car in tiptop condition is as important while you are driving it, as it is when the time comes to sell it. A properly maintained car, and one with a complete and detailed service history will always be more valuable than one that’s poorly looked after.

The first item of business for any dealership or prospective buyer at trade-in or sale time, is a car’s service book, and some might dismiss a car completely if the service history is incomplete or patchy. Have a look at the second-hand cars for sale on any reputable dealer’s website and the term ‘FSH’, or Full Service History, is often listed ahead of any other features or extras.

Here are 3 factors you, as a motorist, should understand when it comes to servicing your car.

  • What are car service intervals?

Though these may differ slightly from car to car, every vehicle on the road comes with a manufacturer’s recommended service schedule. These are generally in the form of time and distance intervals between workshop visits, such as ‘one year or 15,000km’, whichever comes first, as an example.

It’s important to know that adhering to these intervals is not optional, and especially not on cars that are still covered by warranties. Skipping a scheduled service can have serious repercussions, such as the voiding of warranties or even mechanical failure.

  • When should you take your car in for a service?

Familiarise yourself with your car’s schedule in order to prepare for upcoming services, whether your car is covered by a service/maintenance plan or not. This can generally be found in the physical or digital service book that comes with the car, and should be stored somewhere safe.  Also, some cars have built-in service timers to notify you ahead of the scheduled maintenance work, but it’s always better to check than to rely on these alone.

  • What information should you have at hand when booking your car in for a service?

If you struggle to understand your schedule, or have trouble finding it, call the service department at your dealership to ask for assistance. Have your car’s current mileage and the details of the last known service handy, as this will assist them in guiding you.

It’s also a good idea to have your car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on hand, as this is the quickest way for a dealership to identify the specifics of your particular vehicle model. This can be found on your licence disc, or stamped onto the body of your car – often, but not always, visible through the bottom corner of the windscreen.

Servicing your vehicle means that you will always be aware of the condition of your vehicle. For instance, you may not know if your car needs a new wheel bearing or shock absorber, or that your brakes are nearing replacement time. Regular services allow the technician or mechanic to check for and inform you of any costly problems or issues before or as they begin to arise,” says Kutlwano Mogatusi, WesBank’s Communications Specialist.

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