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The difference between a full service and an interim service

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 1 year ago

5 min read

  • Advice
  • Service
  • fullservice
  • what
Oil Change

WhoCanFixMyCar discusses the ins and outs of car servicing

The cost of servicing can soon add up, making it tempting to skip your next appointment and save the cash instead - we’ve all been there. 

However, understanding exactly what you’re getting for your money can help to put into perspective the expense and the benefits of having a service done.  

In this guide, we’re going to explain the difference between a full service and an interim service, as well as discussing why both are important to the long term health of your car.


Key differences

Full service

Interim service

Is car servicing a legal requirement?

How much money could you save by using WhoCanFixMyCar?

Key differences

Below is a table outlining the key differences in what is/isn't checked in a full and interim car service:

Car InteriorInterim ServiceFull Service
Check Steering For Wear & MovementYY
Check GearboxYY
Check Car HornYY
Check MirrorsNY
Check Dashboard Warning LightsYY
Check Seatbelts (Front & Back)NY
Check Door LocksNY
Replace Door Hinge LubricantNY
Car ExteriorInterim ServiceFull Service
Check For Bodywork DamageYY
Check Wheels, Trims & Alloys For DamageYY
Check Fuel Cap SealNY
Check Exhaust Smoke (Visual)YY
Check Exterior Light OperationsYY
Check Tyre Size & FittingYY
Check Tyre Condition And Tread DepthYY
Check & Adjust Tyre Pressure, Where NecessaryYY
Set Wheel Nut Torque To Manufacturer'S SettingsYY
Check Wheels For Correct BalanceYY
Check Windscreen Wiper Operation & ConditionYY
Check Read Wiper Operation & ConditionYY
Check Screen Wash Operation & Re-Align Jets, Where NecessaryYY
Top Up Screen Wash TanksYY
Check Windscreen For Chips & CracksNY
Check Number Plate ConditionNY
Replace Bonnet Catch LubricantNY
Car EngineInterim ServiceFull Service
Replace Sump Plug SealYY
Check For Excessive Oil LeaksYY
Check Timing BeltYY
Check Radiator ConditionNY
Check Coolant & Radiator Cap SealsNY
Check Coolant Hoses For Leaks Or DeteriationNY
Check Cooling Fan OperationNY
Check Condition & Tension Of Fan/Alternator BeltNY
Check Condition & Tension Of Auxiliary Drive BeltNY
Oil ChangeYY
Replace Oil FilterYY
Replace Air FilterNY
Check Spark PlugsYY
Check Anti-Freeze MixtureNY
Top Up Coolant, Where NecessaryYY
Check Fuel FilterYY
Check Diesel Heater Plug Indicator OperationNY
Replace Battery Terminal LubricantNY
Check Battery ConditionYY
Top Up Battery ChargeNY
Check Alternator Charging RateNY
Under CarInterim ServiceFull Service
Check UndertrayYY
Check Fuel LinesNY
Check Clutch OperationYY
Check & Refill Clutch Fluid, Where NecessaryYY
Check Drive Shaft GaitorsYY
Replace Prop-Shaft Lubricant, Where NecessaryNY
Top Up Gear Box Fluid, Where NecessaryNY
Top Up Transfer Box & Differential Oil, Where NecessaryNY
Check Brake PadsYY
Check Brake CalipersYY
Check Foot BrakesYY
Check Wheel Cylinder OperationYY
Check Brake Hydraulic System Pipes & HosesYY
Check Handbreak Linkages & TravelYY
Check Brake Discs/DrumsYY
Check Brake Fluid & Top Up, Where NecessaryYY
Check Brake Servo OperationNY
Brake Fluid Boil Test & RecordingNY
Check Power Steering Reservour & Top Up, Where NecessaryYY
Check Steering & Suspension For CorrosionYY
Check Power Steering SystemYY
Check Steering Rack GaitorsYY
Check Wheel BearingsYY
Check Shock AbsorbersYY
Replace Steering & Suspension Lubricant, Where NecessaryNY
Check Exhaust System & CatalystYY
Check High Tension (Ht) LeadsNY
Finishing UpInterim ServiceFull Service
Reset Car Service LightYY
Stamp Service BookYY
Vehicle RoadtestYY
  • A full service should be carried out roughly once a year or every 12,000 miles, whereas an interim service is typically carried out every six months.

  • An interim service usually consists of around 50 detailed checks, whereas a full service could include 60 or more. 

  • An interim service will include basic fluid checks with top ups as necessary and a vehicle safety inspection, whereas a full service often includes more comprehensive checks of components like the suspension, battery, cooling system, spark plugs and brakes.

Full service

Typically, a full service will take around three hours to complete, but it could be longer if any problems are encountered. 

It’s important to be aware that your MOT is not the same as a service; the former checks whether your vehicle meets safety and environmental standards, while the latter is designed to keep your car in the best possible condition. As such, many people opt to book both at the same time. 

Full service checks typically include:

Oil Change

Interim service

An interim service is less comprehensive than a full service and, as a result, takes roughly half the time - usually about an hour and a half. 

Interim service checks usually include:

There’s no legal requirement to get your car serviced, but doing so could save you a lot of money and hassle in the long run by preventing future breakdowns and extending the life of your car’s components. 

That being said, most warranties for new cars do require regular servicing, the intervals of which will be specified in the terms of the agreement.

How much money could you save on servicing by using WhoCanFixMyCar?

Drivers who booked a full service through WhoCanFixMyCar saved an average of £71, while those who booked an interim service saved an average of £43.