Understanding car servicing


Car Service Electronic Diagnostics

There are many different terms used to define a service. These include full service, log book service, routine service, tune up, major service, minor service, regular service, lube service, general service and so on.

There is no single overriding term for which car servicing workshops or the companies who manufacture the cars use to define a car service. Making things even more complicated is the fact that different mechanics and workshops will often vary what is involved in each.

Log book service

The most common reference for car servicing is the manufacturers log book schedule. It should be noted that in nearly all cases, the manufacturer stipulates special conditions based on any abnormal driving conditions that the vehicle is subject to. Something as simple as constant stop-start driving in congested traffic can be considered a severe condition. Severe conditions require a different service schedule to what is shown in the handbook/owner’s manual.

A log book service is only the minimum that is required to comply with warranty obligations or to ensure the maximum longevity of the vehicle.

Full or major service

A full or major service does not automatically satisfy the requirements of a log book service, although most professionally run workshops have online access to manufacturers log book requirements so it is quite easy to ensure that these are met as part of the service.

Talk to your mechanic

Take the necessary time to discuss your car’s servicing requirements with your mechanic and confirm that any service and servicing schedule meets all log book requirements and accounts for any adverse conditions. This is especially important if your car is new and still under the manufacturers warranty.

Satisfying your warranty requirements

The mechanic should be willing to stamp your log book, particularly where you are concerned about your warranty. Ask before booking your car in but if the book cannot be stamped, ask them to provide a detailed record of the service and a written assurance that it meets or exceeds the manufacturers standards.

Independent mechanics and service centres are able to carry out log book servicing, provided specific conditions are met. This includes using qualified staff and ensuring that the correct grade of lubricant and quality of parts is used. This means you can look past the seller/manufacturer for your servicing needs, provided the service centre is qualified.

Need more information?

Consumer information on this subject can be found at the Choice of Repairer website. More detail on what is entailed in a car service can be found here.

EDITORS NOTE: Mechanic.com.au uses the term ‘regular servicing' in a purely chronological sense. A vehicle requires service or maintenance to various components on a regular basis to ensure that the safety and reliability of the vehicle are kept at optimal levels.