Some experts claim that a new car’s first service is its most important. This is because it sets the tone for the rest of the car’s life. It gives the garage a chance to check the car’s computer diagnostics and make sure it really is performing as its makers intended. And they can also conduct rudimentary checks to ensure the car isn’t using more consumables such as fuel or oil than it’s supposed to.
When is your car’s first service due?
To find the first service, check what’s known as the maintenance schedule. This will either be in your car’s handbook or in the documentation that came with your new car. If you can’t find either, contact the dealership you bought it from or the manufacturer. Some car makers give each model a free check, usually at 1000 miles. The first proper service is normally at around 10,000 miles.
What you can use the first service for
This is your chance to mention anything you’re not happy with. Any niggles, from erratic electrics to dodgy door handle mechanisms, should be fixed under warranty. But remember warranty repairs can only be carried out by the manufacturer’s dealer; you’ll end up paying if you take the car to a garage outside the car maker’s network.
Car servicing: what happens first time?
For most cars, only a small amount of work should be required in its first three years. If garages have the correct diagnostic equipment to plug into your car’s computer – and all manufacturer owned and franchised dealers will ‑ they’ll be able to check exactly what needs doing.
Technicians will check all fluids such as oil, coolant and hydraulic fluids for the brakes and power steering. All will be topped up if they need it. The oil is replaced and a new oil and air filter are fitted if the service schedule dictates it.
The following should all be checked:
- Tyre tread wear, tread depth, tyre pressures
- Suspension parts
- Shock absorbers
- Braking system
- Any computer software updates
- Any manufacturer recalls for your model
From a safety point of view, it makes sense to have your car serviced when the manufacturer claims. They don’t just decide on service schedules in order to make money from their customers. Car servicing should ensure your car enjoys a trouble-free life for as long as possible. In addition, a car that’s been regularly serviced will hold its value better. And it’s proved that cars with full service histories sell for money.
I’ve been writing about cars and motoring for more than 25 years. My career started on a long-departed classic car weekly magazine called AutoClassic. I’ve since pitched up at Autosport, Auto Express, the News of the World, Sunday Times and most recently the Daily Telegraph. When I’m not writing about cars and motoring, I’m probably doing some kind of sport or working in my garden.