As a general rule, most car manufacturers recommend that motorists take their vehicles in for servicing every 12 months, or if the mileage since the previous service has reached the recommended manufactures mileage (whichever happens first). Advanced warning systems which inform the motorist that a service is required are now all but universal on modern cars, so in theory knowing when to book a servicing appointment couldn't be simpler.
Mention a dashboard warning light, and what comes to mind for most people is the familiar little service light. This is usually located somewhere near the mileage counter, and is intended to prompt you to pick up the phone and book your car in for a service. The problem is that they can become so familiar that we forget to really notice them, especially after they've been there for a while. So, when the light does appear, make sure you act on it when you first see it.
Know your warning lights
Other lights can indicate more specific issues, such as a gearbox fault or a lightbulb in need of replacement. However, the identity of the problem might not always be as obvious as the car designers intended, so it pays to refer to your vehicle manual whenever a warning light appears. This will ensure that the light which you might otherwise assume denotes a relatively minor problem isn't in fact intended to alert you to something more serious.
An MOT is not a service
Contrary to what many motorists believe, an MOT doesn't have as much to do with the reliability of your car as you might think. Instead, an MOT merely indicates that a car can be used on the roads within the accepted standards relating to the safety of other road users. So, if you think that you can skip a service just because the MOT is due at around the same time, think again.
Be over cautious
While following the manufacturer's recommendations should be enough to protect you in most eventualities, it never hurts to be over prepared. So, consider taking your car for an interim service between the main services.
Book in for a health check to ensure your car is running smoothly on the school run!
Use your senses
While the ability of the modern vehicle warning systems to detect mechanical faults before they develop into major problems can be incredibly impressive, the old fashioned technique of listening out for unusual noises or other warning signs still has its place. So if your car has developed an unfamiliar whining or a rattling sound, get it checked out. It could save you the expense of a major repair, and at the very least will put your mind at rest. Some mechanical faults - most seriously a blown head gasket - can cause distinctive smells, so trust your nose too. Lastly, never ignore anything that doesn't look right, such as a little smoke from the exhaust or the classic tell-tale patch of oil on your driveway.
With any luck, following the advice above will prevent you from ever taking to the road in an unreliable vehicle again. Of course, even the best laid plans can go awry, so if you are worried that your car might be un-roadworthy for any reason, the best way forward is to book a service with us today. We'll make sure that your car is in tip-top condition, and can even add you to our list of regular customers so that you will be notified when your car's next service is due.