To keep things simple, most car makes will recommend that you bring your vehicle back to them for servicing either every six months or after you've driven up to a certain mileage on your car. The cost of the servicing can vary greatly, depending on whether you own a luxury-type vehicle, a specialty car or a premium brand.
Some people try to look for cheaper alternatives and bring their cars to a garage or mechanic that can offer them the same service at a cheaper rate. There are even websites teaching individuals how to service their cars themselves. Is this wise?
Well, if you happen to be a car mechanic by profession, then hurray for you! Ultimately, the decision to go cheap or DIY remains with the owners. For those who own a car, here are a few key things you should bear in mind when you're sending your car for servicing:
1. Make an appointment in advance
Those without an appointment end up waiting at the service centre. If it so happens that there are several walk-ins (or rather drive-ins!) before you, you'll end up wasting a lot of time. Some car companies have a value-added service where they'd collect your car from the airport when you're away travelling. This is great because you can have your car serviced when you won't be needing it anyway.
2. Remember the basics
The important things to look out for during your service a.k.a tune-up are: an oil and filter change service where the engine oil is drained and replaced; tyre, battery, wiper and lights checks; and top up of essential fluids such as brake fluid, windscreen washer fluid and power steering fluid.
3. Draw attention to any damages whether big or small
Take note of any strange noises and try to isolate where they're coming from and highlight these to the mechanic or engineer. If you're lucky, the damage may be covered under warranty (if applicable) and you may not have to fork out a single cent for parts and labour. Or just pay a small amount for the damaged parts that are not covered under the warranty. In any case, the best people to fix these damages or at least give you advice on what to do would be the mechanics from your car company.
4. If the damage is negligible, be open to do nothing
We've all been there. When you're the owner of a new car, you'd want to keep the condition as pristine as possible, so even a tiny scratch seems magnified. But do seek the advice of your mechanic. Sometimes eliminating that scratch on your bumper might mean replacing the entire thing, thus extra costs.
With regular and diligent car servicing, your precious vehicle will run longer and keep you and your family safer on the roads.