If you’re new to the world of motoring, you might be surprised at how much it costs to keep a car running each year. From tax and insurance to fuel bills and repairs, costs can rack up both quickly and unexpectedly! To help newbie drivers get a grip on motoring costs, we’ve researched how much, on average, it costs to service a car.
Not only that, we’ve sourced prices for three different vehicles. After all, everyone has different tastes and the cost of keeping a Porsche on the road will be vastly different to that of a Ford Ka.
On this page, you’ll find a researched price guide for the servicing of:
- A Nissan Micra – the ideal small city car
- Ford Focus – the perfect mid-range and everyday car
- A sporty BMW M235i – not quite top of the range but ideal for those of you that want something more powerful
Where Did These Car Service Prices Come From?
We asked 25 car repair and maintenance garages in the south of the UK to provide us with quotes for each of the three cars.
Just to mix things up a little, we deliberately chose a mixture of national firms and smaller local businesses.
When Were These Servicing Prices Gathered?
The cost of a car service has been steadily increasing year on year, roughly in line with inflation. We expect it to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
The car servicing market is extremely competitive in the UK and there is nothing to suggest this is going to change anytime soon.
We first contacted the car servicing garages in 2019 and repeated the process in 2021 – We found that prices hadn’t increased by much at all in the three years.
Can You Answer This One Question?
Throughout our website, we like to ask our visitors how much they think certain projects will cost as we are conducting research into the difference between the actual price and how much consumers think it will cost.
The question below is entirely optional but answer it and you can see how others voted:
What’s the Difference Between an Interim Service and a Full Car Service?
The level of service required for your car will depend on the service schedule created by the manufacturer.
In general, there are two types of service:
- An interim service – this replaces the oil and oil filter and includes a top-up of the lubricants, coolants and screenwashes etc. There are also a few basic checks carried out depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- A full service – this replaces the oil, oil filter, fuel filter, air filter, any microfilters and all the fluids and coolants are drained and replaced with new ones. Extra checks of specific parts are also carried out, using the manufacturer’s recommendations as a guideline.
Each garage will also include its own series of checks which are in addition to the above. You’ll also need to pay extra for additional replacement parts should they be needed.
More details about the key differences between an interim and full service can be found here.
How Often Should a Car be Serviced?
Cars are becoming more mechanically reliable and the old suggestion of a full service every year or 10,000 miles is no longer relevant for many modern vehicles.
Every car is different and you should check with the manufacturer but as a general rule of thumb for regular cars:
- Running-in service at year 1.
- Full service at year 2.
- Interim service at year 3.
- Full service at year 4
- Repeat full/interim services each alternate year.
How often the car actually requires a service will depend on whether it’s a regular or high-performance car, its age, mileage and also how it’s driven. For example, those that drive aggressively or even take their vehicles onto a race track should service more frequently.
The website of your manufacturer should display a service guide for your car, this would be a great place to find a suggested service schedule.
As an example; most of the BMW service schedules we looked at suggested a service every 18,000 miles or two years, whichever came sooner. Yet several well-known garages we asked suggested that every car should be serviced once per year regardless of make and mileage.
Our Car Service Cost Guide For 2021
Below you’ll find the results of our car servicing cost guide for each of the three cars.
Don’t forget, these are averages of the 25 prices given to us for each car.
Generally, national main dealerships will charge more than your local garage, although we were surprised by the similarity in prices for the smaller vehicles. We were expecting a wider gulf between the big nationals and the local firms.
We hope you find our data insightful:
Nissan Micra 2014
Below you’ll see the average price for a full service to a 2014 Nissan Micra, this data is based on 25 quotes:
|Full Service - Nissan Micra||£160.00|
Ford Focus 2014
For the ever-popular Ford Focus, the going rate is:
|Full Service - Ford Focus||£210.00|
BMW M235i 2014
The sporty but not top of the range BMW M235i costs to service, based on our research:
|Full Service - M235i||£405.00|
Why Is There Such a Big Difference Between Car Service Prices?
The type of oil required for your car will have a big impact on the price, with synthetic and specialist oils being the most costly.
Filters also cost much more on sports cars such as the BMW than on more popular cars such as the Ford Focus.
Don’t forget that our prices are averages and are based on 25 quotes.
Shop around as we did and you’ll probably be surprised at the wide ranges of prices you’re given.
Get a Better Deal by Combing a Service With an MOT
MOT pricing is determined by the Department for Transport who publish the prices on their website.
The most a garage can charge you for a car MOT in 2021 is £54.85.
Many MOT garages offer discounts if you have a service done at the same time.
For example, Halfords currently offer an MOT and service for just £185 which is £35 cheaper than purchasing both separately.
Do I Need to Get My Car Serviced at the Main Dealership to Protect My Warrant?
You can have your car serviced by any competent person and it shouldn’t affect your warranty provided they replaced any parts with original parts and the service interval was as per the manufacturer’s guidelines
It’s unlikely that your manufacturer will honour a warranty if the cause of the fault was non-original parts being fitted or substandard work.
The Car Expert has created an informative help guide on choosing the right garage for you. but in a nutshell, no you don’t have to get your car serviced at a main dealership to preserve the warranty.
Under UK/EU law, car manufacturer’s cannot invalidate the warranty just because you got the car serviced at a different garage.
They can invalidate it, or parts of it, if your mechanic didn’t use genuine parts and this led to a failure.