What is a Vehicle Service?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A vehicle service is a routine maintenance for a motor vehicle to make sure all systems in the car, from brakes to sunroof, are functioning properly. The manufacturer usually recommends service at specific mileage intervals to keep the car in good condition, and failing to get vehicle service on time could cause warranty problems if an issue develops with the vehicle. Drivers may receive a booklet they can use to track service needs, or the dealer can manage the information electronically and send out reminders as well as record the results of service appointments.

Mechanics usually replace the air filter during a vehicle service tune up.
Mechanics usually replace the air filter during a vehicle service tune up.

In a vehicle service, the mechanic will check all the fluids and filters on the vehicle. If it is time to replace one or more, she will do so, taking time to make sure all the fittings and connections are in good condition and looking for signs of abnormal wear. Mechanics also check tires, investigate the timing belt, and look for any signs of issues with the spark plugs and other engine components. A service may be as simple as an oil and filter change, or could be more involved and require a full engine tune up.

A vehicle service often includes an oil change.
A vehicle service often includes an oil change.

Transmission, brake, and power steering fluid all need regular checking, and it is sometimes necessary to change these fluids if they experience contamination. Mechanics also replace oil. Drivers who work their cars hard in hot conditions may need more frequent oil changes than people who don't drive very much. The vehicle service usually includes a multi-point inspection, where the mechanic uses a checklist to assess the systems in the car and check for things like malfunctioning indicator lights, fraying seat belts, and so forth.

Service should include checking on brake pads.
Service should include checking on brake pads.

This routine service can add to the life of a car and may prevent some common car problems. Properly inflated tires, for example, allow drivers to get better mileage and also make a car easier to handle. Checking on the brakes will allow a mechanic to determine if a car needs new brake pads, discs, or rotors before the driver relies on a failing braking system and gets into an accident.

Regular service and vehicle maintenance can help avoid break downs while traveling.
Regular service and vehicle maintenance can help avoid break downs while traveling.

When a car is due for a vehicle service, drivers can ask for quotes on the type of service to decide where they want to take their vehicles. Costs can vary depending on the parts mechanics use and the pricing at a given shop. It is often possible to get a better deal outside a dealer's office, although the mechanic may not use brand-name parts.

Tires are usually checked for any possible issues.
Tires are usually checked for any possible issues.
Properly inflated tires allow drivers to get better gas mileage.
Properly inflated tires allow drivers to get better gas mileage.
Transmission fluid needs regular checking.
Transmission fluid needs regular checking.
Performing simple service jobs at home can save money on mechanic fees.
Performing simple service jobs at home can save money on mechanic fees.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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