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Servicing/Maintaining Your Car: Should You Do It Every Year?

Mechanics and car manufacturers sound like a broken record sometimes, right? Recommending that we have our car serviced or inspected regularly to maintain its performance. But do they just want our money? Or should we really get our cars serviced every year?

It is recommended that you get a minor car service annually or every 12,000 miles. This recommendation is generally the same across the board, but you will also be advised by mechanics that a major service should be completed every 30,000 miles, unless they advise otherwise.

We know that having our car serviced will help to maintain its performance and engine life throughout its lifespan. Depending on the car you have, your engine might last up to 200,000 miles or more, but only if you have it serviced regularly. Find out more below about servicing your car and whether you should get your car serviced every year.

Should You Get Your Car Serviced Every Year?

It is well known that servicing your car regularly is good for your car and the safety of yourself and your passengers. Experts in the car world say that you should have your car serviced at least every year or every 12,000 miles, whichever comes first.

The average American will drive their car at least 13,500 miles in a year so recommending a yearly service at around 12,000 miles makes sense. But then other types of services are recommended sooner than the 12,000-mile mark. For example, oil and filter changes are recommended around 3,000 – 10,000 miles depending on the type of oil your car takes.

We understand that when you take your car for a service you lose the use of your vehicle for a day or two, but if you don’t take your car for a regular yearly service you may lose it for much more than just a couple of days. The worst part might not be the loss of your vehicle but the price it costs to fix it in a major service because you’ve failed to take it for an annual checkup.

We’re going to break down the types of services a car needs and the best time to take your car in for a service for each recommended mileage checkup.  

What Are the Car Services You Can Get?

There are numerous types of services to be conducted with your vehicle and each has its purpose. Your car is made up of many different parts including the frame, the panels, the moving parts, the engine, the underside, and various other materials such as rubber, steel, plastic, aluminum, and more.

Every part of your car plays a vital role in the smooth handling and running of the car and is a necessary part of the production process. Therefore, having a regular service is vital to make sure every part is still as effective as it was on the day the car left the factory.

In saying that, there are different types of services for a car and each has a checklist to make sure that eventually, within a year, all parts of the car have been inspected, repaired, and maintained to their best performance.

Here are the types of services and what each one entails:

Minor service

Also known as an interim service, the minor service is, according to American Five Star Transmission, recommended every 7,500 miles.

If your vehicle takes synthetic oil this works out to be great timing because it’s also recommended that synthetic oil be changed every 7,500 – 10,000 miles.

Here is what a minor (or interim) service will involve:

  • Tire mounting, balancing, and alignment check
  • Fan belt inspection
  • Tire pressure check
  • Check and refill all fluid levels (wipers, coolant, brake fluid, oil, etc.)
  • Oil and filter flush and replacement
  • Greasing
  • Run diagnostic check

Most of this can be done at home from your own garage if you have the equipment and some general car knowledge. If you can do these checks from home, you will save on garage costs, but a minor service is usually not a costly checkup.

According to Nerd Wallet, a basic service will typically cost around US$100 or less depending on repairs and fluids needed.

Full Service

Over time, mechanics have developed a 30-60-90 system that seems to be working well so we don’t question it. Full services are recommended every 30,000 miles, then when you’ve reached 60,000 miles, and then 90,000 miles, and then continue servicing every 30,000 miles.

Here is what happens in a full service:

  • Everything listed in the minor service will be checked and repaired/replaced where necessary
  • Possible engine oil filter replacement
  • Battery testing
  • Brake performance and replacement where necessary
  • Engine tuning
  • Air filters changed
  • Cooling system inspected
  • Steering alignment along with wheel alignment

A full car service starts from as little as US$200 but can be more if the car needs a few replacements. You should ask your mechanic to call you first with updates before they make any changes you never agreed to.

Major service

A major service is recommended every 15,000 miles, depending on who you talk to. Going by the average mileage an American will drive in a year, 15,000 miles is just over one year.

A major service will entail a full and detailed comprehensive car check with a few other inspections and replacements to be sure your vehicle is still in excellent condition and is safe for its passengers and to be driven on American roads.

  • Both an interim and a full service will be completed
  • Fluids are changed
  • Sparkplugs are replaced
  • Brake systems checked and replaced
  • Engine tune-ups
  • Oil changes
  • Emissions investigations
  • Exhaust systems are running efficiently

When it’s time for a major service if you have been taking your car to the garage regularly and have kept your car well-maintained it won’t cost you a fortune.

Stats show that the average American spends approximately US$397 on car repairs every year.

Why You Should Get Your Car Serviced Every Year

The simple answer to why you should get your car serviced every year is so that your car lasts longer. But there are a few other reasons too:

  • To maintain and enhance the safety technology and designs
  • To boost your safety within the vehicle and on the road in case of collision or accidents
  • Regular services prevent early wear and tear and malfunctioning items
  • Improves the vehicles resale value and may even increase it
  • Regular, or yearly services will work out cheaper in maintenance overall which saves you money in the long run

Aside from all the benefits of servicing your car yearly, did you know that in some American states it is required by law to have and pass a vehicle inspection?

States like Georgia, New York, Massachusetts, and Louisiana to name a few, have a legal requirement of either safety or emissions inspections being carried out every year. If these are not completed and have evidence of a “pass” from the mechanic, residents in these states can be charged and fined by police up to US$200 or imprisoned for 30 days.

So while servicing your car is important for multiple reasons, it’s also important to stick to state law too.


Spend your money well by spending it on servicing your car. Car services are worth it for you and your passenger’s safety and for keeping the car on the road as long as possible.

Cars are usually a rather large investment and having them serviced at least every year will enhance its performance and prevent damage from wear and tear over the years. When you have your car serviced every 3000, 7,500, and 12,000 miles, you are prolonging the lifespan of the vehicle as well as keeping any future maintenance costs low.