What should you expect during an annual car service?

An annual car service should be carried out every 12 months or after a certain amount of miles, as prescribed by the manufacturer. This mileage amount is normally 12,000 miles but differs from car to car. This information is available in the owner’s handbook, which also describes the works that have to be carried out during the service.

As the service will renew worn parts, the work carried out depends on the age of the car and its mileage. The type of vehicle and engine also makes a difference to the service intervals and the work that needs carrying out.

Oil change

Most cars will require an oil change at every service. The belts and the air filter will be checked with each oil change and, as hoses can rot from the inside, they will also be checked when the oil change takes place.


Coolants will also be checked as part of most services, but other items like spark plugs and brakes are checked less often. The interval is determined by the manufacturer, but as a guide, spark plugs tend to be checked every 30,000 miles and brakes are checked between 20,000 and 30,000 miles.

Other items

Other items that will be checked during an annual car service are done so to make sure the car is safe to drive. These include checks on the car’s brake and power steering fluid levels, a review of the battery’s condition and how well the headlights and windscreen wipers are operating along with an assessment of the tyres tread depths and their pressures to make sure the car is roadworthy.

Final word

An annual car service can be carried out at an authorised main dealer, your local garage or through companies like Kwik-Fit or Halfords. The cost varies depending on the make and model of car and the requirements of the service. It’s advisable to seek a quote for the service before taking the car in. An annual service will often unearth problems with the car that require fixing, such as worn tyres that need replacing, so you should be aware that the garage’s quoted price is only a minimum cost for the work.

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