It’s a good question that many car owners ask themselves many times over. There is sometimes confusion over the appropriate lengths of time a person should wait to take their car back into the dealership or a mechanic for proper lube service and other service needs. Your car’s manual is the most important authority on its service needs, but in the event you don’t have access to that there are some general service requirements had by all cars.
Many new car manuals will have lengths of time and kilometres driven as a standard by which to gauge your need for car service. The oil and filter in most cases should be changed every 3 months or 5,000 to 7,000 km. This standard can be different, depending on the type of car driven, but if you are uncertain it’s a good rule by which to live. Oil and other automotive fluids will break down over time, so even though you might have driven very little during the three month time frame it is important to change the oil.
Some car owners think of “car service” as a general “check-up” of their car and its complete system. For this type of service, many owners’ manuals suggest it occurs once every 12 months or 15,000 km. Many people will drive less than 15,000 km per year, but as mentioned before most automotive fluids have a limited lifespan whether you drive this far or not. The transmission fluid has a longer lifespan, but it should at least be checked for its level within the reservoir and for any changes in viscosity (thickness) as well as any small metal shavings.
Tyres should be serviced as needed, normally every 7,000 to 10,000 km or so, allowing for rotation and an opportunity for the mechanic to inspect them for damage and improper wear. Tyres have a good lifespan, although weather changes and different driving surfaces can cause some damage and can occasionally shorten tyre life. This service should also include an inspection of all steering linkages and brakes as well as brake lines, both of which should be a part of the one year, 15,000 km service.
When in doubt, simply ask your local mechanic. Many mechanics already know the service requirements for your particular car, but they may also understand additional issues common to your type of car. The importance of having a good relationship with your local professional mechanic can save you hundreds or even thousands in future repair costs to your car.