What Does a Full Service Include?

two mechanics standing underneath car draining oil during a full service

Understanding what a full car service includes, and how it differs from the other servicing options, is a big challenge for any driver. It’s also important to understand when to book a full service and why you should make it a regular part of your car maintenance.

This article will explain all of this as well as the following:

  • How much a full service costs
  • What is included in an interim service
  • What is included in a major service
  • How long your car service takes.

But first, what is a car service?

 

What is a Car Service?

A car service is essential routine maintenance. It’s a health check, completed by a qualified mechanic, which assesses everything from your car’s wear and tear to your engine fluid levels. Its main purpose is to keep you safe and keep your car working properly.

There are three options when it comes to car servicing: interim (25 checks), full (40 checks) and major (60 checks). A car service includes maintenance checks which help prevent breakdowns and ensures your vehicle is operating to the correct standards. Regular servicing can:

  • Save you money in the long-run
  • Help you avoid expensive repairs
  • Improve the performance of your car, such as fuel-efficiency.

 

What Does a Full Service Include?

A full car service includes an inspection of your vehicle’s fluids, brakes and tyres as well as a whole host of other visual checks. 

 

Full Car Service Checklist:

General Checks

  • External lights (Headlights, brake lights, indicators)
  • Instrument warning lamps
  • Horn

Internal / Vision

  • Condition of windscreen wipers and washers
  • Pollen filter condition (extra cost if replacement needed)
  • Windscreen integrity (cracks and chips)
  • Condition of all mirrors
  • Number plate condition
  • Seat belt condition

Engine

  • Replace oil filter
  • Replace air filter
  • Report on any oil leaks
  • Advise on antifreeze strength
  • Radiator and coolant hoses for condition and leaks
  • Condition and tension of auxiliary drive belts (NOT timing belt)
  • Inspect fuel system + tank (if visible)
  • Check timing belt replacement intervals and advise

Fluid Top-ups (if required)

  • Screen wash
  • Coolant
  • Brake fluid
  • Power steering fluid
  • AdBlue (diesel only; extra cost for top-up)

Brakes

  • Advise on brake fluid condition and report if replacement needed (extra charge)
  • Inspect brake pads for wear
  • Inspect brake discs 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

  • Tyre condition and tread depth
  • Check and adjust tyre pressures

Steering & Suspension Checks

  • Condition of road springs
  • Steering/suspension components
  • Steering rack gaiters condition
  • Shock absorber condition
  • Wheel bearings

Exhaust

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

Drive System Checks

  • Security of gaiters and report any leaks
  • Clutch fluid level (if applicable)
  • Any leaks of transmission oil

 

After your full service, the garage will fill out a printout of the BookMyGarage service schedule. Some may also stamp your service book. All full services booked through BookMyGarage will adhere to this service schedule. This ensures that the prices that you compare on our website are like-for-like, which saves confusion when comparing deals.

 

 

What Does an Interim Service Include?

An interim service includes less detailed check than a full service and focuses on the most important parts of your car. It is designed to keep high-mileage and older vehicles moving smoothly between full services. The 25 checks include:

  • Changing the engine oil and oil filter
  • Screen wash, coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid and AdBlue top-ups (where applicable and necessary)
  • Inspecting the windscreen wipers and washers
  • Checking brake pads for wear
  • Checking tyre condition and tread depth
  • Exhaust and steering rack gaiter condition

 

What Does a Major Service Include?

A major service includes an even more thorough inspection than a full service. It inspects the parts of your car designed to last 2/3 years but which still need attention to work properly beyond that. The 60 checks included in a major service include everything from the full-service checklist as well as:

  • Changing the fuel filter (if fitted externally)
  • Inspecting the door, bonnet and lock operation
  • Air conditioning system condition
  • Changing spark plugs based on age and mileage (extra cost)
  • Inspecting clutch operation
  • Inspecting the radiator cap and electrical coolant fan (if applicable)

 

Why Should I Have my Car Serviced?

Safety – Driving an unsafe car puts you, your family and other road users in unnecessary danger. Your car will develop wear and tear through general use, but you might not know about a problem until it’s too late. A full car service can find and fix these problems before they become a serious issue.

Save Money – Regular car servicing reduces the running cost of your car. This includes increased fuel economy, so you have to fill up less often. It also helps prevent expensive breakdowns in the future which also increases the lifespan of your car. A small expense now can save you a lot of money later down the line.

Increase Your Car’s Value – When you can produce a full service history, it proves you’ve looked after the car and indicates that it is likely to be in good condition. This means buyers are more likely to pay more for your vehicle when you want to sell it.

Improve Your Car’s Performance – A well-maintained car feels better to drive. This is because nothing is blocked or under strain, so the car feels more efficient. If you’ve noticed that your car feels sluggish or difficult to drive, a car service could solve all your problems.

But which one do you need?

 

mechanic inspecting white car exterior during full service
A full car service includes 40 checks, while an interim service includes 25 and a major service 60.

 

Does My Car Need an Interim, Full or Major Service?

The number of miles you cover each year will determine what car service you need. You’ll see the best results when you book a full car service every 12 months or 12,000 miles and a major service every 24 months or 24,000 miles. For high-mileage drivers, we recommend an interim service every 6 months or 6,000 miles as well.

 

Car Service

Number of Checks Included

Recommended Interval

Interim Service

25

6 months or 6,000 miles

Full Service

40

12 months or 12,000 miles

Major Service 

60

24 months or 24,000 miles

 

Mechanic inspecting oil level under bonnet of white car during a full service
The work done in a full service includes an oil and filter change, visual checks of other fluid levels, a brake inspection and tyre checks.

 

How Much Does a Full Service Cost?

The average cost for a full car service in the UK is £182.40, according to BookMyGarage data.

Generall speaking, most garages will charge anywhere between £140 – £280 for a full service but the price depends on your car’s engine size. Larger engines need more engine oil and bigger filters, which increases the cost.

This means if you drive a car with a 1litre engine, you can expect to pay a lot less for a full car service than someone with a car that has a 3litre engine.

 

How Can I Keep My Full Car Service Cost Down?

The best way to save on your full service is to compare deals on BookMyGarage! Just enter your reg number and postcode into our online booking tool to see instant prices from garages near you. There’s no sign-up or upfront payment. What’s more, you can compare by price, distance, availability and reviews to choose the perfect garage for you. With BookMyGarage, you always find the best deal. Book your next car service near you today!

 

 

For an even better car service deal, choose a SecretServiceTM garage! We exclusively sell excess availability at franchised garages near you. These anonymous dealerships provide a number of workshop slots per month at affordable low prices. Once you’ve booked with the garage, we let you in on the secret and tell you where you’ve booked!

And the average full service cost from our SecretService garages is just £146.82! Choose SecretService to receive a franchised dealership experience at an independent garage price. Click here to find out more about how a SecretService can benefit you.

 

 

How Long Does a Full Service Take?

A full service will typically take a mechanic around 3 hours to complete. This means many garages can complete your service the same day if you book a morning appointment. Although, you should always contact your garage to ensure it has been completed before making your way there.

An interim service takes around 1 to 1 and a 1/2 hours on average, while a major service usually takes more than 3 hours.

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’.

 

Recap

A full service includes 40 checks and helps to keep your car in top condition, preventing breakdowns and saving you money on fuel costs. It also increases the resale value of your vehicle as well as its performance. The average full car service cost in the UK is £182.40, but you can secure yours for less by comparing deals on BookMyGarage or booking a SecretServiceTM. Enter your reg number and postcode now to instantly compare prices from garages near you.

 

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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.

4 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 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.

  2. Would a full service include plug in diagnostic? My car recently was letting water in the ECU (Renault Clio) the garage cleared this, however, now and again my petrol gauge randomly goes up and down continuously until the engine is stopped and restarted, however, when I mentioned this keeps happening the garage said they could find no faults, why is this happening? First time this happened I had just been through a drive-thru car wash. Will this be a major problem for me? Thanks

    1. Mandy Weston says: Reply

      Hi Cheryl,

      Unfortunately, no service includes a diagnostic test and water definitely shouldn’t be getting into your ECU. The best thing you can do is have a garage investigate the issue further as there could be a whole host of problems causing this.

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