Commonly-missed car servicing FAILS that can end up costing thousands
Servicing experts MotorEasy highlight the six corner-cutting pitfalls
Those of a diligent mind who get their car serviced every year might be miffed to hear about corner-cutting servicing fails that can land you with a hefty bill, even if you pay for a 'full service' at a dealership.”
Motoring journalist and TV presenter Rebecca Jackson suggests “while it’s tempting to opt for the cheapest servicing option each year, it can be a false economy." Pointing to findings from MotorEasy, who have identified six tell-tell signs that a technician hasn't done a thorough job..
Short-cuts that can cost
According to Duncan McClure Fisher founder of MotorEasy, who provide car servicing, MOTs, repairs and protection products like GAP and warranty cover, “not all 'services' are created equal. We know there's a huge problem in the UK because we're the ones who pick up the pieces when things go wrong.”
MotorEasy's team of engineers recommend whenever possible to find out precisely what your service entails before you agree to it, ideally requesting a job sheet to ensure it is conducted precisely to the manufacturer's guidelines.
Here's their list, take a read and then let me know in the poll below how you prefer to service your car.
1. Failing to take the wheels off
A proper service involves the technician taking off all the wheels to check the condition of the brakes. However, many garages don't bother, and simply peek through the gaps in the alloys or rely on the last MOT brake test.
Loose or broken pads and leaks inside the brake drums cannot be seen with the wheel on, and brakes also can't be measured, to see how much life they have left.
POTENTIAL COST:, vehicle write-off and risk of personal injury
2. Failing to change the Cambelt tensioners and water pump
Your cambelt is part of the system that synchronises the rotation of the engine, opening and closing valves at the proper times. If it's not working correctly, the engine falls out of synch and can disintegrate.
If you don't change the belt at the right interval, it can snap, writing the engine off in the process. Most people are aware of this and make sure the belt is changed. But if you change the belt - and NOT the tensioners and pumps associated with it - they can seize, tearing the new belt and obliterating the engine!
Cambelt tensioner and water pump replacement typically costs between £300 and £80 on top of a normal service.
POTENTIAL COST: £3,000 - £20,000 for engine replacement.
3. Failing to replace the oil filters and oil
This is THE most important part of any service, and should be done annually. However, changing the oil is pointless unless the oil filter is replaced too. Old oil will lose its viscosity, causing engine components to wear prematurely.
POTENTIAL COST: £3,000 - £20,000 engine failure
More than just an oil check and change
4. Failing to change the Gearbox and differential oil
Just like your engine, your gearbox and differential - the component that drives the shafts that spin your wheels - also need regular oil changes. And yet these vital changes are often missed from bog-standard services.
Check for your car's guidelines on when to change the oil, and make sure it gets done - as it only costs from £200 extra on a typical service and won't need to be done each year.
POTENTIAL COST: £3,000 - £6,000 to repair
5. Failing to replace the Fuel filter
The fuel filter is not an expensive part to replace (around £200) and should be done in accordance with your manufacturer’s service requirements. But again, it often gets overlooked.
As the name suggests, the fuel filter removes any debris that's lurking in your fuel tank and stops it getting into the engine. This debris can cause damage to the high pressure pump and injectors, leading to an almighty repair bill.
POTENTIAL COST: £1,000 - £4,000 to repair
6. Failing to clean brake calipers
Like most things on your vehicle, keeping things clean and free from corrosion can really increase the part's longevity. And this is key with your brake calipers - the things that squeeze your brake disc when you press the pedal, forcing the wheels to slow down.
Neglect them and they'll get dirty, corroded and will stop working correctly. Calipers should be cleaned with a scrub brush and brake fluid to get rid of excess grease and dirt. When you consider that some calipers cost around £1,000, it’s a job worth doing.
POTENTIAL COST: £1,000 and safety risk.
HOW DO YOU SERVICE YOUR CAR?
Do any of the above servicing fails bring back painful and expensive memories, and how do you approach car servicing? Let me know in poll and the comments below.