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Understanding Car Services

When preparing for a car service, you must be aware of what to expect. In a normal service or a quick service, the service center technician will perform the following checks:

  • Check the engine oil's color, quantity and viscosity. If required, the oil and the oil filter will be changed. The engine oil is what lubricates the engine and keeps it in good shape. As a rule of thumb the engine oil should be changed after every six months or after every 6,000 miles.
  • Check the water in the radiator. Water is what keeps the car engine cool and less water in the radiator, or rust in the water, means there is something wrong with the cooling system. Anything from a weak spring in the radiator cap, to rust in the radiator, can be the cause of the problem.
  • Check the spark plugs of the car. The spark plugs are what ignites the fuel in the cylinders and they can get corroded or the required gap can increase or decrease. The plugs are washed with petrol or a spark plug cleaning liquid. The gaps are adjusted and the plugs reinstalled. A short spark plug will need to be replaced.
  • Clean the air filter of the car. The air filter is as important as fuel is, to the car. If an air filter is choked, it will strangle the air supply to the engine. The air filter is cleaned by pressured air being blown through it. If it is over clogged or damaged it may need to be replaced.
  • Check the car's timing. The timing of the car is of extreme importance. If the timing is out, the tappets may need to be adjusted.
  • Check car emissions. The car emissions are checked using a nozzle that is connected to a computer system that analyzes the gas emissions and gives a readout.
  • A visual check is done of seatbelts, head and tail lights. The brakes and clutch are also checked.

These are the basic checks that are done during a normal car service. A new car needs to be serviced once a year and older cars should be serviced six monthly. If there is any repair work that you feels needs to be done, you should point it out. Get an estimate of how much the repair work will cost.

When you go to collect your car, or when it is delivered to you, you will get a checklist of the work done on your car. Ask to see the part that was replaced. At times, a service center may replace a part with an equivalent part. Ask them to provide a warranty for the part. When they seek permission to replace a part ask them to ensure that it will not invalidate any warranty that you have on your car. Make a file for your car and file all car service records in it. The better you maintain your car the longer service it will give you. There is a car that has been driven over 2.6 million miles and is still being used by the owner.

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