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How often should I service my vehicle?

Posted in Servicing Insights

How often should I service my vehicle?

It has been the normal thought process for many decades to service the vehicle when the listed log book service kilometres have been travelled. However, if you don't do a lot of kilometres (the figures show the average Australian driver only do approx. 15,000 km per year), you should have your vehicle serviced according to the recommended time based service intervals. Even if you don't make the required kilometres, certain parts wear out over time, which makes servicing on time, instead of when you hit the kilometre mark, equally as important.


Not driving the amount of listed log book service kilometres (usually 10,000 or 15,000 km per year) probably means you didn't take many long trips, but more short, stop-start journeys. These are one of the most severe forms of driving an engine can endure. Since the engine seldom reaches optimal operating temperature for any considerable period of time, they can't burn off the unwanted by-products of combustion. This build up of unwanted by-products can lead to a reduction in the engine oils efficiency to lubricate, which in turn, can lead to premature engine wear and possible engine failure.

Engines and transmissions are machine parts build to precise tolerances. Metal expands as it heats and those parts are designed to be at the right tolerances at their normal operating temperatures. In short trips, those parts do a lot of operating at cold temperatures, where the tolerances are less than ideal - and wear rates are high. Also, lubricating oil does to some extent adapt to its changes in temperature, but it still does its best work (keeping the metal parts separated by a thin, slippery film) at normal operating temperatures.  So wear rates can be high, even when kilometres are low.  So time or distance based servicing makes sense from an engineering viewpoint, even though it seems counter-intuitive.


Importantly, your warranty depends on getting the services done at the right times/distances. If you don't, and parts fail (expensively), you will potentially have to pay the full cost of repairs. This will be much more painful, financially, than just getting the services done on time.

Many issues can occur if you don’t get your vehicle serviced on schedule. Reduced fuel economy, poor driving feel and even major mechanical failures, are all possible if regular maintenance and part replacement is not carried out. Modern engine oils contain cleaning agents that help to keep the inside of the engine in good condition, although oil will slowly deteriorates the longer it is used. Failing to change this oil causes sections inside the engine to block up with carbon deposits, increasing wear on the internal components of the engine. Brake fluid is another component that needs to be checked and replaced regularly, as it absorbs moisture from the air, which reduces the performance of the braking system.


When it comes time to sell your vehicle, being able to provide a consistent, and regular servicing history with a reputable serve department, will drastically improve your resale value.Simply put, regularly servicing your car will undoubtedly improve the life span of the vehicle. Plus, when you're ready to sell a car with evidence of regular servicing – or even better a full service history - is likely to attract more potential buyers and a higher selling price.


Alternatively, if you use your car more regularly and drive more than the average distance, then you will reach the kilometre interval first. In this case, your vehicle servicing should be based on the recommended distance travelled. Remember, it is not only time or distance; it's whichever is reached first that really matters. If your car is still under manufacturers warranty, you can make use (if applicable) of their Capped Price Servicing, but if you've bought a Pre-Owned vehicle or your car is out of warranty, the team at Motorama Tyre & Service can do a service for you. We offer a $199 Service Special that covers most vital parts.

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