Old or new, it pays to keep your car well maintained. Regular servicing by a qualified mechanic can help you avoid unexpected and costly major repair work down the track.

Whether your car is old or new, keeping it well maintained makes good sense. Regular servicing by a qualified mechanic will help you avoid unexpected and costly major repair work, particularly if your car is older.

It also contributes to greater reliability and fuel economy and will help your car hold its value for longer. Not getting your car serviced when it is due will be a false economy in the long run.

All cars will differ in their service requirements. But a general service should contain at least an engine oil change and filter replacement and a safety check of the tyres, exhaust and lights, as well as a check of the steering and brake operation.

When should cars be serviced?

Ideally, cars should be serviced according to the manufacturer's recommendations contained in the manual or logbook.

Service periods will usually be defined by the number of kilometres the car has driven, or a set period of months, depending on whichever comes first.

The longer you delay a scheduled service, the more chance there is that your car will eventually require costly repairs.

Capped price service agreements

Many manufacturers, including Toyota, now offer capped price servicing. For example, with Toyota Service Advantage you will pay the same low-capped price from one logbook service to the next, during the agreed period for a maximum number of services.

This means you know your servicing costs in advance, so you can budget accordingly.

Service costs

If you don't have a capped price service agreement, the cost for each service will vary, depending on the type of service required (minor or major), whether any extra repairs need to be done, and the cost of parts, if needed.

While it may be tempting to skip a scheduled service to save money, this is one ongoing cost that should really be prioritised.

You'll reduce risks further down the track and increase your chances of getting the best price when you eventually sell the car.

Car maintenance at home

While nothing can replace the value of timely services by professionals, it's worth developing the habit of regularly checking under the bonnet and around your car.

If you're unsure how to carry out some of the following checks, see your owner's manual or ask your mechanic.

  • Check engine oil and engine coolant, as well as brake, clutch and windscreen washer fluid levels
  • Check the pressure of your tyres when they are cold (including the spare).
  • Check that the front, back and indicator lights are all working
  • Turn on the air conditioner for at least five minutes per week to keep the system in optimum condition
  • Wash your car often and polish it at least twice a year
  • Avoid parking under trees, especially those with birds, and remove any bird droppings or other foreign matter as soon as you can. This will help prevent paint damage.