Interim vs Full Service: Which One Does Your Car Need?
If you drive and own a car then you have probably heard of a full service, which is often referred to as an annual service. Maybe you have even taken your car to have one each year. A full yearly service is recommended for all cars to help keep it in top condition and make sure that the engine, wheels, brakes, and other important components of the car are performing well. A service should be carried out separately to any yearly inspections such as a pink slip inspection that you may need to take your car for. While getting your car serviced is not a legal requirement and is not always required for registration, it’s highly recommended to keep your car running well for longer and to avoid potentially costly repairs and dangerous issues. While you may have heard of a full service, what you may not be aware of is that there are different types of service that you can book for your car. An interim service is one such option.
What is an Interim Car Service?
An interim service is a type of service that does not go into as much depth as a full service for your car. It is often recommended to keep your car in better shape in between full services, and some drivers like to have one done at the start of a new season to ensure that their car is ready for the weather changes. An interim service will consist of the basics such as checking the major components including the brakes, steering, tyres, clutch, pipes, and hoses, along with an oil change and an oil filter replacement.
This type of service is designed to be carried out every six months and should not be used as a replacement for an annual or full service. The main factor to consider when you are deciding whether to book your car in for an interim service is how many kilometres you cover over the year. If you are a high mileage driver and cover more than the average number of kilometres, then it might be worth booking an interim service every six months alongside your regular annual service to ensure that no parts of your car are wearing prematurely and your car continues to function well.
What’s Included in Interim Service?
An interim service should take around one and a half hours to complete depending on the car and how easy it will be for the mechanic to reach all the necessary components. The time may be increased if multiple issues are found during the service. An interim service is designed to only check the parts of your car that will require inspection every six thousand miles. It will usually involve an inspection of fluid levels, including the screen wash, brake fluid, antifreeze coolant, and transmission fluid if you drive an automatic car.
Tests will also be conducted on the condition of the engine including the plugs and filter, lights, battery, and tyres. It is a good way to address any issues that you might be experiencing with your car before they become major problems and without having to spend money on a full service before it is due. It can help you save money over time and keep you on the road by ensuring that your car is roadworthy and finding any issues before they become serious.
Interim Service Checklist
As the mechanic performs the interim service on your car, there are various tasks to do. The main services that are included in an interim service are:
- Checking the exterior lights
- Examining the body of the car for any signs of damage
- Checking the wheel alignment and bearings
- Inspection of the brake pads and discs, handbrake, and brake fluid level
- Refilling the engine oil, coolant, antifreeze, screen wash, and transmission fluid
- Replacing the oil filter
- Checking the exhaust condition
- Checking the windscreen wiper condition
- Bounce test for the shock absorbers
- Checking and replacing the spark plugs if needed
- Checking and replacing the fuel filter if needed
Interim or Full Service?
When you are deciding which service to book for your car, an interim or a full service are likely to be the two main options that are available. There are several factors that you will need to consider when deciding which one is the best option.
If it has been a full year or almost a full year since your car was last serviced, or if you have had a notice on your dashboard to let you know that a service is due on your car, then this will almost always involve a full service. Even if you have an interim service six months after getting your full service carried out, interim services should not replace a full service since they do not go into as much depth, and not having the full service carried out might mean that certain issues on your car go missed which can lead to damage and expensive repairs in the future.
On the other hand, if it has been around six months since your car last had a full service then you may be considering getting an interim service carried out. This is often recommended if you drive more than the average number of kilometres each year, as your car is going to be subject to more wear and tear and will benefit from more regular services. You may also want to consider getting an interim service if your car has recently failed a pink slip inspection since it may be able to help you with figuring out what went wrong and if there are any other repairs that need to be made or anything that might get worse over time if not dealt with early.
Some drivers also like to have an interim service when the seasons change so that they are going into colder or warmer weather with more peace of mind and have had all the essential fluids in their car changed beforehand.
Interim Vs Full Service – What to Expect From a Full Service
A full service or major service should be booked for your car on an annual basis regardless of whether or not you have had an interim service. Having an interim service should never replace a full service as it is designed to be an additional service that is carried out around six months after the full service to ensure that your car is still in good condition, especially if you drive a lot.
You can expect to get everything that is included in an interim service plus more when you book a full service for your car. During the service, the mechanic will go into more depth with the inspection of the car and will have more servicing requirements to meet.
Your car will be thoroughly checked for any safety issues, and like in an interim service, engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, and other important fluids will be checked and topped up or changed if needed. The mechanic will check the tread depth, condition, and pressure of your tires, along with the external engine hoses and belts, the battery, coolant system, and coolant condition. The mechanic will change the spark plugs, oil filters, and transmission oils. They will also inspect the steering and suspension system and repack the wheel bearings.
Since the full car service is much more in-depth, it will usually take a longer time to complete compared to an interim service. Generally, it can take a few hours or in some cases almost all of the day depending on the mechanic’s workload and how soon they can begin once you have dropped your car off. If any serious issues are found, your mechanic may recommend that you have them repaired immediately to ensure that you are driving away in a safe car, which may add more time to the service depending on what is involved with the job.
How Much Does a Service Cost?
It can be difficult to provide a set price for either an interim or full service since it can vary based on the mechanic that you take your car to, the make and model of your car, and other factors. How many miles your car has driven may also impact the cost along with if any issues are found, what kind of problems they are, and whether or not they will need to be immediately repaired.
You can get quotes for a service before you take your car but bear in mind that these will generally only cover the cost of the service and you will be quoted for any additional repairs afterwards. You may want to check your car over before going for any obvious issues that you can shop around to be repaired cheaper elsewhere before having the service carried out. Top up any fluids that are running low that are easy to do yourself such as screen wash and engine oil.
An interim service can be an ideal way to keep your car in the best shape in between full services each year.