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How Much Should A Car Service Cost?
●June 16, 2021●5 minute read
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Regular servicing is an essential yet often pricey part of owning a car. Regardless of your car’s age or how far it has travelled, you will still need to get it serviced often to make sure you’re as safe as possible on the road.
In this guide, find out how much you should be paying for a car service, and how to make sure you aren’t being taken for a ride.
How much does a car service cost?
When it comes to determining the cost of a service, there are three major factors:
- Type of service
- Your mechanic
- Kilometres travelled
Did you know?
According to Oneflare, the average cost of a car service in Australia is between $150 to $550.
Types of service
The type of service has a major impact on the cost. When buying a new car, dealers will often encourage a minor check up 30 days after buying. Following this, your first minor service will occur about six to 12 months later. A minor service will include an oil and filter change, some fluid replenishment, and full vehicle diagnostics. This ensures that everything is running smoothly, and usually takes less than an hour. Sometimes a new car only needs an oil change, although more thorough maintenance is needed further on at your next major service.
Major services are far more in depth than minor services, and as such will cost a lot more. They include everything included in a minor service, with extra procedures as well. For major services, your mechanic will replenish all car fluids, top up tyre pressure, and perform alignment checks and tyre rotations. These services take more time and money, but are worth it to ensure safety on the roads.
When it comes to car maintenance, you may need to shop around to find the best deal for you. Private mechanics will often be cheaper than those within your manufacturer’s network, but cannot do warranty work. This means if your car is under warranty, you will have to take it to a dealership for the labour and parts costs to be subsidised.
If your car is still within the manufacturer’s capped price servicing time frame, then servicing your car at the dealership will be around the same price. There are also extra bonuses to servicing your car with a dealer. If your warranty is soon to expire, some dealerships might consider a goodwill loyalty scheme. This means they will continue to service your car at the capped price to prevent you from going to a private mechanic.
There are also many variables involved in estimating how much services cost. For example, all wheel drives may cost more to service than rear wheel drives. Whether your car is petrol or diesel can also affect the cost of a service. It is important to consider your options when it comes time to service your car. Since there’s no way to determine the average cost of a service, it can be a good idea to get quotes from a few different mechanics to find the best deal for you.
After the first couple of years, the intervals between major and minor services are based on your car’s odometer. Your dealer’s capped price servicing often only covers the first five years of ownership. Following this, scheduled services will occur every 15,000 kilometers. Major services will occur at 60,000, 120,000, 180,000, 240,000, 300,000, and 360,000 kilometers.
Services are also going to be more expensive the further your car has travelled. As your car ages, it becomes more susceptible to wear and tear, which can require more substantial repairs at services. Again, some mechanics might not include the cost of replacement parts in their initial quotes. Things like drive belts, air filters, and spark plugs can all be necessary at major services as they wear with use. So while your car’s odometer can be helpful in estimating the base cost of a service, there might be more work needed.
How to save money on car servicing
At the end of the day, services are an expensive albeit essential part of owning a car. But, there are a couple of ways to ensure you are getting the best deal possible from your mechanic.
1. Stick to your schedule
Sticking to your car’s logbook service schedule is an easy way to look after your car. While you might feel inclined to put a service off to save money, this can instead cost you more later on. If you keep your car’s servicing up to date, your car will run smoother and encounter fewer problems down the road. Failing to service your car at regular intervals can lead to more serious problems, which will end up costing you more on repairs.
2. Shop around
Since your car’s capped price servicing will eventually expire, it can be beneficial to contact a few different mechanics for quotes. Dealer mechanics will subsidise costs for capped price servicing. But as your car gets older, major services will start to cost even more. It’s about this time that you might want to consider switching to a private mechanic. Be sure to read the fine print in your car’s logbook on scheduled servicing, as this will tell you how far the dealer is willing to go.
3. Don’t be afraid
The process of getting your car serviced can seem overwhelming, especially if you don’t know much about cars. Because of this, you might feel inclined to jump at the cheapest offer available. However, a cheap service price is a tactic often used to lure in customers to be upsold with extra expenses. Don’t be afraid to ask your mechanic plenty of questions about which procedures are necessary for the service. This will give you the best idea of where your money is going so you know you aren’t paying too much. Again, this is where it pays to do your research to find out what your car needs. This includes how much other mechanics are charging, and what others are paying for the same service.
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Written by Dan O'Sullivan
Dan O’Sullivan is a Content Intern at Jacaranda Finance. Dan has previously worked as a Junior Reporter at JACDigital and as a Media and Publicity Assistant at St. Leo’s College. He has a Bachelor of Journalism/Arts from the University of Queensland.