The difference between a full service and an interim service
Ellie Dyer-Brown, 1 year ago
5 min read
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.
Is car servicing a legal requirement?
Below is a table outlining the key differences in what is/isn't checked in a full and interim car service:
|Car Interior||Interim Service||Full Service|
|Check Steering For Wear & Movement||Y||Y|
|Check Car Horn||Y||Y|
|Check Dashboard Warning Lights||Y||Y|
|Check Seatbelts (Front & Back)||N||Y|
|Check Door Locks||N||Y|
|Replace Door Hinge Lubricant||N||Y|
|Car Exterior||Interim Service||Full Service|
|Check For Bodywork Damage||Y||Y|
|Check Wheels, Trims & Alloys For Damage||Y||Y|
|Check Fuel Cap Seal||N||Y|
|Check Exhaust Smoke (Visual)||Y||Y|
|Check Exterior Light Operations||Y||Y|
|Check Tyre Size & Fitting||Y||Y|
|Check Tyre Condition And Tread Depth||Y||Y|
|Check & Adjust Tyre Pressure, Where Necessary||Y||Y|
|Set Wheel Nut Torque To Manufacturer'S Settings||Y||Y|
|Check Wheels For Correct Balance||Y||Y|
|Check Windscreen Wiper Operation & Condition||Y||Y|
|Check Read Wiper Operation & Condition||Y||Y|
|Check Screen Wash Operation & Re-Align Jets, Where Necessary||Y||Y|
|Top Up Screen Wash Tanks||Y||Y|
|Check Windscreen For Chips & Cracks||N||Y|
|Check Number Plate Condition||N||Y|
|Replace Bonnet Catch Lubricant||N||Y|
|Car Engine||Interim Service||Full Service|
|Replace Sump Plug Seal||Y||Y|
|Check For Excessive Oil Leaks||Y||Y|
|Check Timing Belt||Y||Y|
|Check Radiator Condition||N||Y|
|Check Coolant & Radiator Cap Seals||N||Y|
|Check Coolant Hoses For Leaks Or Deteriation||N||Y|
|Check Cooling Fan Operation||N||Y|
|Check Condition & Tension Of Fan/Alternator Belt||N||Y|
|Check Condition & Tension Of Auxiliary Drive Belt||N||Y|
|Replace Oil Filter||Y||Y|
|Replace Air Filter||N||Y|
|Check Spark Plugs||Y||Y|
|Check Anti-Freeze Mixture||N||Y|
|Top Up Coolant, Where Necessary||Y||Y|
|Check Fuel Filter||Y||Y|
|Check Diesel Heater Plug Indicator Operation||N||Y|
|Replace Battery Terminal Lubricant||N||Y|
|Check Battery Condition||Y||Y|
|Top Up Battery Charge||N||Y|
|Check Alternator Charging Rate||N||Y|
|Under Car||Interim Service||Full Service|
|Check Fuel Lines||N||Y|
|Check Clutch Operation||Y||Y|
|Check & Refill Clutch Fluid, Where Necessary||Y||Y|
|Check Drive Shaft Gaitors||Y||Y|
|Replace Prop-Shaft Lubricant, Where Necessary||N||Y|
|Top Up Gear Box Fluid, Where Necessary||N||Y|
|Top Up Transfer Box & Differential Oil, Where Necessary||N||Y|
|Check Brake Pads||Y||Y|
|Check Brake Calipers||Y||Y|
|Check Foot Brakes||Y||Y|
|Check Wheel Cylinder Operation||Y||Y|
|Check Brake Hydraulic System Pipes & Hoses||Y||Y|
|Check Handbreak Linkages & Travel||Y||Y|
|Check Brake Discs/Drums||Y||Y|
|Check Brake Fluid & Top Up, Where Necessary||Y||Y|
|Check Brake Servo Operation||N||Y|
|Brake Fluid Boil Test & Recording||N||Y|
|Check Power Steering Reservour & Top Up, Where Necessary||Y||Y|
|Check Steering & Suspension For Corrosion||Y||Y|
|Check Power Steering System||Y||Y|
|Check Steering Rack Gaitors||Y||Y|
|Check Wheel Bearings||Y||Y|
|Check Shock Absorbers||Y||Y|
|Replace Steering & Suspension Lubricant, Where Necessary||N||Y|
|Check Exhaust System & Catalyst||Y||Y|
|Check High Tension (Ht) Leads||N||Y|
|Finishing Up||Interim Service||Full Service|
|Reset Car Service Light||Y||Y|
|Stamp Service Book||Y||Y|
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.
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:
Hydraulic fluid & coolant
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:
Vehicle safety inspection
Top up of brake fluid, coolant and screen wash
Is car servicing a legal requirement?
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.