We always hear people – business experts, financial gurus, parents, spouses, friends – telling us to spend our money wisely. Well, if you’re a responsible car owner, then you will be wise to save money (at least every 6 months) to cover the cost of car servicing.
A lot of drivers take this task for granted. So instead of spending a few hundred dollars in service and maintenance, they end up spending upwards of a thousand for repairs and parts replacement.
Car Servicing in Australia
In Australia, the average cost of car servicing ranges from $130 to $550. However, this figure can be lower or higher depending on a few things:
1. Model, make, and brand
A car (and car manufacturer) may require specific spare parts and replacement fluids during car servicing. And this, for certain, adds to the cost.
2. Type of car (i.e. sedan, 4×4, caravan, truck)
The bigger the car, the more car parts and systems that need to be checked. Thus, you’ll be paying more for the servicing of a truck versus a sedan, for example.
3. Years in service and distance travelled by the vehicle
The age of the vehicle and the kilometres logged by it factors into the cost of car servicing. The older the vehicle and the more distance it has covered means you’ll be paying more. And this is mainly because of the wear and tear, and the subsequent maintenance work needed to restore the car to tip-top shape.
As a reference, if you own a sedan that has registered 15,000 KM on the road, you’ll be paying from $150 to $300 on average. Compared to a sedan that was driven for 150,000 KM which will set you back from $250 to $600.
4. Your location
Specifically, where you’re going to do the maintenance work because the average rates differ per state.
|state/territory||Average car servicing rate (in AUD)|
|Australian Capital Territory||200 to 250|
|New South Wales||160 to 240|
|Northern Territory||190 to 550|
|Queensland||188 to 270|
|South Australia||139 to 190|
|Tasmania||220 to 320|
|Victoria||189 to 245|
|Western Australia||185 to 250|
Notice here the higher the rates the closer you are to the city. This is understandable given the higher cost of living in the cities.
However, take a look as well at the wide range of amounts in regions with more remote areas (such as NT and Tasmania). The rate in a state or territory also takes into account the availability of mechanics or auto shops – supply and demand.
5. Who Does the Car Servicing
One mechanic’s hourly labour rate may be different from another, depending on where he is based and the experience or reputation he has. This factors into the cost of car servicing.
Also, traditionally, there is a gap in the average rates of private mechanics and dealerships. This difference, though, may soon lessen due to new legislation passed such as the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Information Sharing Scheme. This mandates the availability of repair and service information of vehicles to independent mechanics, previously exclusive to brand-connected auto shops or dealerships.
6. Type of service needed
There are dozens of services that can be done in your car, though you may not need all in every visit. Still, it is a good idea to be familiar with them, as they entail different costs. All cars have a service schedule that has been set by the manufacturer. So to keep your car in tip-top shape you will want to tick off all service options at the KM service. The service schedule should be in your owner’s manual and it is always a good idea to make sure that the shop servicing your car has access to this.
Types of Services Offered
When you proceed to a car mechanic or an auto shop, there are two types of service you should expect: major and minor car service.
Minor Car Servicing
This will only include general inspection of car parts and basic diagnostics of systems. Small fixes are part of this, as well as refilling the air on tyres and replacement of fluids.
Minor car services tend to be quick and quite affordable, with little labour and generic tools needed. Replacement of parts and major repairs are not included in this service.
Moreover, this type of service happens on a more regular duration, commonly every 6 to 12 months or for every 5,000 to 10,000 KM traveled by your vehicle.
Major Car Servicing
This, on the other hand, means a full tune-up of your vehicle with full system diagnostics and inspection. When your vehicle undergoes serious repairs and parts replacements, then that falls into major car servicing. This entails heftier fees, though this does not happen during your regular maintenance visits as often.
Also touched on major car servicing are the tests, repairs, and replacement of the engine oil, filters, spark plugs, brakes, or battery. Fluids flushing, brakes inspection, and road safety tests also fall under this category.
Cost of Specific Services
Aside from those included in the major and minor car services, a car owner may want to include the repair or servicing of the following car part or system.
- Air Conditioning
From $200 to $1,400, depending on the extent of work to be done and parts to be replaced.
- Car Detailing
From $60 to $300, depends on the amount of cleaning, polishing, and restoration to be done.
- Clutch Servicing
From $50 to $2000, depending on the work needed – if it’s just an adjustment, repair, or complete replacement.
- Engine Service
From $150 to $300, depends on the engine system or systems to be repaired or replaced.
- Timing Belt
From $500 to upwards of$1000, depending on the labour needed to maintain or fix this part. One of the most expensive services offered.
- Wheel Alignment
From $50 to $150, depending mainly on the size of the vehicle.
- Window Tinting
From $200 to $500 for all windows and windshield. But, confirm first the legal tinting percentage on your state/territory.
- Windscreen Repair
From $200 to $1,200, depends on the extent of the damage. More modern vehicles may also have new tech embedded in the windscreen, and this will raise the price of the service.
How can you save on Car Servicing?
Car servicing need not be expensive. There are a few ways to save here.
First, consult your vehicle logbook, so you’ll be guided on the recommended services for your vehicle. With this, you can plan beforehand the car service/s you will be able to plan your budget.
Second, ask for cost estimates from your mechanic or dealership. This will allow you to prepare for the actual costs of a particular service, including labour, parts, etc.
Meanwhile, auto manufacturers have introduced capped-price and menu-based programs for car servicing to improve transparency and help avoid surprise expenses appearing on your final bill. Make sure to check if you are covered by these programs.
Finally, invest in auto diagnostic tools. Install a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) to keep track of tyre pressure and temperature. Have in handy a car battery monitor. And, make sure you have a basic scan tool in your glove compartment or toolbox. These devices help you regularly monitor what is going on in your vehicle, even without the assistance of a mechanic, which may save you dollars and time. And if you service your car yourself a full system scan tool is a must as most modern cars cannot be diagnosed or services without the use of an OBD2 scan tool.
We’re not saying that you miss your regular preventive maintenance schedule because you have these tools. Don’t skip them! Still, these tools assist in detecting car troubles that may lead you to an unplanned visit to your local auto shop (and you never know how expensive and time-consuming those things go). Just make sure you get the latest quality tools from a trusted source.
Our Final Word
The cost of car servicing does not need to be a burden for any car owner. In fact, we treat these costs as much as an investment as they are expenses. This is especially true if you stick to the regular servicing of your vehicle.
By detecting problems early on, you are preventing further damage to your car that will surely cost 5 to 10 times more than what you’re paying for the service now. The same is true when you purchase basic diagnostic tools.
As they always say, prevention is a hundred times better than cure!