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October 1

CAR SERVICING – TIPS AND FAQs

How much does a car service cost?

Servicing of both petrol and diesel vehicles is one of our core activities at Morrison Diesel in Onehunga. We keep it simple, offering either a basic oil and filter change, or a comprehensive full service. You will find that car workshops around Auckland have many different ways of marketing their car servicing, and it may be hard to compare prices between the different systems. A point to note is that often a start price is given, but there may be additional charges that are unspecified, relating to the type of vehicle/ specific oil requirements/ additional parts, and so on. We believe our prices are competitive – view them here.

Why should you get your vehicle serviced?

Regular servicing ensures that your vehicle is running safely and efficiently. Vitally, a service can help you anticipate problems with your vehicle before they occur, thus preventing expensive and inconvenient breakdowns from happening down the line. Servicing preserves the life of your engine, and your car will have a higher value if you sell it with a documented service history. Also if you have mechanical breakdown insurance you will be required to keep up with the prescribed servicing schedule for your policy to be valid. In the long run, servicing always saves!

Why do I need a service as well as a WOF?

A WOF check simply determines if a vehicle passes a set of basic safety requirements at the time of inspection. A service combines a more extensive inspection of your vehicle with a raft of preventative maintenance measures. The astute motorist keeps up with regular servicing in order to maximise safety and to ensure that their vehicle continues to run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

How often should you service your vehicle?

Your vehicle should be serviced at regular intervals- usually every 10,000 km or every 12 months (whichever occurs first) for petrol vehicles, and every 5,000 km or 6 months for diesel vehicles. However, there is significant variation between the recommended service intervals for different makes and models – we advise that you check your manufacturer’s recommendation.

What does servicing include?

Every service will include an oil change and a new oil filter. The mechanic will also work through a comprehensive list of checks around your vehicle, which typically takes several hours. The level and condition of various fluids (e.g. coolant) will be checked and changed/topped up as required, and small items such as bulbs and wiper blades may also need to be changed. The air filter, fuel filter and spark plugs (petrol only) will be inspected and changed if necessary (please note the cost of these parts is additional to the cost of the service, although labour is included).

Larger mechanical components including clutch, brakes, ball joints, CV boots will also be checked, along with the battery and tyres, and the customer will be advised if any of these parts need to be repaired or replaced. The cost of any proposed additional work will be presented to the customer for consideration.

Please also note that some European/newer vehicles require a special type of oil which will increase the cost of the service. We can advise you regarding this at the time of booking in your vehicle.

Why do I need to keep changing the oil in my car?

Oil is essential for the lubrication of metal parts throughout your car engine. You may have enough oil in your vehicle, but if you never change it there will be two negative effects. First, contaminants will accumulate in the oil – while the oil filter will remove these for a time, eventually the filter will clog and the dirty oil will automatically bypass the filter through a relief valve. Dirty oil is thick and abrasive, so it causes components to wear faster, and reduces the efficiency of the engine. Second, additives in the oil like detergents, dispersants, rust-fighters and friction reducers will wear out, so the oil won’t lubricate as well as it should. Over time dirty and degraded oil will cost money through lost efficiency and the premature wear of components, and can ultimately cause engine failure.

Why does is cost more to service a diesel car than a petrol car?

Generally diesel vehicles require more oil (this varies with the size of the engine), and as they are often physically bigger than petrol vehicles it simply takes longer to complete a service on them.

What about changing the cambelt?

In addition to regular servicing, there are other important vehicle maintenance tasks which need to occur at longer intervals. Changing the cambelt is the best known of these. A cambelt (also known as a timing belt) is a mechanical drive belt that synchronizes the rotation of the crankshaft and the camshaft(s) so that the engine’s valves and pistons move in the correct sequence. The expected lifespan of a timing belt is specific to the vehicle, and can range between 60,000 and 150,000 km. If a cambelt fails it may cause severe damage to the engine, hence it is vital to get it changed at the proper time (check the manufacturer’s recommendation). Often it is also recommended to change the water pump at the same time as changing the cam belt.

A final word: maintaining your car’s cooling system

MTA statistics indicate that some 80% of car breakdowns occur because of failed cooling systems. Do you have to top up your cooling system with water from time to time? This would indicate the presence of a leak. The cooling system runs on coolant which is a mixture of antifreeze and water. The more water you add, the lower the ratio of antifreeze to water in your cooling system becomes. Importantly, antifreeze acts as a rust inhibitor, and as the antifreeze runs out the cooling system will start to corrode. Cooling system issues are much easier and cheaper to deal with in the early stages, providing a classic instance of how timely servicing can ward off expensive problems before they occur.