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What's involved in a vehicle service?

24/04/2017 by Mark Schneider in Safety

Like most, I personally find car services are like stepping into the unknown. The idea of leaving your car in the hands of a stranger can seem counter intuitive and without knowing what’s happening it can also feel little worrying. What’s being done, what parts are being replaced, what exactly should I expect once the service has been completed? With all of this confusion in mind I set out to find out what was involved in car servicing so I could decode the jargon that left me stumped on previous car servicing outings.

What’s in a service?

Generally car services can be broken into two types; there are the minor services (generally every 10-15 thousand km depending on manufacturer) and the major services (generally every 30-45 thousand kilometres depending on manufacturer). Minor car services are generally rather quick (as little as 90 minutes) and generally only include changing oil and oil filters with a few other minor jobs (see below) also involved. This is in stark contrast to the more comprehensive and more costly business of the major car service. The services vary deeply depending on the make and model of a given vehicle, the most common elements of the major and minor services are noted below.

  Minor vehicle service Major vehicle service
What is generally involved? Replace oil and oil filter
Inspect belts
Inspect hoses
Check brakes and brake fluid
Check air conditioning operation
Test cooling system
Check battery
Check transmission
Check steering and suspension
Check lights and tyres
Check windscreen wipers and washes
Check air and fuel filters
Check and top up all oils and fluids
Safety inspection
Check brakes
Check exhaust
Check transmission
Check steering and suspension
Check (external) engine belts and hoses
Check all lights
Check tyres and pressures
Check windscreen wipers and washes
Test battery
Test cooling system and coolant condition
Check brake fluid
Check (eternal) air and fuel filters
Replace oil and oil filter
Replace (standard) spark plugs
Check air conditioning system
Repack all wheel bearings
Change all trans line oils
Starting prices As little as $200-$250 for the most basic
models in the most competitive areas.
As major services tend to be more tailored, the prices vary
substantially depending on vehicle model and the specifications of the service.
How long should it take? As little as 90 minutes. As these tend to be much more comprehensive and may include non standard
elements (air conditioning, lubricant and brake services), they can take anything
from 45 minutes to a full business day.


Asking your mechanic beforehand for a list of things to be done (for Fleetcare Novated Lease customers this and post service advice is managed by in house maintenance teams) can really help you educate yourself on your cars needs and specifications. Equally, asking for a written list of what was done afterwards can also help you relate to your vehicle. The main takeaway point here is that vehicle servicing standards really do depend on manufacturers guidelines, so getting to know your car through the vehicle user manual can save you time, money and unnecessary anxiety. It's also a good idea to stay in touch with what mechanics are saying about your vehicle and what you yourself suspect or know is wrong with your vehicle. In the end ignoring vehicle servicing really isn’t an option, but for many, getting over the initial anxiety can simply be a case of just knowing just a little more about how services and vehicles work.

Have you had a bad servicing experience?
Have you ever had a service which changed your car completely?
See how Fleetcare manages maintenance and servicing
Leave your comments below.

Written by
Mark Schneider Rory Deegan - Online Marketing Coordinator

Mark is a successful copywriter with over 20 years of professional writing experience.

We welcome him as a guest blogger to Fleettorque.

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6 comment(s)


Its helpful when you said that knowing your car inside and out by reading the owner's manual can save you time, money, and stress. I want to bring my car to a mechanic this weekend as I suspect that there is something wrong with my car. Thanks for the article and I hope that I can find a good mechanic for my car soon!


Very useful content, thank you for sharing this.


Thank you so much for this interesting and amazing blog. It is very informative and tells readers that what they required to do to maintain their vehicle properly. Many of us don't know the difference between major or minor vehicle service, but the list you provided clearly differentiates between major or minor service. I like your blog. Keep Posting!


It's interesting that you should have your car serviced around 45 thousand kilometers. I can't remember the last time my '07 Rav4 was serviced and I'm worried that it will break down. I'll have to make sure I find a good servicing place that I can take my car to.


Going for regular basic car tune up makes a lot of sense. And once or twice a year detailed repair should be done. Although it varies from car-to-car, but works generally.


Hi, This is great sharing. Most people don't know the difference between major or minor service. This list clearly differentiates between major or minor service. Until now I was thinking that checking all light, tyres pressure and testing batteries are minor vehicle service. But, after reading this, I have realized I was completely wrong.