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Car Servicing: what to look out for

Six car servicing fails that can cost you thousands

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According to a recent survey on automotive social media platform DriveTribe, some 50% of people book their car in for a service according to their manufacturer’s stated schedule.

But while it’s good to be safe in the knowledge that an expert has given your vehicle a timely health check, according to servicing and warranty specialists MotorEasy, not all services are created equal.

Founder, Duncan McClure Fisher suggests “we know there’s a huge problem in the UK because we’re the ones who pick up the pieces when things go wrong.”

“Very often a car’s owner has made every effort to keep their vehicle in the best possible shape, having it serviced regularly and keeping up with the maintenance schedule.”

Having witnessed many servicing horror stories, MotorEasy‘s team of engineers recommend whenever possible to find out precisely what your service entails before you agree to it, ideally requesting a job sheet to ensure it follows the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Not always the technician at fault

And while its easy to point the finger of blame at a tardy service technician, there is also the flip-side to the problem – a penny pinching car owner who insists only on “a basic service”. Then when confronted with extra work needed, scrimps on costs to avoid paying for replacement parts.

So, to help bring clarity to the situation, the following is a helpful list of six items that Motoreasy have identified as common shortcuts, otherwise known as “servicing fails” that can put a nasty dent in your wallet.

The Six-Servicing Fails

Failing to take the wheels off

Rather than taking off all the wheels to check the condition of the brakes, many technicians will try to save time and effort by peeking through the gaps in the alloys.

It’s a lazy fail – loose or broken pads and leaks inside the brake drums cannot be seen with the wheels on. Brakes also can’t be measured to see how much life they have left. The potential cost? Your vehicle could be written-off and there’s risk of personal injury

Failing to change Cambelt Tensioners and Water Pump

Your cambelt is part of the system that synchronises the rotation of the engine, opening and closing valves at the proper times

If you fail to change the belt at the right interval it can snap, writing the engine off in the process. While most people are aware of this and make sure the belt is changed, you also need to change the tensioners and pumps to prevent them seizing and tearing the new belt.

A cambelt tensioner and water pump replacement typically costs between £300 and £80 on top of a normal service.

Failing to change Oil Filters as well as Oil

A key part of any service that should be done annually using the recommended oils for your engine. However, unless you replace oil filter at the same time, oils will lose their viscosity and damage the engine. At its worst, an engine failure could cost you between £3,000 and £20,000.

Failing to change the Gearbox and Differential Oil 

Your gearbox and differential – the component that drives the shafts that spin your wheels – also need regular oil changes. And yet these vital changes are often missed from bog-standard services.

Check for your car’s guidelines on when to change the oil and make sure it gets done. It should only cost from £200 extra on a typical service and isn’t needed every year. Failure to do so, could result in a £3,000 – £6,000 repair-bill

Failing to replace the Fuel Filter

As the name suggests, the fuel filter removes any debris lurking in your fuel tank and stops it getting into the engine. This debris can cause damage to the high-pressure pump and injectors. While its not an expensive part to replace – typically £200 – the fuel filter should be replaced in accordance with your manufacturer’s service requirements.

Failing to clean the Brake Calipers

Your brake calipers are the things that squeeze your brake discs when you press the pedal. If you neglect them, they’ll get dirty and corroded and will affect braking performance.

Calipers should be cleaned with brake fluid and a scrub brush and to get rid of excess grease and dirt.

With some calipers costing around £1,000, it’s a job worth doing.

DriveTribe Car servicing Survey

DriveTribe survey on Car Servicing

Servicing costs and data from MotorEasy