How Much Should A Car Service Cost & What Happens In One?

How Much Should A Car Service Cost & What Happens In One?

To keep a car running smoothly, you must bring it for regular servicing — usually after 5,000 to 6,000 miles of driving.  

Some services are quick and simple, while others are time and cost-intensive. There's a lot of variation in the price of a car service, so how do you know if you're getting good value for money? And what is the average cost of a full car service in the UK? What should a service include? What's the difference between a full service and an interim service?  

We'll answer all these questions and more from our expert in-house mechanic. Scroll down to get the complete lowdown.  

What is a car service and why is it important?  

A car service is a comprehensive maintenance check that ensures your vehicle is operating well and safe to drive. 

Unless you drive something worth less than the cost of a service - which is very unlikely with the recent secondhand market - then we think it's worth getting your car serviced.   

It saves you money in the long run by reducing the likelihood of major issues occurring and significantly increasing your car's resale value. 

What is the average cost of a full car service in the UK? 

On average, UK car owners spend around £280 on servicing each year. The age of a car is a significant factor in the price, as older cars typically require more care.    

The amount you'll spend will change every year. You'll spend more in a year when your car has had a breakdown or is scheduled for significant service and less in years when only minor services are due.  

Newer cars usually have fewer problems, and the manufacturer's warranty limits costs in the first few years. Older cars are often out of warranty, and the added wear & tear from more years on the road means the cost of service and repairs goes up.    

To help you navigate the wide range of costs and price tags, we've analysed the top search engine results for British car services and calculated the average prices you should expect. 

Worried about servicing costs? With Bumper, you could benefit from 0% interest car repair financing and pay for car repairs in instalments in easy-to-manage monthly payments.  

What are the different types of car services?   

There are three different types of car service: interim, full, and major. Manufacturers set different intervals for each one based on the age or mileage of the vehicle.    

  1. An Interim service is usually recommended every six months or 6,000 miles    
  2. A full service is usually recommended every 12 months or 12,000 miles    
  3. A major service is usually recommended every 24 months or 24,000 miles   

The manufacturer draws from an analysis of all the vehicles of your type on the road. It uses repair and breakdown data to determine when you should bring the car into the shop and what parts and fluids need looking at.    

Naturally, as the car gets older, things start to break down. A scheduled service is meant to address common issues before they become problems, so it is always worth getting regular services done. 

What do the different types of car services cost?   

Each type of car service has a different cost. Looking at the search engine results for UK car services, we've been able to come up with these average prices. For reference, we assumed a 2019 1.2 Vauxhall Corsa SXi with 42,000 miles on the odometer.    

What is the cost of an oil change?  

The average oil change and filter price was £61. Depending on the quality of engine oil and the size of your engine, that price could go up. Changing engine oil and filter is usually part of an interim service, but you can also buy it as a standalone service.  

How much does an interim car service cost? 

The average cost of an interim car service is around £96, with service centres including an average of 35 checks in their interim service.   

How much does a full car service cost in the UK? 

The average cost of a full car service is £158. Garages bundle in an average of 53 checks in their service packages. 

How much is a major service in the UK? 

Not every garage offers a major service, so a lack of supply increases the price. From those garages that do offer major car service, the average price for a major service was £219 for about 62 checks on average.

What affects the cost of a service? 

The main factors affecting car service costs include your car’s age, the mechanic’s time, and replacement parts. Here are some other factors that determine how much time and effort servicing will take:  

  • Service package chosen — Full services cost more than minor checks 
  • Age & mileage of car — Older and well-driven cars often require more thorough services 
  • Car make & model — Luxury and high-performance cars require more expertise and expensive parts 
  • Labour costs — The mechanic’s knowledge and time will also affect your overall fee 
  • Additional services — If any issues arise during the service (e.g. additional repairs or replacements), you will have to pay more than if everything is working well 

If you're concerned about the cost of servicing, then Bumper might help with our 0% interest car repair finance options. 

How much should a car service cost? Common FAQs 

Still unsure how much your car service might cost? Here are some common questions about how much UK car service prices. 

Does engine size affect the cost of a service?  

Cars with an engine size smaller than two litres will usually be less expensive to service. High-performance cars with larger engines and more expensive components will cost more.   

Is servicing an electric car more expensive?  

Electric vehicles and some plug-in hybrids often need specialist servicing, which comes at a higher hourly rate.  

However, they have fewer fluids and moving parts. The service price usually depends on the type of service your hybrid or EV needs.  

What are the cheapest car brands to service?  

Popular cars like the Vauxhall Corsa and Kia Sportage will typically be in the lower price range for servicing since so many of them are on the road.   

Parts are cheap and readily available, and their more straightforward design means they’re generally faster and easier to fix.  Plus, nearly all garages and mechanics will know how to fix them. 

What cars cost the most to service?  

Luxury vehicles are more complicated and often have higher parts costs. Brands such as Range Rover, BMW, Mercedes, and Jaguar are known for high parts and labour costs. Consider these additional costs before opting for that luxury car! 

Are services covered by warranty?  

No. Generally, most warranties do not cover the cost of regular maintenance or servicing. 

If a car's warranty cover is still in place, the cost of a scheduled service will be capped by the policy. Of course, to sustain the warranty's validity, you must stick to the prescribed service schedule. Skipping or putting off a scheduled service to save money isn't an option.

Is a full car service worth it? 

Yes. Servicing your car is with it as it keeps your car in good condition, prevents accidents, and saves you money in the long run by resolving major issues. 

Here are the top six reasons you should service your car: 

1. To avoid expensive repair bills  

Neglecting car servicing is a costly mistake.  

Components like brake pads that are replaced during services prevent more extensive damage. For instance, worn pads can damage discs and, in severe cases, even the calliper. Swift replacement of inexpensive parts, like pads, is crucial.  

Oil changes are often overlooked, though vital. Despite an engine showing no immediate issues, deteriorating oil poses risks. Poor oil can lead to catastrophic engine failures, necessitating costly rebuilds or new engines, costing around £3,000.  

Regular servicing, addressing these issues proactively, is a wise investment in preventing major, expensive repairs and ensuring long-term vehicle health. 

2. It can prevent accidents  

The previous example is perfect again, which shows how vital service items are. Worn brake pads don’t stop the car as effectively as newer ones. When the pads wear down to the metal, the braking force will be less than half what it should be.  

Moreover, if you’re involved in an accident with parts of your car in this condition, there will be severe consequences, including penalty points and fines.  

3. To predict and plan for future repairs  

When you take your car to be serviced, the mechanic will review all the significant components and take it for a test drive. Any faults starting to develop but have not yet become apparent from the driver's seat or to an untrained eye will be detected.   

Repairing faults before they cause the car to be unusable affords cost savings in both arrangements for alternative transport and the outright cost of fixing the car, with the ability to shop around for better prices on parts and labour, allowing further cost savings.   

4. Improve your car's resale value  

Most cars are a depreciating asset - their value decreases with time. There’s no way to avoid this, short of only driving classic or unique vehicles that become desirable by collectors.   

There are a few ways to reduce the impact of depreciation. These all boil down to increasing or maintaining the desirability of the car. Keeping the mileage low and not damaging the paintwork is often difficult to guarantee.

Keeping up with servicing, however, is guaranteed to increase the resale value of your car. Taking the car to a dealer or specialist garage will show the new owner you’ve cared for the vehicle and that it’s less likely to cause them problems, increasing the value.  

5. Services are required by law  

Technically, services aren’t required by law. However, services help you keep your car up to legal standards. 

Tyres must have over 1.5mm of tread depth to be legal on the road. A full service will check tread depth and give you a report, allowing you to plan when the tyres will need changing and avoid getting 3 points and a £2,500 fine, and that’s per tyre!  

Working windscreen wipers and lights are another area required by law and will be picked up on a service.   

6. It helps the planet  

Petrol engines rely on a trifecta of air, fuel, and spark for operation, each with serviceable components crucial for combustion efficiency. 

The air intake undergoes filtration to prevent debris entry; a clogged filter impedes airflow, leading to poor performance and increased fuel consumption. Old spark plugs impact ignition efficiency, affecting combustion and reducing unburnt fuel emissions. Fuel filtration, like the air system, prevents contaminants, ensuring optimal engine function. 

Neglecting these serviceable components can result in engine failure. Regular maintenance preserves engine health and enhances fuel efficiency, lowers emissions, and saves money by preventing extensive repairs. 

How to service your car - A quick guide 

For drivers, car servicing is an important habit to get into. This may sound like another item on a long to-do list, but regular servicing keeps your vehicle efficient and reliable and may save you money in the long run. 

Here's a quick guide to what happens in each type of service. 

What’s included in a full service? 

A full car service is completed by a qualified mechanic. It’s often done alongside an oil change or general car maintenance.  

Full car services include: 

  • Brakes 
  • Steering 
  • Suspension 
  • Oil 
  • Fluids 
  • Lights 
  • Exhaust 
  • Overall safety check 
  • Engine cooling fan 
  • Security tests 
  • Engine & gearbox mounts 

Full services are more comprehensive and provide a detailed check of the car. These are required every year or after a specific mileage.  

What’s an interim service? 

An interim service is the most basic type. This is required every six months and is designed to check your car’s fit for everyday driving.  

Interim car services include: 

  • Brakes 
  • Oil & filter changes 
  • Tyre checks  
  • ABS 
  • Warning lights 
  • A/C 
  • Exhaust 
  • Clutch 
  • Handbrake 
  • Battery

Interim services are more affordable and recommended for cars with lower mileage between services.  

Do I need a full or interim service? And how often should I book in? 

The service you need depends on how many miles you’ve driven since your last service and how long the service was.  

Interim services are required every six months or for cars that average over 7,400 miles a year (or over 2,000 a month). Full services are needed at least once a year for all vehicles. 

You should also book an interim service if you notice your vehicle isn't performing as it should. 

Regular servicing is the best way to keep your car performing as it should, reduce breakdowns, and maintain safety. Learn more about whether servicing is worth it here.  

Cost of an interim service vs full service 

Since interim and full services have different checks and scopes, they also have different prices.  

Interim services cost from £80 to £200, and the average price is £119.  

Full services cost from £133 to £300, and the average cost is £151. 

How do you check a vehicle’s service history? 

A vehicle’s service history is an excellent way to tell how well a vehicle has been maintained. This can be extremely helpful when buying or selling a used car. 

The first place to check a car’s service history is in the service history booklet, which should have been completed after each service. 

If the owner doesn’t have a service history booklet, you can check with the dealership and request a copy. It is important to note that if the previous owner has completed a service elsewhere, the main dealer won’t have a record. 

Is it illegal to not service your car? 

Unlike an MOT test, you are not legally required to service your car. However, it is generally recommended that you take your car for a full service once every 12 months to maintain performance and safety. 

What is the average cost of a full car service in the UK - The takeaway 

Car services are vital for keeping your car healthy, reducing the likelihood of big problems, and keeping you safe while on the road. Hopefully, this blog has helped you learn about the average UK service costs and how much your car might cost.  

Worried about how you’ll pay your next car repair bill? Consider a car repair loan from Bumper. It’s easy, fast, and completely interest-free.  

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