When it comes to car ownership, routine maintenance is the unsung hero that keeps our vehicles humming smoothly. At the heart of this maintenance routine is the car service − a comprehensive checkup designed to keep your wheels rolling seamlessly. Ever wondered what goes into a standard car service?

Join us as we break down the essentials, exploring the key components that ensure your car stays in top-notch condition on the road. Whether you're a seasoned driver or a novice behind the wheel, understanding what's included in a car service provides a valuable insight into the care and attention your vehicle deserves.

What is the difference between a basic and full car service?

The primary distinction between a basic and full car service lies in the depth and scope of the inspection and maintenance performed on the vehicle. A basic (or minor) car service typically includes essential tasks such as: an oil change, oil filter replacement and a basic safety check. It serves as a preventive measure to address your car’s immediate needs and to maintain its basic functionality. 

On the other hand, a full (or major) car service is a far more comprehensive package, encompassing a broader range of inspections and maintenance tasks. In addition to everything included in a minor service, a major service typically also involves a more thorough examination of the braking system, suspension, steering components, tyre rotation, and additional checks on fluids, filters and the exhaust system. A major vehicle service is designed to provide a more in-depth assessment of the vehicle's overall health, addressing not only immediate concerns but also aiming to prevent potential issues that may arise in the future.

The choice between a minor and major car service often depends on the vehicle's age, mileage, and the owner's preferences for proactive maintenance.  

What does a minor car service include?

Minor services are still comprehensive and include the following: 

Engine oil change 

The heart of your vehicle is its engine, and regular oil changes are essential to its health. During a car service, a mechanic will drain your car’s old oil, replace its oil filter and refill it with fresh & high-quality engine oil. This process helps to lubricate the engine components, reduce friction and prevent excessive wear and tear. 

Brake inspection and maintenance 

Your safety on the road depends heavily on the condition of your brakes. A comprehensive car service includes a thorough inspection of the braking system. This may involve checking brake pads, rotors, and brake fluid levels, and identifying any signs of wear or damage. Timely brake maintenance is vital for responsive, effective braking. 

Tyre rotation and alignment 

Uneven tyre wear can affect your vehicle's handling and fuel efficiency. During a car service, the mechanic will rotate your tyres to ensure even wear and check their alignment. Properly aligned and balanced tyres not only contribute to a smoother ride, but also extend the lifespan of your tyres. 

Fluid checks and top-ups 

Different fluids in your vehicle keep different systems running smoothly. A car service typically includes checking and topping up essential fluids such as coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid and windshield washer fluid. Maintaining proper fluid levels is crucial for the optimal functioning of your vehicle.

Battery inspection 

A car service involves checking the condition of your vehicle's battery. This includes inspecting the battery terminals for corrosion, ensuring secure connections and testing the battery's overall health. A well-maintained battery is essential for reliable starts and preventing unexpected breakdowns.

Exhaust system examination 

The exhaust system plays a crucial role in reducing emissions and ensuring your vehicle runs efficiently. During a car service, a mechanic will inspect the exhaust system for leaks, damage or any signs of deterioration. Addressing issues with the exhaust system helps maintain your vehicle’s compliance with local environmental laws and ensures your car keeps running smoothly.

Suspension and steering system inspection 

The suspension and steering systems contribute to your vehicle's comfort and handling while driving. A minor car service involves inspecting these systems for wear and tear, checking for loose components, and ensuring proper alignment. Addressing suspension and steering issues promptly enhances both safety and the quality of your driving experience. 

What does a major car service include?

Major car services are even more comprehensive. They include all of the above AND the following:

Spark plug replacement

Spark plugs are a crucial component of the car that produces the spark necessary to ignite your engine. If your spark plugs are damaged or worn, your car will either struggle to start or not start at all, leaving you stranded. A major car service can involve replacing the spark plugs in your car before they begin to cause you issues, remedying a bad situation before it even occurs. Addressing issues with your spark plugs early helps to ensure your car will start and drive reliably and efficiently.

Timing and/or drive belt replacement

Timing and drive belts have different purposes, both of which are vital to the functioning of your car. The timing belt synchronises the rotation of the crankshaft and the camshaft − critical in the operation of the internal combustion engine. The drive belt transfers power from your engine to accessories such as the AC compressor, alternator, fan clutch and water pump, making them function. These belts wear down over time due to friction. Belt failure can cause severe damage to your engine and other driven accessories so it is vital to replace them before this happens. A major car service will often involve replacing your timing and drive belts if the vehicle has reached the required milage or if these belts show signs of wear, saving your car from future catastrophic damage.

Air filter replacement

The air filter plays a crucial role in maintaining optimal engine performance. Over time, it accumulates dust and debris, hindering airflow to the engine. Replacing the air and fuel filter during a car service ensures that your engine receives clean air, improving fuel efficiency and overall performance. This will also enhance the overall performance of your air conditioning system.

Coolant, brake, transmission and power steering fluid flush

Your car has many different types of fluids, each contributing to different functions in the operation of your car. Coolant helps transfer heat away from the engine. Power steering allows you to turn your wheels with ease. Transmission fluid lubricates the moving parts inside your transmission whilst providing appropriate friction and pressure to allow your car to shift gears. Brake fluid provides pressure to your brakes, to operate them. 

Over time, fluids can degrade or become contaminated, debris can build up inside your car’s components and fluids can leak. Poor quality fluids can cause serious damage to your car, requiring expensive repairs and/or the replacement of components. A major car service includes a flush of all your car’s fluids. This involves emptying out your car of fluids, rinsing leftover debris out from your components, replacing filters and refilling of all appropriate fluid. This ensures your car’s engine, cooling, braking and operational systems continue to function into the future. 

Depending on the details specified in your vehicle’s service manual, a major service for your vehicle may include much more. Refer to your vehicle’s manual and enquire with a Natrad Autocare mechanic to find out what a major car service looks like for you. 

What vehicle maintenance tasks does a car service not include? 

While a car service covers a wide range of maintenance tasks, there are certain aspects of vehicle upkeep that typically fall outside the scope of a standard service and may not feature on a car servicing checklist. These tasks might include:

  • Body repairs: Cosmetic repairs (such as fixing dents, scratches or repainting) are generally not part of a routine car service.
  • Tyre replacement: While a car service may involve tyre rotation and inspection, the actual replacement of tyres is usually a separate service and depends on the condition and lifespan of your car’s previous tyres.
  • Windshield wiper blade replacement: Although a car service may involve topping up windshield washer fluid, the replacement of worn-out wiper blades is often a separate maintenance task.
  • Wheel alignment: While tyre rotation is a common inclusion, wheel  alignment adjustments may require a separate service, especially if there are issues affecting the vehicle's handling.
  • Exterior detailing: Cleaning and detailing the exterior of the vehicle, such as waxing and polishing, are not typically part of a standard car service. A car wash is also not included. 
  • Interior cleaning: Thorough interior cleaning (including carpet and upholstery shampooing) is generally not included in routine car services.
  • Battery replacement: While a car service may involve a battery inspection, the actual replacement of a worn-out or malfunctioning battery is typically a separate task.
  • Transmission overhauls: Extensive repairs or overhauls to the transmission system are usually beyond the scope of a minor service.

Get professional car servicing at Natrad Autocare

Time for a minor or major service? Natrad Autocare has you covered.  

We take pride in delivering professional and reliable car servicing that goes beyond the ordinary. With a team of highly skilled technicians and state-of-the-art facilities, we are committed to keeping your vehicle in optimal condition.

Trust us to provide meticulous care for your car, addressing both immediate concerns and preventing potential issues down the road. For more information on our services and repairs or on getting your car serviced at Natrad Autocare, contact us today.