The Difference Between a Full Service and an Interim Service

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 2 months ago

5 min read

  • Servicing
  • Maintenance
Female mechanic working on car

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

This guide explains the difference between a full service and an interim service, discussing what's included and why servicing is so vital for the long-term health of your car.


Key differences

What is a full service?

What is an interim service?

Should I book an interim service or full service?

Book your car in for a service

Key differences

Interim services are recommended for low-mileage drivers or high-mileage drivers who want peace of mind between annual services. For anyone with moderate mileage, booking a full service each year should be enough to keep your car in good shape.

Interim serviceFull service
IntervalEvery six months or 6,000 milesEvery 12 months or 12,000 miles
How long it takesOne to two hoursTwo to three hours
Average price£139.46£194.92

Things that are often done in a full service but not an interim service include:

  • Air filter replacement

  • Full brake inspection

  • Check of the exhaust and fuel systems

  • Check of the radiator and coolant hoses

  • Check of engine diagnostic codes

What is a full service?

Typically, a full service will take around three hours to complete. It consists of 60+ checks to make sure your car is safe and in good condition.

Car service

An MOT is not the same as a service. An MOT is a legal requirement to check whether your vehicle meets safety and environmental standards. In contrast, servicing is optional (but highly recommended) and keeps your car in the best possible condition. As such, many people decide to book both at the same time.

Full service checks typically include:

How much does a full service cost?

According to our data, the average price of a full service is £194.92. This guide discusses the average prices for different car manufacturers.

What is an interim service?

An interim service is less comprehensive than a full service and takes less time - usually about an hour and a half. It is the most basic level of servicing designed for low-mileage drivers and anyone who likes to get their car checked between annual services.  

An interim service typically includes checks of the:

How much does an interim service cost?

The average price of an interim service is £139.46 when you book through WhoCanFixMyCar. Find out how prices vary between manufacturers in this guide.

Should I book an interim service or full service?

Now that you know the main differences between a full and interim service, you should have a better idea of which one your car needs based on when it was last serviced and how many miles you cover.

You should book a full service every year or whenever you hit 12,000 miles. But if you cover substantially more miles in a year, it’s also a good idea to book an interim service between annual services.

A technician carrying out a vehicle check or service.

Ready to book your car in for a service?

The checks included in a full or interim service will often vary between garages - for this reason, it’s worth comparing them before you book to ensure you’re getting the best value. WhoCanFixMyCar makes the comparison process easy - all you have to do is enter your details, and you’ll receive quotes straight to your inbox.

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Written by Ellie

Ellie Author Pic

Ellie is WhoCanFixMyCar’s Content Writer. She has a BA in English literature from Durham University, a master’s degree in creative writing, and three years of experience writing in the automotive industry. She currently drives a Suzuki Swift.

Find Ellie on LinkedIn.