What Does a Full Service Include?

what does a full service include

A lot of people question the importance of getting their car serviced because they aren’t sure what is involved. It’s important to know that getting your car serviced is the best way to make sure that it is working correctly, while also improving its efficiency and safety.

What is a car service?

There are three options when it comes to car servicing and each of them serves a different purpose. The main point of difference is the number of checks in each service – it’s 25 for an interim, 40 for a full and 60 for a major. Car service includes maintenance checks which help prevent breakdowns and ensures your vehicle is operating to the correct standards. Regular servicing will save you money in the long-run as it will help avoid expensive repairs and will also improve the performance of your car, such as fuel-efficiency.

Why should I have my car serviced?

Safety First – The main reason for having your car serviced is to keep you safe on the roads. Driving an unsafe car is dangerous to you and those around you. Without regular servicing, you don’t know what underlying issues could be brewing and a service will help to mitigate this.

Save Money – You may think a car service seems like an unnecessary expense, however, in the long run, it will save you from preventable repair bills by catching any potential problems early. The replacement of your filters will also ensure good combustion which decreases your fuel consumption.

Prolong the Life of Your Car – The filters in your car become blocked over time which can lead to excessive wear. Having them replaced will prolong the life of your vehicle.

Maintain Your Car’s Value – Maintaining the condition of your car means that you’re retaining its value for when you want to sell it later down the line. Most buyers will look at the service history and may be willing to pay that much more for the reliability of a car that’s been kept in good condition over a car that’s not been properly maintained.

Better Car Performance – Regularly replacing worn down components reduces blockages, takes some of the strain off of the rest of your engine and improves your car’s overall performance.

Full Service

What does a full service include?

All full services booked through BookMyGarage will adhere to the following service schedule. This ensures that the prices that you compare using our comparison tool are like-for-like.  It also means that you know exactly what will be included in your service as many garages offer different types of services which include a variety of different checks. 

Full car service checklist:

General Checks

  • Check operation of external lights (Headlights, brake lights, indicators)
  • Check operation of instrument warning lamps              
  • Check horn

Internal / Vision

  • Check windscreen wipers and washers (Condition and operation)              
  • Top up screen wash (if required)
  • Check & advise on pollen filter condition
  • Check windscreen for cracks and chips           
  • Check mirror condition internal and external                 
  • Check number plate condition          
  • Check seat belts


  • Drain engine oil   
  • Replace oil filter  
  • Refill with fresh oil               
  • Replace air filter
  • Check and advise on general oil leaks              
  • Check coolant level and top-up         
  • Advise on antifreeze strength           
  • Check radiator and coolant hoses for condition and leaks including header tank
  • Check condition and tension of auxiliary drive belts (NOT timing belt)   
  • Change spark plugs on petrol engines dependent upon mileage – Extra Cost         
  • Visual check fuel system + tank (if visible)         
  • Check timing belt replacement intervals and advise    
  • Check AdBlue (top-up extra cost)


  • Check/advise brake fluid condition and report              
  • Top up brake fluid if required            
  • Visual check of brake pads for wear                 
  • Visual check of brake disks for wear                 
  • Visual check all visible brake pipes and hoses                
  • Check operation of the hand brake         
  • Visual check brake callipers for leaks and security

Wheels & Tyres

  • Check tyre condition and tyre depths              
  • Check and adjust tyre pressures

Steering & Suspension

  • Check the condition of road springs       
  • Check power steering fluid reservoir for leaks and top up          
  • Check steering/suspension components        
  • Check steering rack gaiters condition              
  • Check shock absorber condition       
  • Check wheel bearings


  • Visually check exhaust smoke (diesel)             
  • Visually check and advise on the condition of the exhaust

Drive System

  • Check drive shaft gaiters for security and report leaks
  • Check clutch fluid level (if applicable)              
  • Check transmission oil leaks

Final Checks

  • Reset vehicle service light where applicable 
  • Stamp service book              
  • Stamp printout of BookMyGarage service schedule

When should I get a full service?

When you should get your car serviced depends on how often you use your car. It is recommended that you have a full car service after every 12,000 miles or once per year, whichever occurs sooner. More regular car users should have an interim service carried out in between full services (every 6 months or 6,000 miles).

Does my car need an interim, full or major service?

It can be difficult to decide what type of service your car needs, and it can get quite confusing with all of the different names. That’s why we have made it simple for you – there are three options to choose from when booking a service through BookMyGarage: Interim, Full or Major.

An interim service is a simple oil change service, which should be carried out at least every 6 months. Cars which are driven very frequently – and older vehicles – are more prone to problems, so it may be worth choosing an interim service in between your annual full service if your call falls into one of those two categories.

A full service is a yearly check of your vehicle’s engine oil, oil filter and air filter as well as a whole host of other visual checks to make sure your car isn’t developing any excessive wear and tear. No matter how many miles you drive, it’s always worth booking a full service once a year. If you’re a high-mileage driver, book a full service every 12,000 miles if that interval comes first.

A major service has 60 items and checks included, compared to the 40 in a full service. This is usually carried out bi-yearly and costs the most. It will usually take longer than 3 hours to do, but you’re getting the most comprehensive list checks possible.  Motorists should choose to have a major service the year after their full service to ensure that their car gets all of the additional inspections that would have been missed out during the full service.

If you are still unsure which service to book for your car, click on ‘Help me choose a service’ on the service selection page (once you have selected a garage from the comparison results). We’ll take your average mileage and time since your last service to recommend the correct service type for you.

A full service in progress

How much does a full service cost?

Depending on what car you drive and where you are located, the price of a full service can vary dramatically.

Generally speaking, most garages will charge anywhere between £140 – £280 for a full service. Many garages also offer discounted MOTs when booked with a full or major service, which is a fantastic way of getting your MOT for just £10.

Using BookMyGarage, you can instantly compare prices from garages in your local area for your specific car. We don’t require you to enter any personal/contact details to compare prices, so we recommend that you do have a look if you are interested in finding actual prices. You would compare and save on energy and insurance, why would you not want to ensure you are paying the best price for an MOT & service too?

How long will a full service take?

A full car service will typically take a mechanic around 3 hours to complete. If your appointment is early in the morning, you may be able to time it so you can pick it up during your lunch break. Although, you should contact your garage to make sure it has been completed before making your way there.

Many garages offer a collection & delivery service, which can be a huge convenience for busy people. Many drivers choose to have their car collected from their work car park and it will be returned by the end of the day, in time for you to drive it back home. Collection & delivery is offered free of charge or for a small fee by many garages. When you enter your vehicle’s number plate & post code into BookMyGarage’s comparison tool, you will clearly see the garages which do offer this service, along with whether they offer a loan car or ‘customer drop-off’ (instead of collection & delivery you can drop your car off at the garage and they will return it to you when they have finished your service).

What’s the difference between a full service & an MOT?

There are a few big differences. While you can book the two together, they don’t serve the same purpose. An MOT is a legal requirement whereas a car service isn’t. Ever since the 1960’s, each car over three years old has to have a valid MOT certificate at all times to be suitable for Britain’s roads. With a car service, it’s much more voluntary. 

Alongside this, an MOT is only a visual inspection. It’s essentially just a snapshot of the condition of your car on the day of your MOT test and trying to rely on your MOT alone to catch all your problems is unwise. A car service includes basic maintenance as standard, with the option of further repairs, and no fear of finding out your car is actually illegal. Check out our complete guide on everything you need to know about your MOT for more details.


A full car service is highly valuable and, with BookMyGarage, it’s never been easier to book yours! You can use our directory 24/7, 365 days a year and all you need to enter is your registration number and postcode to bring up a list of quality garages near you. From there, filter by what matters to you the most, be it price, verified reviews, availability or distance, to find your perfect garage. And keep up to date with our blog for more helpful guides, just like this one!

Mandy Weston

Mandy Weston

Mandy is an ex-mechanic, with 22 years’ experience in the motor industry. As an in-house motoring expert, Mandy is the go-to woman for any relevant questions that our customers have; both garages and drivers. From specific problems with your car to general maintenance, Mandy is a reliable source of information and advice. Her passion for motoring is a huge factor to her success and the huge wealth of knowledge that she has. She now uses her remarkable grasp of the industry to write regular content for our readers to help drivers understand their car better, avoid being ripped off by garages and save money on their motoring requirements.

2 Replies to “What Does a Full Service Include?”

  1. Good straightforward easy to understand article.The site as a whole is excellent and works well for all parties as far as I can see so well done to all concerned.

    1. Mandy Weston Mandy Weston says: Reply

      Thanks for your kind words, James. We work hard to create interesting and helpful content so it’s great to receive feedback like this.

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