ROLLIN'S ULTIMATE CAR SERVICING AND MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST
Date published: 07/06/23 All content in this article is intended to be general in nature and does not constitute and is not intended to be financial or professional advice.
On a scale of one to Dom Toretto, how much do you love your car? If you’re struggling to quantify your love or pinpoint the pop culture reference, it’s likely you’re not one to regularly pop the hood. But taking a keen interest in the health of your car may serve some financial pluses and prolong its life. Here’s a car servicing checklist to help your car go the distance.
CAR SERVICING CHECKLIST: WHAT TO EXPECT
Keeping your engine purring via regular servicing is seriously important. There are three servicing tiers worth noting in your diary – an interim service every six months, a once-yearly full service and an extensive service every two years. Here’s what they include:
INTERIM CAR SERVICE (EVERY 6 MONTHS)
Like a little check-up with the doctor, this service helps to keep your car in peak physical condition. The good news is that sticking to this appointment means your mechanic is more likely to catch little problems before they become a big problem. This will hopefully avoid a mega bill if a problem goes unseen or finds you broken down in the middle of nowhere cries.
Interim car service checklist can include:
- Engine oil and oil filter change
- Air and fuel filter check
- Brakes, fluids, belts and hoses inspection
- Tyre check and rotation (if necessary)
- Battery testing
FULL CAR SERVICE (EVERY 12 MONTHS)
If you’re sticking to the six-monthly date with your mechanic, the yearly service should hopefully not have any surprises. But, if you want to keep your car at its prime, lean into the full service, too, as this will suss out more complex issues with your car.
Full car service checklist can include:
- Wheel alignment check
- Spark plug replacement
- Wheel bearings check
- Suspension check
- Brakes and brake fluid check
- Filter checks and replacements
- Engine and transmission oil testing and replacement
- Battery tests and other general checks
MAJOR CAR SERVICE (EVERY 24 MONTHS)
File under ‘not negotiable’. The extensive/major car service rolls around every two years and is a must to literally get under the hood of your car and check things are all ship-shape.
Major car service checklist can include:
- Dash warning lights check
- Exterior lights check
- Washers/wipers/windscreen check
- Horn operation check
- Cabin air filter check (if directly accessible)
- Air conditioning/HVAC controls check
- Transmission and driveline check
- Camshaft belt replacement due (if required)
- Engine air filter check
- Battery and charging check and test condition
- Coolant level check and test condition
- Cooling system pressure test
- MAF sensor/intake and throttle body check
- Brake fluid level check and test condition
- Fuel filter check (if directly accessible)
- Transmission fluid level check and test condition
- External engine belts and hoses check
- Drain and replace engine oil and filter
- Brake systems check (full wheels-off inspection)
- Park brake operation check and adjust (if necessary)
- Steering components and drive shaft check
- Suspension/control arms/links check
- Exhaust system and underbody check
- Differential/fluid level check
- Wheel bearings/hubs check
- Tyres and pressures (including spare) check
- Clutch and power steering fluids check and test condition
- Road test up to 60 km/hr and report
- Vehicle inspection report
WHY YOU SHOULD SERVICE YOUR CAR FREQUENTLY
Checking in with your mechanic frequently is a good idea for a couple of big reasons. Firstly, it can help your car live longer and diagnose any serious issues that could land you in a (pot)hole when you least expect it. If your car is still under warranty, skipping scheduled services will void your warranty, an absolute no-go! It’s also good to note that regular servicing could help reduce fuel consumption, which may help you rationalise the cost of the servicing.
But most importantly, meeting your service milestones can help keep you safe on the road! Everything your mechanic checks, tops up or replaces, can help keep your pride and joy on the road. So prioritise your safety and think of your mechanic as your car’s doctor/personal trainer/guru.
STANDARD SERVICES A CAR SERVICE SHOULD INCLUDE
Your car won’t come wrapped in a bow every time you get it serviced, but there are a couple of services that should ordinarily be provided when you visit the mechanic. Here are the usual services that should be ticked off.
#1 ENGINE OIL AND FILTER CHANGE
Ensuring a decent supply of engine oil and a clean filter can decrease the likelihood of moving parts overheating or failing, which is why it's a good idea for this to happen frequently. The same goes for the engine’s air filter and the fuel filter. These will be checked as part of this service and replaced if needed.
#2 TYRE CHECKS
This one’s ‘wheely’ important. No one likes a thread-bare, unevenly worn tyre, especially your mechanic. Keeping your tyres in tip-top shape can help to optimise safety and fuel efficiency, so your mechanic may check their pressure and tread depth to see how they’re wearing. They may rotate the tyres based on the tread wear or recommend a replacement.
#3 BRAKE CHECK
Your brake pads wear down as the brake fluid drops, so it’ll be topped up if need be. Mechanics will likely also check the response time and depth of the brake pads to ensure they’re all systems go. Brakes are crucial, they can help keep you safe, and a regular service will help them keep doing their thang.
#4 WINDSCREEN WIPER CHECK
This may surprise you, but visibility is key! Your mechanic can check the washer fluid and make sure the blades are performing at their peak.
#5 BATTERY CHECK
You’re not going anywhere with a bad battery, so a mechanic can give yours a once-over to see if there are any frayed cables, cracks in the casing, powdery deposits or other signs of poor health.
SHOULD YOU SERVICE YOUR CAR YOURSELF, OR TAKE YOUR CAR TO A MECHANIC?
Before you watch a million tutorials on DIY mechanic tips, may we just say, put down the spanner! Qualified mechanics know the ins, outs and essential safety info about fixing cars. While you can lean into your Dom Toretto dreams with a bit of car maintenance, leave the serious stuff to the experts.
EASY MAINTENANCE JOBS YOU CAN DO AT HOME
Here’s where you can flex your car-enthusiast muscles. Add these tasks to your ‘chores’ list and help your car stay in top shape.
REFILL YOUR WINDSHIELD WIPER FLUID
While you’re adding fresh blades to your wipers, do the whole shebang and refill the wiper fluid too. Simply pop the hood and top up the reservoir with your suds of choice, following the instructions and measurements on the bottle.
KEEP YOUR CAR CLEAN
Wait for a sunny day, pump Car Wash on the sound system and go for your life. All you need is some car-appropriate detergent and a bucket-and-sponge combo. To take things up a notch, add a pressure hose and enjoy the enormous, oddly specific satisfaction of watching that grime dissolve before your eyes.
KEEP YOUR CAR TYRES PUMPED
Head to your local service station and use the free air compressor to pump up your wheels. Check your car’s ideal tyre pressure, which you’ll usually find on the door frame of the driver’s side or in your car’s manual.
COMMON QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR MECHANIC
How much will it cost? Give it to me straight, doc. Your mechanic should be able to give you a breakdown of the parts and labour costs for every repair that needs to happen. Get it in writing before work begins.
What are my repair options? Obviously, some repairs are absolutely essential – hello, brakes! But some you can live with. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the bill, query whether something on the repair hitlist could wait or see if a second-hand part could do the trick.
Can I see the parts you’ve taken off? Glean extra car knowledge by touching base on repairs. If a part looks in perfect health, why was it removed? It’s good to remain engaged with the service to understand what you have paid for.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What Routine Maintenance Is Required For A Car During A Service?
Routine maintenance during a car service includes replacing the oil, fuel and air filters. Fluids, including brake and engine oil, can be checked and replaced while your wheels may be rotated based on the wear of the tyre tread. Your mechanic may also replace your windscreen wipers if they show signs of fatigue.
What Is Commonly Included In A Car Service In Australia?
A standard car service typically includes diagnostic checks of your car’s roadworthiness, including wheel alignment, suspension and brake functionality, engine health via the transmission, and oil checks and replacement if needed. Mechanics will likely check the air, oil and fuel filters, replacing them if necessary, and will liekly also check the car’s battery too.
How Long Can You Go Without Servicing Your Car?
It’s recommended that you service your car every six months to help prolong its life and keep it roadworthy.
How Do I Know When My Car Needs Servicing?
Abide by the recommended car service schedule of every six months for a minor service and every two years for an extensive service, but telltale signs that your car might need a trip to the mechanic include a notification light on the dash, strange noises or smells from the car or any other niggling worry you have about the car’s performance.
What Servicing Does An Electric Car Need?
Electric vehicles still require regular servicing, but the focus is a little different. A service on an electric car will likely prioritise checking the electronic systems, software and sensors and battery checks as well as looking at tyres, fluids, windscreen wiper functionality and brake testing, just like a petrol-powered car.
This is general advice only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs (“your personal circumstances”). Before using this advice to decide whether to purchase a product, you should consider your personal circumstances and the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations available from rollininsurance.com.au. Insurance issued by Insurance Australia Limited ABN 11 000 016 722 AFSL 227681 trading as Rollin’ Insurance.