How Much Does it Cost to Service a Car?

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 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 a 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.

While we gathered our 25 car servicing prices in June 2018, you can expect this price guide to still be relevant in years to come.

Can You Answer This One Question?

Throughout our website, we like to ask our visitors how much they think certain projects will cost.

It’s just our way of gauging consumer thoughts and assumptions.

The question below is entirely optional, no personal information is required and you can skip it if you wish:

Interim Service Vs Full Car Service – What’s the Difference?

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, top-ups of lubricants, coolants and screenwashes etc and also few basic checks are carried out.
  • A full service – this replaces the oil, oil filter, fuel filter, air filter, any microfilters, fluids and coolants are drained and replaced.

Each garage will also include their own series of checks which are in addition to the above. You’ll pay extra for additional replacement parts should they be needed.

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 probably overkill for most modern vehicles.

While every car is different, many car owners choose to alternate from an interim to a full service each year.

So at the first service interval, a full service is carried out, the next year an interim service is done. This is then repeated and is ideal for drivers that clock up average mileage and drive normally.

How often the car actually requires a service will depend on the car, it’s age, mileage and also how it’s driven.

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 2018

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 dealer garages will charge more than your local one-man trader, 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:

Project:Price:
Full Service - Nissan Micra£155.00

Ford Focus 2014

For the ever popular Ford Focus, the going rate is:

Project:Price:
Full Service - Ford Focus£205.00

BMW M235i 2014

The sporty but not top of the range BMW M235i costs to service, based on our research:

Project:Price:
Full Service - M235i£395.00

Why is There Such a Big Difference Between Car Service Prices?

The type of oil required for your car will have the biggest 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 like we did and you’ll probably be surprised at the wide ranges of price 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 2018 is £54.85.

Many MOT garages now offer discounts if you have a service done at the same time.

For example, Halfords currently offer an MOT for just £20 if you also purchase a full service from £139.00

Car Servicing and Warranties

You can have your car serviced by any competent person and it shouldn’t affect your warranty provided they replaced any parts with originals.

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.