Servicing schedule

Our cars need regular servicing to keep them in tip-top condition and to identify any issues before we’re left stranded on the side of the road.

To ensure your car has a long and healthy life, it’s vital to follow the servicing schedule shown in your vehicle owner’s manual.

So, what’s the difference between a minor and major vehicle service?

Minor service

A minor car service usually involves changing the engine oil and oil filter. The auto technician will then check other components, such as brakes, fluids, hoses and belts. Some repairers might also include tyre rotation.

Changing oil filter
A minor service includes an oil and filter change. Image: Getty

The servicing schedule is based on the distance travelled or the time elapsed between services. For example, 10,000km or six months, whichever comes first.

Major service

Your vehicle owner’s manual will show when other components need to be checked and/or replaced, which could be part of a major service.

As well as all the elements of a minor service, a major service might include changing the spark plugs, fuel filter, cabin filter, air filter, and flushing and replacing all fluids.

It might also involve time-consuming jobs like replacing the timing belt and adjusting tappet clearances, which will add a considerable cost to the bill.

Timing belt
Accessing and replacing a timing belt is a time-consuming job. Image Getty

Your repairer should be able to give you an idea how much the work will cost, so you can budget accordingly.

There are other items that may not be included in your manual’s servicing schedule. For example, even if your repairer checks the level and condition of the transmission fluid, a full transmission service may not be part of the regular servicing schedule.

If your vehicle is often used for towing, or you regularly drive in severe conditions, like hot weather or hilly terrain, it’s worth chatting with your repairer about a transmission service.


When you drop off your car, ask the repairer to contact you before undertaking any extra work. Make sure you can be contacted during the day in case unexpected repairs are needed, which will add time and cost to the job.

Be sure to make alternative transport plans in case the work takes longer than a day to complete and the vehicle needs to remain with the repairer overnight.

Under Australian consumer law, you don’t need to have your car serviced by the dealer, and the law states that servicing undertaken by a qualified auto technician other than the dealer doesn’t void your warranty.

Need to know more about car servicing?

Our Car Advice experts can help.

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