The Facts: How Often Do You Really Need To Service Your Car?

Janelle Gonzalez

Motoring Expert

Sep 02, 2016

You’ve probably skipped your six-monthly dental check-up on occasion. At first you totally think you’ve gotten away with it.

Then, all of a sudden, something goes wrong. When it does, it’s painful and it’s expensive.

Skipping a service on your car is no different.

In fact, servicing your car is the most important thing you can do for its well-being, and yet, it’s still neglected because most people just aren’t sure of what needs servicing and when.

So, how often should you service your car? We’re all told to refer to our car’s logbook for the recommended maintenance schedule.

However, most people don’t even look at it… let alone understand it! While I’m an advocate for empowering yourself by reviewing your logbook, even I acknowledge that they can be super confusing.

To simplify it right down to the “need to know”, I’ve put together an overview that will suit most cars of what needs to be serviced and when.

EVERY 10,000KM OR 6 MONTHS (whichever comes first)

  • Engine oil
  • Oil Filter
    *Some new cars under warranty 15,000km/ 12 months


  • A/C cabin filter
  • Air filter
  • Brake fluid
  • Brakes
  • Coolant flush
  • Diff oil
  • Spark plugs
  • Transmission service (manual)
  • Tyres & wheel alignment

EVERY 60,000-80,000KM OR 3-4 YEARS

  • Battery
  • Fuel filter
  • Transmission service (auto)

EVERY 80,000-120,000KM OR 4-6 YEARS

  • Clutch (manual)
  • Platinum spark plugs
  • Timing belt & water pump
  • Wiper rubbers


  • Shock absorbers

There are also the ‘big-ticket’ service items. They’re the major services that hit you around the 80,000-120,000km mark (or 4-6 years). The table below gives you a guide of what to replace and when.

$$: $151-600
$$$: >$601
Air-conditioning cabin filter 40,000km/ 2 years $
Air filter 40,000km/ 2 years $
Battery 60,000 – 80,000km/ 3-4 years (engine mounted battery)

120,000 – 160,000km/ 6-8 years (boot mounted battery)

Brakes (front) 40,000km/ 2 years $$
Brakes (rear) 60,000km/ 3 years $$
Clutch (manual transmission) 80,000km – 120,000km/ 4-6 years $$$
Coolant flush 40,000km/ 2 years $$
Differential oil 40,000km/ 2 years $$
Fuel filter 60,000km/ 3 years $$
Shock absorbers (or struts) 120,000km/ 6 years $$
Spark plugs 40,000km/ 2 years (platinum spark plugs 100,000km/ 5 years) $$
Timing belt and water pump 100,000km/ 5 years $$$
Transmission service (auto) 60,000 – 80,000km/ 3-4 years $$
Transmission service (manual) 40,000km/ 2 years $$
Tyres 30,000 – 50,000km/ 5 years max (for well maintained tyres kept at the correct pressure) $$
Wheel alignment When replacing tyres $
Wiper rubbers 100,000km/ 5 years $

If your mechanic tells you something different to the guide above, ask why and get them to refer to your logbook.

Ultimately, servicing your car is a pretty big deal. It needs to be done on time and you certainly can’t skip them. If you do, you’re car is more likely to face problems that could have been caught early or avoided entirely.

In the long run skipping a service isn’t going to save you money, it’s going to land you with a big bill. So keep your services up to date and, if in doubt, refer to your print-friendly “How Often Should You Service Your Car” Guide.


By Janelle Gonzalez

Motoring Expert

Corporate escapee and mechanic’s wife Janelle Gonzalez has spent the last 24 years in garages, pit lanes and on road trips. Living a double life - corporate by weekday, trackside on the weekends - she shares her husband’s passion for cars. She has now turned her skills to building Australia’s first national mobile mechanic franchise. Her mission is to help Australians trust mechanics by educating car owners and returning to good old fashioned service values, while changing the lives of mechanics and their families.


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