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Do I need to get my car serviced? Watch

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    Hi, got my first car in September, bought a MK1 Focus off my grandparents, only one 32k miles, they got it serviced religiously each year, spark plugs, fuel/pollen filters, oil etc. The thing is I only paid £500 for the car, they've been paying £280 a year for the service, my road tax is due as well at £230. I know service history is nice to have value wise, but will it make a difference when I paid £500.

    I know service is partly safety and how well the car runs, but it's done ~3k miles since the last service, do I really need another, or on my low milage can I do every 2 years?
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    Just because your grandparents charged you £500, doesn't mean it's only worth that, nor does it mean you can replace it for £500.

    Get hold of the Haynes Manual for it - your local library may even have a copy. That'll tell you how to do a basic service for yourself.
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    MoT.

    Yes, you'll need it done every year.
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    if you are going to use it in the severe winter weather it would be foolish not to have a proper service.
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    Are they getting it serviced at a Ford dealership? not sure where you live but a local garage round here doesn't cost that for a service.
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    (Original post by Simes)
    Just because your grandparents charged you £500, doesn't mean it's only worth that, nor does it mean you can replace it for £500.

    Get hold of the Haynes Manual for it - your local library may even have a copy. That'll tell you how to do a basic service for yourself.
    I know it's worth more, but still with service/tax/mot I'd be paying more than I bought the car for annually never mind insurance.


    (Original post by the bear)
    if you are going to use it in the severe winter weather it would be foolish not to have a proper service.
    I've done the basics, checked tyre pressure, oil, water, coolant, screen wash etc.

    (Original post by FeelingDepressed)
    Are they getting it serviced at a Ford dealership? not sure where you live but a local garage round here doesn't cost that for a service.
    Local garage, I think they were just getting ripped off to be honest.

    (Original post by Drewski)
    MoT.

    Yes, you'll need it done every year.
    I know about the MOT, I was meaning do I need a service and MOT after ~3k miles. The car itself runs great.
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    (Original post by theronkinator)
    Hi, got my first car in September, bought a MK1 Focus off my grandparents, only one 32k miles, they got it serviced religiously each year, spark plugs, fuel/pollen filters, oil etc. The thing is I only paid £500 for the car, they've been paying £280 a year for the service, my road tax is due as well at £230. I know service history is nice to have value wise, but will it make a difference when I paid £500.

    I know service is partly safety and how well the car runs, but it's done ~3k miles since the last service, do I really need another, or on my low milage can I do every 2 years?
    Its worth getting the car serviced once a year. So when you next get it serviced depends on when it was last serviced. You dont need to get it serviced at a ford garage or anywhere like that. You can get it serviced at a local garage which will be a lot cheaper and do the same job.
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    (Original post by theronkinator)
    I know it's worth more, but still with service/tax/mot I'd be paying more than I bought the car for annually never mind insurance.



    I've done the basics, checked tyre pressure, oil, water, coolant, screen wash etc.


    Local garage, I think they were just getting ripped off to be honest.


    I know about the MOT, I was meaning do I need a service and MOT after ~3k miles. The car itself runs great.
    You need an MOT once a year by law. So get it MOT'ed just before the old one runs out.
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    (Original post by Emma:-))
    Its worth getting the car serviced once a year. So when you next get it serviced depends on when it was last serviced. You dont need to get it serviced at a ford garage or anywhere like that. You can get it serviced at a local garage which will be a lot cheaper and do the same job.

    (Original post by Emma:-))
    You need an MOT once a year by law. So get it MOT'ed just before the old one runs out.
    I know I need an MOT every year, I'm not questioning that. It's was last serviced with the last MOT last January, it's just is a service every 3000 miles ott. Especially when I'm already checking tyres, coolant, oil etc anyway.
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    (Original post by theronkinator)
    I know I need an MOT every year, I'm not questioning that. It's was last serviced with the last MOT last January, it's just is a service every 3000 miles ott. Especially when I'm already checking tyres, coolant, oil etc anyway.
    Id still get it done once a year as although it may seem slightly over the top, if you ever come to sell it- at least you will be able to say its been fully serviced (which will be in its favour and help to sell it).
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    I service my cars myself.

    Do the oil, oil filter and air filter at the very least.
    You can write in the service book yourself. That way you'll know how many miles you did since you last serviced the thing.
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    To be honest I couldn't do a service, my mums car is an Alfa and that actually only needs servicing every two years and that is the manufacturers recommendation. So if the car was only serviced 3k ago and you can't afford it for now leave it a few months until you can. It won't conk out just because you are a few months late, try not to leave it until a full 2 years, perhaps another service early summer? Or September before the chill sets in? Tax it for six months until you can get a bit saved up?

    Edited to add, I doubt the resale value of the car will decrease significantly because you went a few months over the service due date.
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    (Original post by FeelingDepressed)
    To be honest I couldn't do a service, my mums car is an Alfa and that actually only needs servicing every two years and that is the manufacturers recommendation. So if the car was only serviced 3k ago and you can't afford it for now leave it a few months until you can. It won't conk out just because you are a few months late, try not to leave it until a full 2 years, perhaps another service early summer? Or september before he chill sets in? Tax it for six months until you can get a bit saved up?
    I can afford it, that's not a particular issue, it's more the is it actually worth it or am I spending money for nothing.
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    What kind of driving were those 3k miles? If most of them were on the motorway then another 6 months will be fine. If it was all stop-start city driving then an oil change might be a good idea, but not entirely necessary. Three thousand miles is fairly low for a full service, I start worrying about mine at around the 10k mile mark.
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    (Original post by Nuffles)
    What kind of driving were those 3k miles? If most of them were on the motorway then another 6 months will be fine. If it was all stop-start city driving then an oil change might be a good idea, but not entirely necessary. Three thousand miles is fairly low for a full service, I start worrying about mine at around the 10k mile mark.
    Done another check, not even 3k miles, is only 2300 since the last MOT/service. It will be mainly short journeys, I've done 1300 of it. Two 200 mile motorway stints and the rest short around town.
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    (Original post by theronkinator)
    Done another check, not even 3k miles, is only 2300 since the last MOT/service. It will be mainly short journeys, I've done 1300 of it. Two 200 mile motorway stints and the rest short around town.
    I wouldn't worry about it massively for a while yet then - just keep an eye on things like oil consumption and fuel consumption until maybe early Summer, and get it booked in then for a full service (or learn how to do it yourself!)
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    Might be worth having a look at a few things yourself. If nothing else, check the oil. If it's black and sludgy then it probably need changing (presuming it's a petrol, as diesels tend to blacken the oil straight away). Check the level of it and other fluids are nicely within the limits. Most are very easy to top up, just make certain you are using the right stuff and don't over-fill. You should do all these things regularly anyway, as well as checking things like tire pressures and condition, lights etc.
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    (Original post by Nuffles)
    I wouldn't worry about it massively for a while yet then - just keep an eye on things like oil consumption and fuel consumption until maybe early Summer, and get it booked in then for a full service (or learn how to do it yourself!)

    (Original post by fluttershy)
    Might be worth having a look at a few things yourself. If nothing else, check the oil. If it's black and sludgy then it probably need changing (presuming it's a petrol, as diesels tend to blacken the oil straight away). Check the level of it and other fluids are nicely within the limits. Most are very easy to top up, just make certain you are using the right stuff and don't over-fill. You should do all these things regularly anyway, as well as checking things like tire pressures and condition, lights etc.
    I check the tyres, oil, break/engine fluid every month or so anyway. How do I check the oil, I know how to check the level and on the dipstick the oil looks totally fine, would that show if it's sludgy or do I need to check some other way?

    Thanks.
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    (Original post by theronkinator)
    I check the tyres, oil, break/engine fluid every month or so anyway. How do I check the oil, I know how to check the level and on the dipstick the oil looks totally fine, would that show if it's sludgy or do I need to check some other way?

    Thanks.
    There's no way to check the actual quality of the oil other than to send it off to a specialist company to analyse it. Oil breaks down over time due to heat and friction, which is why you need to change it every now and again. City driving breaks it down more quickly, which is one of the reasons it's harder on engines than motorway driving. If you're doing purely city driving, 5k miles is probably a reasonable interval to change the oil at. I do a fair bit of motorway miles and drive a diesel so I push it to 10k and I've never had any problems.
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    TBH most of the stuff garages do in a "Service" you can do yourself. To name a few easy examples:

    Check Fluid Levels - This is easy. Pop the bonnet and make sure your coolant tank is between the min/max lines. You should also check power steering fluids & brake fluids. You can buy replacements to top these up from numerous websites, i would recomend Euro Car Parts. My one warning would be to be careful with some fluids i.e brake fluid messes up your skin if you come into contact with it without washing it off quickly.

    Oil Change - Again. This is fairly easy. All you need is a bucket and a car jack & some replacement bits (oil filter). I wont write an in depth guide but essentially you need to remove a small plug from the bottom of your engine (the sump) and drain all the oil off into your bucket. Once this is done you remove the oil oil filter which is usually mounted at the front bottom of the engine and resembled an aluminium can of sorts, it can usually be twisted off with a bit of force and then add a new one in. Then put fresh oil in at the top following the manufacturer specification on how much to add (usually 4-8litres). Once this is done leave it for 5-10minutes for the oil to settle in the sump then check the oil level with the dipstick. Provided that you put the right amount in start the car and let it idle. Check for abnormal amounts of smoke / wierd rattles as this indicates that you have added to much/too little oil. After 5-10minutes of smooth idling take the car out for a short drive just be doubly sure everything is good.

    Change spark plugs - A lot easier than it sounds on an older vehicle... that isnt a subaru. Just disconnect the battery, pop the electrical plugs out of the top of the engine and unscrew the plugs with a socket wrench. slot the new ones in and tighten until they stop turning. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN SPARK PLUGS!. Re-insert electrical plugs. Re-connect battery. Turn car on.


    Check waste oil - After the oil change check the old oil. If its excessivly sludgy or there are small metal shavings in it you might want to take it into your local garage to get your engine checked out. Also please dispose of waste oil correctly as it will **** your plumbing if you tip it down the drain.

    Consumeables - This is where you validate whether its worth taking your car to someone else to look at.
    Check your tyres. Minimum tread depth to be legal is 1.6mm. Anything below 3mm and your tyre needs changed though.
    Check your manufacturers recomendations for cam belt changes. There are a lot of things which need changed semi-frequently in your car. THIS is the one to worry about as if it goes to long it can total your engine. ESPECIALLY with a car of your age/mileage. Most cam belts you get 30-50k miles out of it so your change is most likely coming up. Its usually about a 450 quid or so job depending on the car but this is FAR better than a 2 grand engine rebuild if it goes wrong.
    Other Consumeables - Little things like brake pads/rotors Wheel bearings etc etc. Some dealers will automaticly do these things at a service and hand the bill on to you. I recommend just replacing them as they become worn as there is no point in doing them after a fixxed mileage / period of time.

    MOT Stuff - I normally service my cars a few weeks before there MOT so i can assess if any work needs done. Simple things to check are:
    Lights - (An astounding amount of people drive through the winter with non-fully functioning lights). Bulbs go all the time so its an easy fix to do. Not doing so results in an MOT failure.
    Brakes - If you drive a lot you will know your self how your brakes should feel. Easy bits to check are -
    Under heavy braking does your car pull to one side
    Is there any rough feedback through the pedal accompanied by sounds (signs of worn brake pads / rotors, if they are excessivly worn it will fail your MOT as your braking strenghth will be comprimised)
    ABS If your car has ABS, does it work on a dry(ish?) road under heavy braking
    Windscreen - Is there anything that would obstruct your windscreen? i.e dumb stickers, cracks etc. Are both of your wipers functioning? Are your windscreen cleaners functioning?
    Corosion - Most cars will have some rust on them. Its just a fact of life of leaving a metal object outside in our ****ty climate. This isnt usually an issue but if you have an older car ESPECIALLY with low mileage (sat for a while?) its worth checking things like your front crossmember and floor pan. Excessive corrosion can fail your MOT as it effects the structural integrity of your chassis (I had an old car where the seatbelt mounts for the front seatbelts fell off due to rust in the floorplan. NOT useful in a crash)
    Warning lights - This is the most anoying part. Silly warning light on your dash? MOT failure! This mess of a rule came in in 2012 and has been enforceable since 2013. Get warning lights checked prior to your MOT.

    TBH thats it. Cant think of anything else that you need to do to keep your car on the road. I usually do all of the above about once a year. However CHECK the oil frequently and make sure to keep it topped up. I normally do this every 600miles or so but my engine drinks oil.

    EDIT: I should mention. ESPECIALLY for changing spark plugs. Make sure your engine is fully cooled down. I usually let the vehicle sit for at least an hour. Also keep reciepts for parts purchased and I tend to just sign my name in the service record with reciepts to back up that the work has been done.
 
 
 
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