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Major car services – when is it scheduled?

As cars have evolved so has the way we service them, particularly Major Car Services.

The term Major Car Service is a throwback to when cars had more wear items, replaced quite regularly, at Major Car Services –

  • Moving ignition items like distributor caps, rotors and points required replacement – inductive sensors and computer controlled ignition systems now have no moving parts to replace.
  • Spark plugs were made of lesser materials and required regular replacement – modern spark plugs are coated in exotic metals like platinum and iridium, meaning some models can last as long as 150,000km before replacement.
  • External fuel filters have been replaced by complete fuel pump modules with built-in filter inside the fuel tank, which on some models are not scheduled/possible for individual replacement.
  • Electric vehicles do not require oil and oil filter changes.

Modern Car Servicing

The modern car is serviced differently, with much of the servicing requiring data interrogation of sensors to ensure they are reading correctly, adjustment to certain items and cleaning of others – less items are replaced, but the items are much more expensive, requiring good upkeep.

Modern servicing follows a logbook, with various components being replaced/adjusted at different times.  So the 10,000km service, 20,000km service and 30,000km service may just call for a regular minor car service – with the main component of this being an oil and filter change, along with a good inspection of your fairly new vehicle.

At 40,00km, an engine air filter replacement may be scheduled on top of the regular car service.  This continues with various items at different intervals.

At 90,000km on top of the regular service, the Timing Belt Kit may be scheduled for replacement, an expensive item often over $500 to complete. Does this mean this is the Major car service?

But then at 100,000km on top of the regular service, the platinum-tipped spark plugs may be scheduled for replacement – the exotic metal means the spark plugs can be fairly expensive to buy compared to their plugs of yesteryear that were replaced much more frequently.

So the question is – which of these are the Major car service? Is it based on which service costs more?  If this is the case usually the timing belt service would be most expensive.  However, if we are following the old-school term of Major car service, it used to mean when the spark plugs were replaced – so does this mean the 100,000km is the Major Car Service?

So when is the Major Car Service?

It is for the above reason that manufacturers no longer specify terms like Minor car service or Major Car Services – servicing is defined at different intervals, with each service being its own individual job with different items addressed based on their age and km’s traveled.

Not sure what your car is due for?  Luckily, the benefit of coming to a caring independent workshop is we follow manufacturer logbook service recommendations, but with the added benefit of tailoring servicing to how you use the vehicle and giving you a heads up on items that could cause trouble in the future – rather than the cookie-cutter model of dealerships were what the book says is what you get, regardless of what the vehicle actually needs.