Understanding What ACTUALLY Gets Done On Your Car Service

So, it’s time for your next car service? You might be wondering what the difference is between a minor, major, and interim service is, why some service centres are more expensive than others, and what the mechanic actually does each service. We’ve compiled a very simple guide for you to understand everything you need to know about car services.

Minor, major & interim

In your service logbook, you will likely see that your manufacturer has included services in between the mandatory scheduled service slots. These are called interim services and they would usually be performed if the vehicle has been driven regularly under harsh conditions, for example, driving off-road, towing, or racing. In this service, the engine oil and engine oil filter would be replaced as well as anything else that the driver knows needs immediate attention and cannot wait until the next scheduled service.

minor, basic or general service generally includes replacing the engine oil and engine oil filter. Aside from any other parts you and your mechanic discuss and agree upon replacing prior to the service, these should be the only parts used in this service. Minor services should also consist of a safety inspection under the body and under the bonnet. Other basic things will be checked such as the fluid levels, the brakes, tyres, and the lights.

major service is determined by your car manufacturer based on time or a certain mileage. Once your car reaches this time or mileage it is due for a major service where something ‘major’ like perhaps a timing belt or differential and transfer case fluid is changed. These types of replacements are not as regular as other things like a fuel filter or a coolant change. This obviously requires more time to perform the service and extra tasks involved so it’s best to speak with your mechanic about what’s involved and get a rough estimate of the total price. 

Ultimately it is best to follow your manufacturer’s scheduled services in the service logbook but also stay vigilant at monitoring your car for any warning signs that it needs an interim service.