Getting your car serviced can be a lot like going to the dentist. You never really know how much it’s going to cost and when it comes time to pay you’re probably going to be in for a rude surprised if you don’t know what you’re expecting.
Knowing all the details of each service interval probably isn’t a viable option for most people, however common you can be going to age service having a rough idea of what needs to be done by referring to your car service book or simply by doing some research online before you go in for your service. While it may seem like a bit of a chore, spending a bit of time doing the research, knowing how much is going to cost, and why it is going to be done will give you the power to ask your mechanic what they are doing at each service. Being informed is the key to not getting ripped off!
How do I know when my car needs a service?
Asking how often your car should be serviced is a lot like asking how long a piece of string is. There are a lot more details that need to be figured it out before we can start answering specific questions. Knowing your vehicle service interval is the first step to knowing what your service is going to cost. Most cars will have a service interval of 10,000 or 15,000 km depending on the manufacturer. And while most vehicle makes have this in common, the kind of service that you will get at each interval can vary greatly. The most beneficial thing that you can do is refer to your service manual to check what is going to be done at each interval and call around to a few dealerships and independent mechanics to get an idea of how much you should be paying.
How often should I change my oil?
The truth is, you should probably be changing it a lot more often than you are. Even if your service manual advises that you should be changing your oil at each interval (10,000km – 15,000km depending on the manufacturer), chances are you should be changing it even more frequently. Modern turbocharged vehicles go through oil at a significantly higher rate and have a much greater incidence of wear and tear outside. For the price of having your oil and oil filter changed, you could significantly reduce the cost of repairs down the line.
In recent years Volkswagen turbocharged engines have been known to consume oil at a much greater rate than what was once considered normal. Volkswagen has even advised owners to keep a bottle of Castrol Oil in their car for top-ups in cases of their notoriously oil-hungry TSI engines. The incidence of this isn’t limited to Volkswagen group vehicles, the same can be said for many modern turbocharged cars which also consume oil at a much higher rate than naturally aspirated vehicles. One of the easiest ways that you can check your oil is to use your dipstick indicator and a clean cloth to measure where your oil is sitting. Don’t just wait for your check oil light to come on before checking your oil level.
What if my check engine light comes on?
Don’t ignore it!
The truth is, the check engine light in your vehicle can trigger for a wide variety of reasons — some more serious than others. Just because you check engine light comes on doesn’t mean you need to get your vehicle towed to your local garage. The simplest way to handle the check engine light has to plug your car into an OBD2 reader which can give you an accurate idea of why it has come on. your local mechanic will be able to diagnose the issue for a small fee, or you can purchase an OBD2 quite cheaply and keep it in your car at all times.