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How do I know which type of servicing my car needs?

by | Mar 8, 2023 | Servicing

Keeping your car service history up to date can help maintain the value of your vehicle as well as making sure it is running smoothly and free of faults. But with so many service options to choose from, how do you know which type of service you need?

Black Jacket and Black Pants Standing Under Vehicle

What is a car service?

A car service is a health check of your vehicle to check its condition and ensure it is running correctly, having your car serviced at regular intervals will help to pick up any issues before they become major problems. The more in-depth the service is that you choose, the more different components are checked and/or changed.

Is a car service different to an MOT?

Yes, a car service is not the same as an MOT. An MOT test and holding a valid MOT certificate are legal requirements if your car is on the road but a service is optional. A service covers the mechanical health of your car whereas an MOT looks at how safe it is to be on the road.

If car servicing is optional why should I get it done?

Although getting a service done at a garage is optional you are likely to require the jobs done to your car at some point within the time frame so it is arguably best to check them or get them done before they cause a problem, in line with your car’s recommended service schedule. Servicing your car also keeps it running smoothly and can save you money in the long run.

You can service your car yourself but it requires a significant level of mechanical knowledge as well as a few specialist tools, plus you’ll not get a stamp in your log book to maintain your full service history.

Importantly, if your car is within the manufacturer’s warranty, you’ll need to have the car serviced in line with the manufacturer’s service schedule in order to keep the warranty valid.

What are the different types of car service?

Most garages will offer a range of service options for your vehicle. Here at Peverell Garage, your local Plymouth independent garage, we offer basic service, interim service, full service (sometimes called a major service) as well as a manufacturer compliant service option to suit your needs. Below we discuss what is included in each type of service.

car service varies

What’s included in a car service and how Long Does a Car Service Take?


How long a car service takes will vary depending on the type of service and the number of issues found that need resolving. A car service is about properly maintaining the vehicle so the technician needs adequate time to fully inspect and even dismantle parts of your car in order to complete the service.

Basic car service at Peverell Garage

This is the minimum recommended check for your car to be carried out either every 6-9,000 miles or annually. At Peverell Garage a basic service includes:

  • Change of engine oil and oil filter
  • Check of tyres and tyre condition
  • Check of lights
  • Check of fluid levels under the bonnet
  • Brake check

Most car manufacturers recommended either at least an interim or full service every year so it is always best to check your vehicle handbook.

How long does a basic service take?

A basic service takes approximately 90 minutes.

Interim car service at Peverell Garage

An interim service is for vehicles that drive under 8000 miles per year or as a more regular check for high mileage drivers (every 6 months, or every 5,000-6,000 miles). An interim car service includes:

  • Change of engine oil and oil filter
  • Check of tyres and tyre condition
  • Check of lights
  • Check and top up of fluid levels under the bonnet
  • Brake check
  • Replacement of cabin filter (where applicable)
  • Steering and suspension check
  • Check of lubricants
  • Check of windscreen washers and wipers

How Long Does an Interim Service Take?

An interim service takes around two hours.

Full or major car service at Peverell Garage

A full service is recommended every 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first although in some cases it is only required every 2 years (24 months). A full car service at Peverell Garage includes:

  • Change of engine oil and oil filter
  • Check of tyres and tyre condition
  • Check of lights
  • Check and top up of fluid levels under the bonnet
  • Check, clean and adjust brakes
  • Replacement of cabin filter (every two years)
  • Steering and suspension check
  • Check of lubricants
  • Check of windscreen washers and wipers
  • Replacement fuel filter (where applicable)
  • Replacement of spark plugs (where applicable, every 4 years or 40,000 miles)
  • Replacement of air filter (every four years or 60,000 miles)

There may be additional aspects of a vehicle to be serviced not included in these regular servicing lists. Tasks like coolant servicing are only required every four years and transmission fluid servicing differs from make to make of vehicle. For example, a Land Rover gearbox and differential should be replaced every 20,000, where as a BMW rear differential could have ‘lifetime oil’. Having said this, we always recommend that transmissions are services every 40,000 miles unless stated otherwise.

How Long Does a full car Service Take?

A full or major service takes longer as it involves more tasks, around three to four hours. At Peverell Garage we ask that you drop your car to us in the morning and collect it when complete so that we can carry out any remedial work and order any required parts before you collect it, saving you bringing your car in on a separate occasion where possible.

How long does a combined MOT and service take?

Many car owners opt to have their annual service done at the time of their MOT. An MOT takes around 45 minutes on top of your service time which will depend on which type of service you opt for. Be prepared for your car to be with us for the majority of the day if opting for a full service and MOT together.

Is servicing the same for electric and hybrid cars?

Electric cars do not have any of the engine components to be checked compared to petrol or diesel cars. Instead, electric cars need to have the high voltage lines and battery checked regularly. Electric cars will, however, still require the bi-annual brake fluid change, aircon regas, cabin filter and transferbox oil change.

Hybrid vehicles require more work as they have both the voltage lines and battery of the electric cars to be checked on top of all the engine components.

Man inspecting the underside of a car during a service

Do you have to have your car serviced at a manufacturer-authorised dealer?


No! For our manufacturer compliant service we use brand specific genuine parts, so Volkswagen group and/or BMW Mini vehicles will see branded manufacturers products used. For all other car makes we use high quality and compliant parts. Your service booklets is stamped to keep your service history up to date and the online vehicle history is updated for modern cars.

What’s a service plan?

A service plan is an additional monthly cost offered by vehicle manufacturers and dealerships to cover a predetermined number of car services of the vehicle you purchase. It will likely have to be carried out at an affiliate garage or by the dealership themselves and will not include any additional work picked up in the service. These are all things to bear in mind when deciding whether a service plan is the right choice for you and your new car.

How much does a car service cost?

A basic service here at Peverell Garage starts at just £75 with a maximum 5 litres standard 5W 30 oil/oil filter up to £10.00 in value.

Of course the price can vary on whether there is additional work picked up that needs doing. We recommend you contact our expert team with your registration number who can give you a more accurate price for your car make and model and get you booked in. If any issues come up during your service, we will always call you to check that you are happy for the work to be done before we carry out anything that will incur additional charges.

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