man fixing car tyre


3 mins

Understanding the difference between a car service and car maintenance

December 12, 2023

When it comes to taking good care of your vehicle, you’re often faced with terms like “car service” and “car maintenance”. While these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they signify two very different aspects of vehicle care. Knowing the difference between these two terms is crucial to ensure your car runs smoothly and has a longer lifespan.

Car service vs. car maintenance: what’s the difference?

Let’s start by distinguishing between car service and car maintenance.

Car service is a systematic check conducted by professionals to ensure all parts of your vehicle are functioning correctly. A car service could include things like oil changes, brake fluid checks, air conditioning checks, replacing spark plugs, and more.

Car maintenance on the other hand is more about preventive care. It involves routine checks that car owners can perform themselves. Tasks like checking tyre pressure, engine oil levels, cleaning air filters, or replacing windshield wipers fall under car maintenance.

In simpler terms, car maintenance is all about pre-emptive action to prevent any potential issues that might develop into significant problems later.

When to book a car service

The timing of your car service depends on two main factors: the vehicle’s age and mileage. Most manufactures recommend booking a full service for a new car after the first 12,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first. Following this, service schedules are typically every 10,000 to 15,000 miles, or once a year. Note that this can vary based on the make and model of your car, so it’s always best to refer to your owner’s manual.

Getting your car serviced regularly can uncover hidden problems that aren’t immediately obvious. For instance, issues with the engine, brakes, or transmission, which require a professional’s expertise to diagnose and fix. Book a car service in Caura today to ensure your car is in its best condition.

When to carry out car maintenance

Unlike car servicing, car maintenance should be performed more frequently. Some tasks needs to be done daily, like checking if your lights and indicators work properly. Other tasks, like checking the engine oil levels or tyre pressure should be done weekly or monthly, depending on your driving habits.

Here’s a general car maintenance checklist you can use:

  • Check lights everyday: check all lights including headlights, brake lights, reverse lights and interior lights to make sure they’re functioning correctly
  • Car wash every two weeks: regular car washing prevents paint damage from dirt
  • Check fluid levels every month: regularly check your car’s oil levels, brake fluid, power steering fluid and coolant and top up if necessary. Your vehicle’s manual will provide you with details on how to top these up
  • Tyre pressure check every month: proper tyre pressure ensures better handling, fuel efficiency and tyre longevity
  • Car waxing every six months: to maintain the shine and protect the paint
  • Windscreen wiper replacement every six to twelve months: if your wipers are leaving streaks or not clearing the windshield effectively, it’s time to replace them
  • Battery check every three to five years: check your battery terminals for corrosion and clean them if necessary
  • Engine oil and filter change every 3,000 to 7,000 miles: the frequency depends on the type of oil you use and your driving habits. Some modern vehicles can even go up to 10,000 miles on synthetic oil
  • Tyre rotation and balance every 5,000 to 7,500 miles: this ensures even tyre wear, leading to longer tyre life and better mileage
  • Brake pads inspection every 10,000 miles: inspect your brake pads for wear and replace them if necessary to ensure safe stopping
  • Air filter replacement every 12,000 to 15,000 miles: a clean air filter helps your car’s engine run more efficiently and extends its lifespan

Remember, these are general guidelines and the specific needs of your vehicle may vary. Always refer to your owner’s manual for the most accurate information for your make and model. Regular maintenance will help your car perform at its best and could save you costly repairs in the future.

Not sure what needs done on your car – get it checked by professional mechanics by booking in Caura!

Which one should you prioritise?

Car service and car maintenance are both vital for your car’s optimal performance and safety. Think of it like this – car maintenance is your daily exercise, while car service is your regular health check-up. Both are necessary for your well-being.

Car maintenance can often be performed by the car owner and prevents small issues from escalating into bigger ones. Regular maintenance also ensures your car is safe to drive.

Car service, on the other hand, requires professional expertise. It's like a thorough check-up that ensures every part of your car is in excellent condition. Regular servicing can prolong the life of your car, increase fuel efficiency, and maintain its resale value.

In conclusion, understanding the difference between a car service and car maintenance is an important part of responsible car ownership. By ensuring regular maintenance and timely service, you can ensure your vehicle runs efficiently, retains its value, and provides a safe environment for you and your passengers. Always consult your car’s manual for specific guidance and, when in doubt, make sure you get your car checked by professional mechanics.

How can Caura help

We’ve made it simple for you to find trusted mechanics near you so that you can book any car service, repair, or maintenance work with total peace of mind.

Download Caura for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Then:

  1. Enter your postcode
  2. Choose your preferred garage (we have a network of 7,000+ garages, giving you plenty to choose from)
  3. Choose the work you want to get done
  4. Select the dates you’re available
Download banner showing you can book an MOT, servicing or repair in Caura in minutes

Once your booking has been confirmed with the garage, all you need to do is drop your vehicle off. Any additional work on top of what you originally booked for will be sent to you in-app, and this work will only start once you have approved it.

Plus, book with Caura and you can access to exclusive pricing, ensuring you always get a fair deal for the work you’re getting done.

Download Caura to get started


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