What Actually Happens During an Auto Service and Why Are They Important?

10 March 2020 / Motasoft Administrator

What Actually Happens During an Auto Service and Why Are They Important?

Bringing your car in for a regular auto service is important. However, it’s easier to understand why when you understand precisely what occurs during an auto service appointment.

The truth is, the process can vary depending on the type of service you schedule. Each option offers its own benefits. This guide will explain their differences, and explain how scheduling regular auto service keeps you safe and saves you money.

Interim Service

Interim service is perhaps the most basic form of auto service. That’s not to say it isn’t comprehensive. It involves a thorough inspection of your vehicle, along with an oil, oil filter, and pollen filter change. Auto maintenance professionals will check all your car’s major components, including brakes, tyres, and fluid levels, confirming the vehicle is in a safe condition to drive.

The cost of an interim service typically starts from £120. That said, it’s important to keep in mind that many different factors can affect the cost, such as engine size. You shouldn’t necessarily expect to pay that exact amount when you schedule interim service.

It’s worth noting that scheduling interim service isn’t something everyone needs to do. It’s recommended for people who drive frequently. They simply put their vehicles through more wear-and-tear than other drivers.

Thus, their vehicles’ maintenance needs are greater. While you should always coordinate with experts to create a maintenance schedule for your car, and you should always adhere to their recommendations, if you’re not a very frequent driver, the standard annual services may be all that’s necessary to keep your vehicle in safe condition.

Full Car Service

Full service is a general auto service most drivers should schedule at least once a year. This is true whether you’re a frequent driver or not. Along with a comprehensive inspection, your major filters will be replaced, and new spark plugs may be fitted.

Additionally, the fuel and air filters will be changed, which isn’t offered during interim service. The auto maintenance professionals inspecting your vehicle will also check the condition of your rear brakes, and make adjustments if necessary.

This is another task left out of interim service. Because your brakes obviously play a role in your safety, it’s important to understand that interim service is not a replacement for a full service and inspection. You still need your rear brakes checked annually at the very least. 

Prices for full service start at £180. That said, as with interim service, costs may vary depending on the size of your engine and other related factors.

MOT and Service

As you probably know, all drivers with vehicles older than three years in the United Kingdom are required to schedule an annual car MOT. This is to ensure vehicles are in roadworthy condition, and that they meet certain exhaust emission standards.

It’s important to know that at St Albans Car Clinic, you can book the MOT and interim, full, or oil change service together. No matter which option you choose, you’ll get a 10 percent discount when you do.

The primary focus of the MOT is safety. While your car may need additional service if it doesn’t meet exhaust standards, the car MOT is designed to keep everyone safe on the road. That’s why it consists essentially of a visual inspection of key components, including tyres, wheels, seat belts, mirrors, doors, and any other component that can impact a vehicle’s safety.

Maintenance work that doesn’t necessarily improve the vehicle’s immediate safety, but does improve performance (and can still boost safety to a degree), is usually part of a separate auto service. Scheduling both your car MOT and overall service together is thus a very convenient option. It’s also a smart way to ensure your vehicle is in the best possible condition.

If your vehicle passes the MOT, you’ll be provided with a certificate stating as such. However, don’t make the mistake of assuming this confirms your car is safe to drive for the entire life of the certificate. Passing the MOT merely indicates your vehicle currently meets the minimum standards for roadworthiness. That doesn’t mean it won’t become less safe to drive in the near future.

That’s why it’s important to coordinate with experts and adhere to a proper service schedule. There may be instances when, despite recently passing the MOT, you car develops a problem that could make driving it unsafe for you and others on the road.

It’s also essential to keep in mind that every vehicle is different, and every driver is different. The manufacturer of your car will likely recommend a service schedule based on how far you have driven. Once you reach a certain milestone, you’re supposed to book service.

That said, you already know that some people drive more often than others. The manner in which people drive can also vary. Some people drive on smooth roads, others drive in less ideal terrain. Some drivers maintain consistent speed and handling, while others are less consistent. 

All these factors will impact a vehicle’s condition. Thus, while it is necessary to learn what your manufacturer recommends when creating a service schedule, it’s also important to regularly stay in touch with auto professionals. They may recommend modifying the schedule based on your driving habits.

The Benefits of Interim and Full Car Service

The MOT, interim service, and full car service all offer their own set of benefits. You should discuss this topic in greater detail with an expert to fully understand their core differences.

However, there are certain general benefits which apply to all forms of service.

For instance, whether you schedule interim or full service, your vehicle will get an oil and oil filter change. This is key to ensuring your vehicle operates properly. Oil lubricates the components of the engine, guarding against such problems as overheating.

As you may have guessed, the filter protects the engine from contaminants such as dirt. These could cause damage over time if the filter wasn’t replaced. Thus, by scheduling regular service, you’re optimising your engine’s lifespan. This in fact helps you save money in the long run.

Both interim and full car services also involve checking the tyres. If necessary, they will also of course be replaced (although this is technically a separate service, and will thus affect the cost).

Driving on new tyres boosts your vehicle’s overall performance. More importantly, it also boosts your safety. When tyres get old, they begin to lose traction. That means they can’t grip the road properly any longer.

This negatively impacts handling, particularly when driving in rain or similar conditions. The likelihood of a collision naturally increases as a result. By adhering to a service schedule, you’re being the kind of responsible driver who understands that their driving choices affect the safety of others. 

In general, scheduling service when necessary also helps you avoid larger problems that may pose safety issues, and could certainly be expensive to fix. That’s because many such problems often begin as seemingly minor issues that drivers may easily overlook.

For instance, if your car has begun to make a strange noise, it could be a sign that a component is damaged or failing. Unfortunately, drivers don’t always notice these noises. By the time they do, what started as a minor inconvenience has developed into something much more dire. The problem will of course need to be addressed before you can safely use your car again.

That’s why auto service is so valuable. Scheduling it on a consistent basis gives experts regular opportunities to check your car for the minor signs of a problem that you might otherwise miss. This keeps you safe, while also saving you a lot of money. 

Of course, while the car MOT also offers benefits, it’s something you legally need to schedule annually if your vehicle is greater than three years old. Once again, this is why combining the MOT with auto service is a convenient idea. Your vehicle will go through a far more thorough inspection and tests, giving you the confidence you need to trust it’s safe.

At St Albans Car Clinic, we want everyone on the road to feel comfortable. We know auto service plays a major role in everyone’s safety. That’s why we inspect and test vehicles carefully, making sure they’re in the proper condition. To book the MOT, interim service, full service, or a combination of service and the MOT, phone us on 01727 867747. You can also book online if you’d prefer.

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