How often should I service my car?

When to book a car service

How often your car needs a service depends on your annual mileage and the manufacturer's service schedule.

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Mechanic servicing a car

How often should I have my car serviced?

Car manufacturers usually recommend a service every 12,000 miles or every year, whichever comes first.

For most drivers covering 10,000 to 12,000 miles a year we recommend a full service each year. This thorough service from AA Smart Care includes 61 checks.

If you're a high-mileage driver clocking up more than 2,000 miles a month, it's worth considering an additional interim service every 6 months to check for wear and tear.

Our interim service covers around 35 checks, including engine oil, and the clutch and brake fluid.

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The benefits of servicing a car

  1. Safety – a well-maintained vehicle is safer to drive.
  2. Vehicle lifespan – regular servicing can extend the life of your engine.
  3. Repair costs – issues spotted earlier could cost less to repair.
  4. Save fuel – the new filters on a service can improve fuel consumption.
  5. Avoid breakdowns – faults fixed promptly can reduce the likelihood of your car breaking down.
  6. Resale potential – a full service history is helpful when you want to sell the car.

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Car servicing from AA Smart Care

Interim service – every 6 months if you drive more than 2,000 miles a month

The interim service covers 35 checks according to the manufacturer schedule, including:

  • Engine oil
  • Oil filter
  • Wheel nut torque
  • Tyre pressure
  • Clutch fluid
  • Power steering reservoir
  • Brake fluid
  • Windscreen washer

Full service – every 12,000 miles or annually

The full vehicle service covers 61 checks according to the manufacturer schedule, including everything in the interim service plus additional top-ups and changes:

  • Coolant or antifreeze strength
  • Gearbox oil
  • Axle or transaxle oil
  • Non-sealed battery units
  • Air filter
  • Spark plugs

Find out more in the AA's complete guide to car servicing.

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Car checks between services

There are some checks you can do at home. To keep your car in good working order between services, regularly check these key areas:

  • Car light bulbs, including headlights, rear lights, brakes and all the indicators.
  • Engine oil level – you just need a rag for this job.
  • Coolant level – the reservoir is easily visible when the bonnet is up.
  • Windscreen washer – top up for clear visibility.
  • Condition of the tyres.

Check the tyres and the spare every 2 weeks. Look for cuts and uneven wear, and make sure the tread is within the legal limit.

And check the tyre pressure too. The correct pressure is in your vehicle handbook, or printed on a label either inside one of the door shuts or on the inside of the fuel flap. If you don't have a foot pump and gauge, your local service station should have an air line.

Learn more about the legal requirements for car maintenance.

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Why use AA Smart Care for your servicing?

  • Free vehicle collection and return, subject to availability.
  • Quick and easy online booking and payment.
  • Each of the AA approved garages in our network is audited to ensure it meets our highest quality service and training standards.
  • Parts and labour are guaranteed for 1 year or up to 12,000 miles.
  • You get manufacturer-specified servicing.
  • Fair and transparent pricing with with no hidden extras. You know exactly what you're going to pay.

Author: The AA

Published 16 April 2021. Updated 16 August 2022.

AA approved MOTs, services and repairs at a local garage near you

Book with Smart Care and get fixed pricing with no hidden extras, plus parts and labour guaranteed for 1 year or up to 12,000 miles.