Service (motor vehicle)

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A motor vehicle service or tune-up is a series of maintenance procedures carried out at a set time interval or after the vehicle has travelled a certain distance. The service intervals are specified by the vehicle manufacturer in a service schedule and some modern cars display the due date for the next service electronically on the instrument panel. A tune-up should not be confused with engine tuning, which is the modifying of an engine to perform better than the original specification, rather than using maintenance to keep the engine running as it should.

The completed services are usually recorded in a service book upon completion of each service. A complete service history usually adds to the resale value of a vehicle.

Scheduling[edit]

The actual schedule of car maintenance varies depending on the year, make, and model of a car, its driving conditions and driver behaviour. Car makers recommend the so-called extreme or the ideal service schedule based on impact parameters such as

  • number of trips and distance travelled per trip per day
  • extreme hot or cold climate conditions
  • mountainous, dusty or de-iced roads
  • heavy stop-and-go vs. long-distance cruising
  • towing a trailer or other heavy load

Service advisors in dealerships and independent shops recommend schedule intervals, which are often in between the ideal or extreme service schedule.

Common maintenance[edit]

Maintenance tasks commonly carried out during a motor vehicle service include:

  • Change the engine oil
  • Replace the oil filter
  • Replace the air filter
  • Replace the fuel filter
  • Replace the cabin or a/c filter
  • Replace the spark plugs
  • Check level and refill brake fluid/clutch fluid
  • Check Brake Pads/Liners, Brake Discs/Drums, and replace if worn out.
  • Check Coolant Hoses
  • Check the charging systems
  • Check the battery
  • Check level and refill power steering fluid
  • Check level and refill Automatic/Manual Transmission Fluid
  • Grease and lubricate components
  • Inspect and replace the timing belt or timing chain if needed
  • Check condition of the tires
  • Check for proper operation of all lights, wipers etc.
  • Check for any Error codes in the ECU and take corrective action.
  • Use a scan tool to read trouble code.

Mechanical parts that may cause the car to cease transmission or prove unsafe for the road are also noted and advised upon.

In the United Kingdom, few parts that are not inspected on the MOT test are inspected and advised upon a Service Inspection, including Clutch, Gearbox, Car Battery, and Engine components (further inspections than MOT).

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