Car & Van Servicing

The best way to ensure your car or van has a long and useful life is to get it thoroughly serviced at regular intervals. Servicing can also be a great way to avoid unexpected breakdowns due to wear and tear. The AutoMend network of car and van garages is the ideal place to go when you need your vehicle servicing. With access to more than 9,000 members located within the UK, there is always someone available to service your motor wherever you are and whatever the model or age of your vehicle.

If you have a newish model, the chances are it is covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, or you may have invested in an extended warranty. If so, it is vital that you get your vehicle serviced at the correct intervals and that the garage doing the service adheres to the manufacturer’s specification, or you may invalidate your cover. You don’t have to go to a main dealership and pay well over the odds for an interim, full or major service. You just need to ensure that you use a garage that you can trust to do the job properly, which is where AutoMend comes in. You need to be confident that the correct servicing procedures will be followed, and where spares or fluids are used, that they adhere to the correct standards. For this reason, we insist that our members hold relevant industry approvals before they can join our network.

Even if your vehicle is not under warranty, you will still want to be able to put your trust in the person doing the servicing. Sticking to the correct service intervals and procedures will not only make your car safer to drive and less likely to break down, it will also assist in maintaining the value of the vehicle when you come to sell it. A full service history backed up by a correctly completed log book is a great selling point.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD A CAR OR VAN BE SERVICED?

Service intervals are usually based on mileage and time and vary depending on the model and the age of the vehicle. Check your handbook for specifics for your own vehicle, or if you’re unsure what your service intervals should be, contact one of our helpful AutoMend network members for advice. If you don’t do many miles each year, and you are unlikely to hit any of the mileage intervals, you will still need to get your vehicle serviced at least once each year to maintain its condition.

WHAT GETS CHECKED ON A SERVICE?

There are differences between the various service intervals – some services are classed as minor and may simply involve an oil change and a brake fluid check. Others are more major and include changing out wear components such as brake parts and timing belt. The age and the mileage of your motor will dictate which level of service is performed, so here are just some of the tasks commonly included in a service:

Oil change – essential to minimise wear to your engine

Coolant level - checked and topped-up.

Brake fluid - checked and topped-up.

Brakes - efficiency check and disc/pad replacement.

Tyre pressure - checked and adjusted, also the tread depth is checked.

Doors - hinges are lubricated.

Suspension & steering – thorough safety check.

Exhaust – full system check.

Gearbox – Tested and oil change.

Fuel filter - checked and replaced.

Air conditioning - checked and cleaned, pollen filter changed.

Valves – Adjusting of the valves.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE COST OF A SERVICE?

Costs vary widely, so it’s always a good idea to ask what is included in the price of an interim, full or major service, and what is charged as an extra?

Replacement parts – any worn or faulty parts that are changed as part of the service will almost certainly be added to the bill as extras. Before you leave your car, it is wise to ask the mechanic to contact you prior to doing any additional work, as well as provide an estimate of the cost. This will help to avoid any nasty surprises when you go to pay your bill.

Consumables – these are the materials that are used during a service, such as replacement oil, brake fluid, cleaning fluid and cloths etc. If you have brake parts changed, there will usually be a charge added for the cleaning fluid that has to be used to clean the brakes.

A courtesy car – some garages offer a replacement vehicle so that you are not left without transport. Always check if the hire charges are included in the cost of the service, as a hire car can work out quite expensive.

HOW CAN I SAVE TIME AND MONEY?

Why not combine your annual service with your annual MOT test? Most garages are able to complete both tasks, and it makes a great deal of sense to get them done at the same time. From a convenience and time-saving point of view, you will only have to leave your car at the garage once rather than making two journeys. From a cost point of view, you can often make a saving because many garages offer a package deal if you do both service and MOT together. From an efficiency point of view, it makes sense to get your car serviced before it goes for its MOT. The mechanic will have had the chance to check for (and repair) any major problems during the service, which makes it more likely that your car will pass the MOT test first time. It’s certainly worth considering combining these two annual trips to the garage.

SHOULD I HAVE A WINTER CAR CHECK?

Driving in winter can make extra demands on your vehicle, and if you break down in bad weather, the results can be catastrophic. You certainly don’t want to be stranded at the roadside on a cold snowy or rainy night. In order to ensure your vehicle is in good health before you hit wintry conditions, why not ask an AutoMend network member to carry out a winter car check for you? If your service is due at the right time of year, the winter check can be incorporated. If the service timing isn’t right, you may need to book the winter check separately, but the cost of the check can easily be outweighed by the satisfaction of knowing that your car is going to be safe to drive whatever the weather.

The winter check focuses on the parts of your car that can be badly hit by driving in cold weather, such as the battery and tyres. Your car battery works particularly hard in winter – cold starts combined with driving with the lights, car heater and screen demisters on all take their toll. The garage will have all the proper equipment and expertise to check out your battery and tell you if it is likely to fail before the end of the winter. Tyres are another area that needs attention before venturing onto winter roads. The winter check will see whether the tread depth is adequate, whether there are any areas of damage that could cause a blow-out, and if the tyres are inflated correctly for the coming conditions.

Efficient lights are essential for bad weather driving, so these will be checked to see if any bulbs need replacing. The state of your vehicle glass will also be assessed – if you have a chipped or cracked windscreen, or your demisters are not working correctly, you may be advised to get a repair or a windscreen replacement to prepare you for the stresses of winter driving.

So, the answer to the question is, yes, contact the AutoMend network and book a winter check well before the bad weather strikes.

HELP EM TO FIND LOCAL AUTOMEND SERVICING PROFESSIONALS

Our network has access to over 9,000 service centres, ranging from car and van garages to mobile mechanics. It’s incredibly easy to find contact details for the locations nearest to you by telling us your post code and select your specific location. Tell us the make of your vehicle and pick ‘MOT / Servicing’ from the menu, and you will see a list of the garages in your local area, along with how far from you they are situated, plus their phone numbers. At this point, you have the option to ask for a free no-obligation quote for your vehicle servicing, or you can simply phone the garages to discuss your requirements.

We ensure that all our network members offer the best possible deals on car and van maintenance and vehicle repairs and we are confident you will be delighted by the prices on offer. If you are looking for car or van servicing, don’t spend time and effort fruitlessly searching the internet to get a good deal, simply contact an AutoMend network member.