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What to know before taking your car in for a car service

Great tips for drivers to keep them on top of their service schedule, ensuring many hours of happy driving…

Taking your car for a service at intervals recommended by the manufacturer is one of the most important things you can do to keep it functioning properly, keep it running safely, and to preserve its value in the long term. It’s also one of the best ways to minimise your risk of ever breaking down or getting stuck at the side of the road…

Imperial Auto has got some great tips for drivers to keep them on top of their service schedule, ensuring many hours of happy driving:

  • Read your car’s manual, so that you know what the recommended service intervals are. This will also give you information about what you can do to maintain it between services, like checking oil levels, tyre pressure and water tanks.
  • Know the details of the service plan that was included in your car’s purchase, and make sure to stick to the prescribed service intervals at franchise dealerships. Doing so will keep your warranty live – and failing to do so will  compromise your warranty should anything go wrong with the vehicle.
  • If possible, take your car back to the dealership where you bought it for services, and build on the relationship that you already have with them. Going back to the same place means that mechanics can access your vehicle’s history easily, and having a good relationship with the dealership’s support team is likely to enhance your experience.
  • It’s best to have all services done at a manufacturer approved dealership that specialises in your vehicle to complete the service, because they work with your type of car all day, every day – and they receive regular training on working with that brand. While mechanics who work on all brands may be cheaper, they are unlikely to have the required diagnostic equipment, parts or expertise to work on your car and more importantly services done at non manufacturer approved dealerships will compromise your warranty.
  • When you phone to book your car in, make sure you can tell them your mileage and car registration number. If you need a ride to work, be sure to let them know at this point, so that they can plan for one of their driver’s to drop you off in the morning.
  • While some dealerships offer a courtesy car for the day, this is not common practice, so don’t count on it. Rather plan your day around the reality of not having the mobility that you’re accustomed to – or make use of a taxi service to get you around.
  • Make sure that you clear out any valuables from the vehicle to make sure that there are no misunderstandings when you collect it.
  • When you hand your car over for service, walk around it with the dealer’s representative and make sure that you’re both aware of dings, nicks and scratches on the vehicle.
  • If there are problems with the car that fall outside of the work normally done in a service (such as oil and filter changes etc), discuss them with the dealer representative when you hand the car over.
  • Make sure that you understand which elements of the work done on your car that you will be expected to pay for, if your car is still within its service plan. Agree with the dealership that they will call you to discuss any work that needs to be done that falls outside of what is covered by the service plan.
  • And last but not least be aware of the latest car theft schemes. If you receive a phone call from somebody offering to collect your vehicle from your home to have it serviced at the dealership – make sure to contact the dealership in order to confirm if the person actually works at the dealer and if this service is indeed offered. Common practice would be that the customer drops off the vehicle at the dealership.

It is vital to take your car for services at the recommended intervals, or at least once a year if you do less mileage in a year than these. Even if your car seems like it’s working just fine, there’s ongoing wear and tear in places that you can’t see and probably even don’t know about. You trust your car to take you everywhere – and having it serviced regularly will make sure that it will continue to give you the great driving experience that you expect, for longer.

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