Should a car servicing schedule be more frequent?

Posted on February 25th, 2011 by Rob Marshall

GEM’s technical department receives many queries from its members, who wonder if servicing a car more regularly isServicing either beneficial or a waste of money.

Thirty-five years ago, a typical car service was performed every 3,000 miles. Now 20,000 (or once every two years) is considered to be the norm. Is it really a good thing for a maintenance schedule to be so infrequent?

While engines have improved considerably, since the decade that brought us the Three-Day Week, they still need looking after. After all, would you step onto a bus, knowing that it had not been maintained for over a year?

The cynical approach would be to blame the car manufacturers, for increasing the intervals in order to lower company car running costs and bolster sales from that lucrative sector.

To shatter the illusion of some car owners, the MoT Test is not basic maintenance. Even cars with slipping clutches and worn transmissions can pass the examination, because those mechanical items are not considered.

Still, some independent mechanics think that certain service intervals are stretched beyond the technical capabilities of some cars, which has resulted an increased number of breakdowns and serious mechanical failures.

Even many Haynes manuals, which have been used by generations of DIY owners, advise that more regular servicing, especially with reference to engine oil changes and timing belt replacements, is beneficial and that home mechanics should consider giving their cars an annual service at least.