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It’s easy to book a service online with the RAC. Find a trusted local garage – or we bring the garage to you with RAC Mobile Mechanics.

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What is a car service?

A car service is a routine heath check that assesses everything from your engine’s fluid levels to general wear and tear. It keeps your car running safely and efficiently. And it can save you money in the long run, by nipping in the bud any problems that could develop.

Find a car service near you today. You can also read more in our handy car service checklist.

Why do I need a car service?

Regular servicing helps maintain your car and keep it running smoothly. For example, having the oil and filters changed can stop dirt and dust from getting into your engine and potentially causing major problems. If you don’t service your car, you’re more likely to see its performance deteriorate over time.

Regular servicing can also save you money in the long run, by spotting minor issues before they become a bigger problem.

How often should I service my car?

Most manufacturers recommend having a full car service once a year or every 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. But this depends on your car and how you drive it.

You can check your logbook to see when your car was last serviced. Some cars also have a system that lets you know when a service is due. Even if this appears before 12 months or every 12,000 miles, you shouldn’t ignore it.

Service type

Service interval

Regular maintenance When your oil and filter need replacing
Interim service Every 6 months or 6,000 miles, whichever comes first
Full service Every 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first
Manufacturer service As per your manufacturer’s service schedule – check your manual

Is a car service the same as an MOT?

No, a car service is different to an MOT. An MOT is a mandatory test that makes sure your car meets legal requirements. A car service follows detailed guidelines from the manufacturer to keep your car in optimum condition. See below for more differences.

  • An MOT is an annual inspection that checks the safety and environmental impact of a vehicle. It’s a legal requirement for almost every vehicle on the UK’s roads. Read more in our MOT guide
  • A car service is designed to maintain the condition and performance of your car. It’s a more in-depth mechanical assessment than an MOT. But unlike an MOT, it’s not a legal requirement.

What’s included in a car service?

What’s included when you book a car service depends on which type you choose. All services include a visual check. For example, looking at the bodywork and wheels. They’ll also check things like your brakes and gearbox are working properly. If you have an electric or hybrid car, they’ll check your charging ports, cables and connections.


Full service Interim service Oil change

Should be done every 12 months or 12,000 miles

  • Engine oil change
  • Oil filter change
  • Air filter change

Should be done every 6 months or 6,000 miles

  • Engine oil change
  • Oil filter change

Whenever your oil and filter need replacing

  • Oil change


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How long does a car service take?

A car service usually takes 2 to 3 hours, as long as they don’t find any major issues. This varies from model to model. For example, bigger, more complex cars take longer to service. A full service will also take longer than an interim service, as it’s more comprehensive.

Depending on the garage, they could service your car while your wait. Or they may ask you to drop off your car in the morning and collect it later.

Can’t make it to the garage? Book a mobile mechanic today.

What to bring to a car service

Alloy wheel keys or locking nuts

We need this to remove your wheels, so we can check your steering and suspension systems.

An empty boot

If you have a spare tyre, our technicians will need to check it. So make sure you remove any personal items from the boot.

Your service book

We need to see when certain things were last replaced. For example, brake fluid and spark plugs. This information is in your service book.

We bring the garage to you. Book a service or repairs at your home or work.


Read our guide to finding the right garage to repair your car.


Our trusted garages explain everything clearly, so you can book with confidence.


Need to claim on your RAC Warranty? Just follow our simple online claims process.

Find out more

The RAC's Car Breakdown Cover will get you back on the road and give you complete peace of mind. Get outstanding roadside assistance with the RAC.


RAC European Breakdown Cover provides you with peace of mind and single-trip or annual cover you can rely on during your holidays.


Keep your business moving with tailored breakdown assistance for 1 to 100+ vehicles.


Choose from standard RAC Car Insurance or RAC Car Insurance Plus with a Defaqto 5 Star Rating.


RAC Home Insurance provides protection for your property, both inside and out.


The RAC is a leading provider of European breakdown cover. But, how does it compare to The AA? Find out here.


The RAC is a leading provider of European breakdown cover. But, how does it compare to Green Flag? Find out here.

We also offer

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Buying or selling a used car? Get full history checks and browse over 300,000 cars.

Driving and Service resources

What to look out for, from strange noises to frequent stalling.


Skipping your service? Here’s everything you should know to weigh up the risks.


It depends on your car and how much you drive – find out here.


Find out whether it’s a serious issue, or something that’ll go away.


It could be an easy fix – try these simple steps to get going again quickly.